Robot Koch is a German producer whose music has been described as “an intriguing dialogue between technology and nature, futuristic sound design and organic orchestration”. Delhia de France is a producer, singer and songwriter also hailing from Germany, a self-professed lover of darkness and “vulnerable feelings that dwell deep within”. Whenever these two artists meet, magic happens: their collaboration spans the length of almost a decade, resulting in several albums and EPs, and the soundtracks to several tv-shows (Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, Runaways, Lucifer, Dark and Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo among them. The first time we heard Delhia de France was in season two of Cloak & Dagger, perhaps Marvel’s most grounded show – one with a brilliantly curated playlist – and from there, it was a great surprise to research and discover the extent of her collaboration with Robot Koch.)
Koch has produced all of Delhia de France’s EPs and she has remixed his songs in turn. Their joint sound is an unmistakable mix of hypnotic synths, clicks and vocals ranging from dark, electronic R&B to vocoder-aided draperies. Every song tells a story, ever moving forward – Koch is one of the best beatmakers working today, and Delhia’s voice is “both pure with her delicate delivery and synthetic with its morphed overdubs”. We just had to do it: we have compiled a playlist of 20 songs, tracing the lines of this unique meeting of the minds throughout the years.
“Unbroken”, one of their best-known collaborations and our choice for a starting point, throws you right into an entrancing wave of soft beats, cooing vocals and sequenced basslines. “Dark Waves” is reminiscent of the mission statement of the Project Mooncircle label: “the fusion of organic and electronic music”, an outpost for experimental sounds. Delhia de France’s rework of Koch’s “All Forms Are Unstable” is very much like a Lapalux track, brilliant in its composition and structure and one of the earworms on this playlist. “Tremors: Nemesis” feels like a war chant. “Is It Worth It” is a more cinematic track, with both ’80s undertones and more straightforward, minimal instrumentation, but no less hard-hitting. The Foam and Sand (Robot Koch’s ambient alter-ego) remix of Delhia de France’s Razor is a shimmering post-minimalist composition, its recurring motif reappearing on “Circle 27”.
The second part of the playlist mainly explores de France’s music, aided by Koch’s production. It features the unedited version of “Razor” and ends with a pure Robot Koch song (“Psychic”) emphasizing the producer’s skill at creating unique rhythms and patterns.
If you feel you must explore the world of these two amazing musicians a little bit more after listening to this playlist, you might try two of their best live performances, included below: a tour through Delhia de France’s entire ouvre and Robot Koch’s latest album (aided by violin and viola players over Zoom, no less).
Featured image is “Moon Circle” by Daniela Marton.
Reading material: Project Mooncircle’s featured artists, a haven for new electronic music discovery.