Rune Reilly Kölsch has been making music for 20 years under various monikers, such as Rune RK, ENUR, and as one half of the production team Tattoorec. His most recent incarnation, Kölsch, is undoubtedly the most critically acclaimed, masterful blend of underground and impressive big-room techno he has produced yet. Since the release of his 1997 LP in 2013, Kölsch has helped to redefine techno with his incorporation of melodies that make this techno-head’s music not only innovative, but accessible.
2014 was an impressive year for the Danish-born producer, with the likes of Resident Advisor and Pitchfork bringing him to the forefront of the techno world. His BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix for Pete Tong, released in October, cleverly mixed music from the likes of Nina Kraviz and me with his own euphoric anthems such as ‘Der Alte’ and ‘Goldfisch’. Last year also saw Kölsch play massive festivals such as Melt! in Ferropolis, ZoukOut in Singapore, and earn a reputation for himself in Ibiza during the summer. His release of Cassiopeia – fused with Mixmag’s blessing – was marked one of the most transcendent tracks of the year. It was because of his 20-year long list of credits, and an unparalleled 2014 that his set at The Arches promised to be one of the most exciting since 2015 began.
From the moment he took to the decks, Kölsch had the front arch under his thumb. He opened with a build-up so beautifully tense that it felt as if the whole room was holding its breath, aching for the inevitably melodic drop. This build-up was masterful, and set the tone for a night of deep – sometimes dirty – techno that charged the air with frantic energy. Kölsch moved seamlessly from obscure techno beats to his own club fillers, his set uniting the underground and overground for three glorious hours. At one point, the music stopped completely, to which the crowd responded with raucous protest; it turned out to just be a tease on his part, a way to get us all completely wrapped around his little finger, dying to know what he’d drop next.
The night was a sweatfeast, the only refuge from the dancefloor’s solid block of bodies being the smoking area or the empty back arch. There was a second DJ playing at all times throughout the night, but there were never more than four or five people on this dancefloor, and it is easy to see why. The sheer musicality of Kölsch’s mix was masterful; this is the kind of techno you don’t just save for a club night, but that you steep yourself in, simply because of its intense wonder.
I would highly recommend that anyone with a love of techno makes a point of seeing Kölsch live, and ideally in a vast space like The Arches. He completely lived up to every expectation that I had, bringing his signature club beats to a packed out venue. Rune Reilly Kölsch may have had a fantastic 2014, but if this show is anything to go by, 2015 has even bigger things in store.