Fragile Music by KatCosm
A. Hartmann | TAZ
“The cover of the record, a woman in an old-fashioned hat playing an alto flute, is an ink or pencil sketch. And sketches, song sketches are what “Sophie Playing The Recorder At School” is all about. Let me say this right away: This record comes as a surprise, hardly anyone expected such music to come out of Berlin, and it is much more than just a successful contribution to the new inwardness that is currently celebrating its return to international guitar music. That’s why Klangkrieg, the shop where no one expected such tender music, deserves credit for releasing this collection of fragile and unworldly songwriter gems just like that, without any frippery.
KatCosm, that’s Sebastian and Jana. Sebastian and Jana, last names are unimportant, just knowing these two first names makes the whole thing much more intimate, and that fits better. Because when you listen to their music, you automatically get closer to their makers and soon have the feeling that you can look deep into the hearts of these two people. And if you can look deep into someone’s heart, you like to address them by their first name.
The brittle fragility of KatCosm is most reminiscent of the equally delicate duo Komeit, if you want to move in the Berlin cosmos. But actually KatCosm have hardly anything to do with Berlin and all the music that is created in this city. With their let’s-just-do-it charm, you rather feel transported to Portland or a similar Strictly Indie stronghold in America. There, where everyone in the student milieu has a band that is signed by someone, who in turn is a hopeless freak who only releases music for the sake of music – and because he wants to own it on a record for himself above all else.
KatCosm sound like they recorded these wonderful sound sketches for no one but themselves. For themselves and their best friends. You can literally imagine Sebastian and Jana listening to their own recordings for the first time, a little embarrassed, and saying, oh, it’s nothing special, while everyone else’s eyes were filled with tears of emotion.
KatCosm make basic music. An acoustic guitar, vocals, an occasional drum machine and a few funny ideas, a violin here and there, that has to suffice. With such sparse means, only soul-shaking enigmas like Cat Power, Bill Callahan or Bonnie Prince Billy can create similarly harrowing music. In any case, KatCosm are well placed in this line-up. Plus a dash of Belle & Sebastian(!) girl’s room romanticism. Jana & Sebastian work extremely spherically, sometimes the guitar plucks into a forest clearing with birdsong and distant dog barking, then a music box sounds to fragile singing and church bells ring in Sunday mass.
Like the whole record, KatCosm’s excursion into the realms of lofi electronics ends up being rather unfinished. There’s just something plucking away, but once again, this melancholic, enraptured atmosphere settles over the listener, and he knows that he’s still miles away from head-controlled post-rock worlds. There’s only one thing he’s not quite sure about: that he hasn’t just dreamed up this wonderful record.