The Kat Cosm - Knightboat [Staubgold / Klangrieg Produktionen - 2004]Two years after a widely acclaimed debut release on Klangrieg, The Kat Cosm are back with Knightboat, a mini album featuring four new tracks and three remixes. A very cute mix of electronic and pastoral folk/pop.
The Kat Cosm is Jana Plewa and Sebastian Skalei, two relatively young singer-songwriters from Berlin. Their first album was called Sophie played the recorder at school and has been considered by many as a minor masterpiece of a then relatively new genre, folktronic. Having not heard the lp, I didn’t know if the fuss that the album caused among some “cliques” was justified. After having listened to this new ep, I most certainly fell for the delights offered by The Kat Cosm.
The opening track is Knightboat. An electric guitar making me think of Jim O’Rourke going folk, an acoustic guitar and electronic in the vein of Styrofoam or other glitch-pop musicians. The main singer on this song is Sebastian. He has a nice, warm voice. He is joined at times by the not less nice voice of Jana. Hers is softer and welcoming. Overall, the recording quality is very good. Quite a nice feat for a record that was recorded at home, on a PC. A piano accompanies Jana’s voice on the second track, but soon enough some light clicks’n’cuts appear and Sebastian sings while you hear an accordion. Really feels like what people could play at home on a long autumn, early winter afternoon in a northern country. Third track Hotgirl is an instrumental. The core of the track is again the guitar melody with keyboards. But once more, there is the discreet presence of electronic and even some electric guitar. Great stuff. Up next is a demo. The sound is of course not as good as on the other tracks, but it’s not disturbing. This song could be an old, dated but good, ballad. It also reminds me of a track off the Sun record (review here), albeit with more instruments and sounds involved.
Now that I told you about these very nice four songs, it’s time to write a few words about the remixes (all of them from the first track). The first one is by Leafcutter John and sounds like what you could expect from the man: broken electronica song, pop sensibility, altered structures… The finest of all three remixes. The second one was done by TenEcke from folky avant-rock outfit Calla. He only kept tiny bits (some guitar melody, one of the sentences sung by Jana, one by Sebastian) of the original song, but the mood is still there, sounding very melancholic. Nice work. The final remix is by Mondomarc. It’s something more upbeat, more dancy, with an almost electroclash sound. Me not like.
Knightboat is a very nice, very charming, very cute ep. For once, the remixes (if you except the last ones) are in tune with the mood of the rest of the record. Hopefully, there won’t be a two year gap before the next release.François Monti