Various Artists

Gunther Koch Revisited: Voll in den Mann

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Imagine if you will a soccer commentator, idiosyncratic and charming, who rises to the status of a cult figure, his work being called "art." German media personality Günther Koch is exactly that man. In his home country, he is the headlining act of the sports media circus. The result of a radio broadcast project produced by Bayerischer Rundfunk/Hörspiel und Medienkunst, Günther Koch Revisited: Voll in den Mann ("Full Frontal Attack") gathers 22 tracks by as many artists that pay tribute, deconstruct, or satirize the commentator. Most of the music on this two-CD set belongs to the realm of electronica, the first disc leaning more toward experimental techno, the second disc being more of a dancefloor affair. Only a few artists from the roaster are known internationally, namely Khan, Funkstörung, and guitarist Caspar Brötzmann. In some cases, samples of Koch's comments punctuate a fully-formed techno piece. But the best tracks are those that integrate his work to the music -- by manipulating his voice through granular synthesis or by assembling samples to form a "melody." Sparks' "Concerto in Koch Minor" pairs orchestra samples with key phrases like "Das Ist Wunderbar!" ("That is wonderful!"), reaching a strong humorous level. Curd Duca's "Tooor!" uses the classic scream (the equivalent of "Goaaal!") to good effect. Musically speaking, the best contributions come from Lions Den Dubshower (great dub track), Hans Platzgumer, and Khan. To make sure the compilation doesn't get narrow-minded, a few inclusions bring surprises. At the top of that list are Jennifer Minetti's two "poems," collages of Koch's words read in a sensuous mood -- delightfully ludicrous. For anyone but a soccer fan, this album will sound very strange. And to say this reviewer worked on it in the middle of the 2002 World Cup.