Definitely not one of your usual DJ/producer suspects, Cologne’s Bryan Kessler making his first forays into music and aspiring to become a recognised poet, didn’t waste his time with pre-teen bedroom synthesis, mp3 collections or fan wallpaper – rather, he’d be on the poster himself, entering the spotlight at the tender age of twelve to front for his ragtag gang of musical misfits that would become known as The Pollywogs. Jumping off the deep end, Kessler quickly turned out to be a natural on stage as well as in the studio. From sculpting a vibrant guitar riff to landing it in front of a fired-up crowd, he was instrumental in shaping his band’s refreshing style, a gutsy mix of pop and pogo, irreverent bold attitude in lyrics and catchy melodic sensibilities spread across two full-length albums and multiple live tours through Germany.
But a restless genius-in-the-making like Kessler’s wasn’t to be confined to the indie mosh pit, soon discovering the forbidden pleasures of club life and electronic dance music. He started curating his own DJ sets for sweaty dance floors – and also took his new-found passion to the mixing desk, where he’d churn out his first techno and house tracks, quickly locking in a unique blend of minimalistic, percussion-heavy dance beats, vocal loops and in-your-face songwriting. Highly idiosyncratic and fairly unpredictable, a Kessler jam is almost always a pretty kinetic affair, infusing the electronic flow with a well-needed dose of snotty punk rock and his slightly questionable behavior holding an SM57 in one hand and a drum stick in the other – a strategy that finds its most accomplished application on his upcoming album “New Feel” that enables Kessler to take the conventional DJ set to a live escapade.
Following energetic releases on underground labels such as Coméme, Get Physical, LIKE Records, Low Hanging Fruit and more recently Jackmaster’s Numbers imprint, Bryan Kessler’s latest full-length “New Feel” presents a booty shaking, action-packed selection of slow motion mutant disco belters and riff-ready stadium synth tunes. From opening belter “Trippin On You” to the refined band of cuts like “Find A New Friend” and “Punching On My Chest”, Kessler’s non-conformist, genre-bending approach to dance music is showcased in full force, albeit with a new focus: never before has the producer’s own voice been so pivotal for driving the momentum and tweaking the elation. Clearly Kessler the vocalist has been present before, but mostly used as a sound effect - now, we’re dealing with full-blown songs like cowbelll rocker “Ra-Orkons Crib”, catchy synth melodrama “A Better Life” or the introspective title cut, a rare example for a powerful electro ballad. Flush with surprising twists and turns, this album is a true maniac’s labour of love - and positions Bryan Kessler as a creative force of nature on the rise.