Justus Köhncke @ Cottoncake, 15 Jan

With January a period of clubbing abstinence for many thanks to the familiar combination of post-festive season blues and over-stretched finances, it’s a brave club promoter who books a guest during this reliably fallow period.

Article by Colin Chapman | 01 Feb 2010

Nevertheless, Cottoncake’s decision to host Cologne’s Justus Köhncke in the middle of the month was perhaps less risky because of Kompakt’s artist’s popularity in Glasgow, with this actually being his second visit to the city in less than a year following a DJ appearance at last May’s Wee Chill. Sure enough there was a more than reasonable Sub Club turnout for his live performance this time round.

A thirty-year veteran of the German music scene, Köhncke started out as a member of an electronic covers band in Düsseldorf before falling in love with house music and teaming up with DJs Hans Nieswandt and Eric D. Clark to form Whirlpool Productions, after a move to Cologne in 1992. Probably best known for their mid-nineties combined club and chart hit, ‘From Disco To Disco’, the trio recorded together for eight years.

Going solo at the turn of the millennium, Köhncke produced his first artist album for Kompakt in 2001 and has since become synonymous with the label, thanks to his forging of a melodic, disco-tech sound, very much in-keeping with the imprint’s stylistic manifesto.

Kicking things off around 1am, his now trademark, set-opening sound of a clock ticking quickly gave way to a Chic-style bassline-and-strings disco-concoction before easing into the deep house groove of ‘Alright’, it's reassuring, spoken-word refrain tumbling from he speakers.

Later we were treated to what sounds like the snatched vocals of Hot Chip’s Alexis riding a guitar-flecked, bouncing rhythm which glides effortlessly into the rising, uplifting synths of ‘Parage’ followed by ‘2 After 909’s handclaps and electro-stabs.
The numerous smiles that greeted the Rolling Stones-sampling, ‘Shelter’ showed how the Sub’s dancefloor was now well under Köhncke’s musical spell (no prizes for guessing which track he borrows a guitar riff from) before it was gradually eased into the metronomic, chugging tempo of the güiro-driven, ‘Elan’.
The remainder of Justus’s performance ploughed a definite, italo-meets-techno furrow, eventually coming to rapturous conclusion with ‘Time Code’, easily one of the bespectacled producer’s most anthem-like offerings and his perfect way to sign-off.