The keeping of pets marks humans’ attempt at taking possession of a part of reality that is not at his disposal. Dressing a piece of the real that lives according to entirely non-human rules and which only in the saddest case does not resist the discipline of the human symbolic order vehemently and in a sustained matter, is a violent act of protection. Because in the non-place of the real, all that which we are helpless in the face of looms: the non-logical and the nameless, the violence and the noise, yet also the unrestrained and unfiltered desire.
The innocuous figure of the pet marks a gateway to an investigation of these eerie milieus, while electronic dance music lends itself to this investigation in an outstanding way. This constellation marks the subject of Column’s ‘Pets II.’
Column is the name of Cologne based renaissance man Jan Philipp Janzen, who, as chief emissary of Cologne’s pop internationalism, has been playing the field in various functions for Von Spar, Cologne Tapes, Urlaub in Polen, Owen Pallett, Scout Niblett or The Field, and who has also, in one way or another, been involved in most relevant records coming out of Cologne for the past number of years. After his excellent solo debut ‘Pets I’ (Areal, 2016), Janzen presents another extraordinary record in ‘Pets II,’ perfectly complemented by another ghostly oil work of Burkhard Mönnich on the cover.
Sonically, ‘Pets II’ marks a clear development for Column. In its exploration of the thresholds of the real, it sets two points of focus, corresponding with the split in sides A and B.
Side A, on which Janzen teams up with long-time friend myr. (PNN), explores the uncanny as a fissure of the symbolic order, and the subsequent breaking in of the real. It opens with two peaktime rockets that have their wooden, nether-regional groove narrated by grim, down-pitched vocals. The ethereal remix by Leibniz (hundert) seems to be observing the situation from a hiding place, and is the side’s clandestine and no less dark closer.
Side B, for which Janzen invited studiomate Marvin Horsch (Dorfjungs/Beats in Space) along, delivers two swaying synthesizer workouts, the second of which, “Molly and Swerve,” is directed firmly at the dancefloor again. What is at stake here is the transition between a free, undirected jouissance of the real and a more ordered becoming-lust. Here, as in Map.ache’s (Kann/Giegling/Altin Village) remix which closes out ‘Pets II,’ it becomes clear what connections dance music can foster between a free, impersonal desire and the sphere of interpersonal wanting, but also the losses that are negotiated in it. Above all, however, it becomes evident what a courageous daring project ‘Pets II’ is in all of its conceptual and aesthetic determination; with Von Spar’s standout ‘Garzweiler’ 12” (Altin Village & Mine, 2017), it documents a New Cologne Realism.