Elefant Records’ Die Katapult Craft Mediterranean Krautpop on ‘Kristall Reinheit’

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Cult Spanish label Elefant Records built their legacy on highly original bands that invariably mixed and matched styles to suit ultra melodic songs. They continue their tradition of off-kilter yet poppy music with a new project called Die Katapult.

Formed by the union of a Spanish and a Swedish musician, the duo consists of Elena Comas (who also plays in Neleonard) and Anna Fredriksson of Los Ganglios. The pair play a style of music that recalls 90s bands like Stereolab or Stereo Total, mixing kitschy and loungey sounds with modern forms. Die Katapult sing entirely in German.

Their take on this sound adds some 80s melodic motives to their 60s retrofuturistic flavor and instrumentation. They call their style Mediterranean krautpop and that’s pretty much spot on: their melodicism is undeniable, their love for repetitive motorik beats and kosmische synths unstoppable, and their use of tonti-pop well-placed. The results are playful and fun, like the Jetsons digging for Kraftwerk records to play at the space sock hop.

Kristall Reinheit features short songs that don’t waste time making their case. Seriously, the longest track on the record is just under three minutes. Vintage electronics dominate most of the compositions; “Halo Punkten,” for example, sounds like the theme song from a children’s sci-fi show from the 60s. They also nurture a universe of references all their own, dedicating “Schweinsteiger” to a fútbolista on Bayern Münich (who now plays for Manchester United), then take the opportunity to remember a German television character on “Deutsche TV,” which in turn is the most Stereolab-ish song of the set. They also find common ground with more modern music, like on “Frieden,” where they work on an electroclash rhythm, although perhaps they are referencing a time some 10 years ago when that style of music was in vogue.

The resulting mini album (released as a 10” record and digitally) is a record of olden sounds working as a soundtrack to an ancient alternate reality, where television broadcasts were soundtracked by these two women tinkering with then modern technology. The record brings a sense of starry-eyed wonder and cheery undertones for a brief yet fun listen.