Kölsch is one of several aliases of Rune Reilly Kølsch, a Copenhagen, Denmark-based house and techno producer. Previously known for projects such as Artificial Funk and Enur (who scored a global hit with “Calabria 2007,” an updated version of an earlier instrumental single), he made Kölsch his main concern during the 2010s, producing numerous volumes of Kompakt’s Speicher series as well as a series of wistful, travelogue-like full-lengths, beginning with 1977 (released in 2013). Later in the decade, he founded his own Ipso label and released collaborations with Michael Mayer, Tiga, and Sasha, in addition to releasing his fourth full-length on Fabric in 2019.
Active since the mid-’90s, Kølsch has been behind the operation of several labels, and has frequently collaborated with his brother, Johannes Torpe, on projects such as Artificial Funk, Fashion Victims, and Heavy Rock. His biggest hit was the saxophone-laced oddity “Calabria,” originally released in 2003 (under the name Rune). A favorite in Ibiza clubs, it was updated a few years later with lyrics by Danish dancehall singer Natasja Saad, credited to Enur, and topped Billboard’s U.S. club chart. After the Kompakt label’s Michael Mayer caught one of Kølsch’s productions under the name Ink & Needle, he was signed to the Cologne label, an outlet for some of his less commercial (yet still very much accessible) recordings. In 2010, Kølsch (as Kölsch) contributed the Speicher 68 12”, which featured the jubilant and slightly nutty “Loreley.” Another Speicher release for Kompakt, as well as a single for FM X, followed in 2011 and 2012. The album 1977 was issued on Kompakt in June 2013.
Additional Speicher contributions followed through 2015, also the year the producer released a proper follow-up, 1983, with strings from Gregor Schwellenbach and a vocal contribution from WhoMadeWho’s Tomas Høffding. In 2016, Kølsch launched his Ipso label with “Dogma 1 & Dogma 2,” a collaboration with Mayer. Schwellenbach returned on Kölsch’s third full-length, 1989; he co-produced one track and conducted the album’s orchestral arrangements, played by the Heritage Orchestra. Kompakt released the album in September 2017. In 2018, he remixed WhoMadeWho’s “Dynasty” and “Saying” by Nic Fanciulli and Damon Albarn. He also collaborated with Tiga for “HAL,” and released Speicher 106. “The Lights,” a collaboration with Sasha, appeared on Ipso in 2019. This was followed by fourth full-length Fabric Presents Kölsch. ~ Andy Kellman