Various - Total 14

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  • Interestingly, Kompakt didn't release a Total compilation last year. The Cologne label was celebrating its 20th anniversary—maybe they thought a new edition of Total would get lost among its birthday releases and events. Taking a year off from seems to have been a restorative creative breather. In recent years the quality of the Total series has dropped off alarmingly. Total 12 was reduced to a single CD, as if to acknowledge that Kompakt did not have enough essential material to go round. More recent editions have been undermined by too many of what Derek Miller once described as "half-baked ideas." The essential, mid-'00s Total collections captured not just the rise of Kompakt but a whole new wave of German (minimal) house and techno. The later instalments seemed to reflect a label which was groping for a clear sense of its future direction. Total 14 does not unveil exciting new dimensions to the Kompakt sound. The highly-processed glam-rock of Voigt & Voigt's "Tischlein Deck Dich," the cinematic techno-pop of Superpitcher's "Delta" or Maceo Plex's storming "Conjure Superstar" all have familiar strands of the label's sound. The key difference is that on Total 14, everyone involved is at the top of their game. It's as if, after all that 20th anniversary love and reflection, a reinvigorated Kompakt has purposefully set-out to remind the world, via a mixture of exclusive and previously released tracks, just how potent it and its artists remain. The highlights are many and varied. Graceful, melancholy, and memorably melodic, DAMH's "Black Night" is among the best electronic-pop tracks Kompakt has ever released. Gus Gus's intelligent alt-ballad "This Is What You Get When You Mess With Love" is more leftfield, but equally heart-tugging. Back on the dance floor, you may already be familiar with Justus Köhncke's irresistible 808-scape, "Loop," and the widescreen techno of John Tejada's take on The Field's "No No…" Terranova's "Headache," on which vocalist Cath Coffey riffs energetically around issues of drugs, clubs and political apathy, is compelling disco-punk—part Black Strobe, part LCD Soundsystem. Indeed, such is the quality of the individual tracks here that you may find yourself warming to things you were ambivalent about before. On the one hand, Gui Boratto's "Take Control" (piano-driven neo-trance, breathless female vocal, New Order-mimicking guitars) verges on self-parody. On the other, it is an unusually striking distillation of his somewhat sentimental shtick. Jürgen Paape's closer, "Heuriger," is one of those cartoonish Kompakt tracks (kept to a minimum here, notably) that fuses ancient Disney soundtracks and the German folk-pop, schlager, to produce a moment of bewildering lunacy. It is, in a way, a cheeky "fuck you" at the end of a well-balanced, two-CD set that reaffirms Kompakt's status as a singular source of classy electronic music.
  • Tracklist
      CD1 01. Dauwd - Lydia 02. COMA - Atlantis 03. Gui Boratto feat. Coma And Hell - Take Control 04. Kölsch feat. Gregor Schwellenbach - Cassiopeia 05. Terranova feat. Cath Coffey - Headache 06. Dave DK - Palmaille 07. Superpitcher - Delta 08. Saschienne - Horacio Delirium 09. Blond:ish - Wunderkammer 10. Gunjah & Niconé - Disko 90 11. Maceo Plex - Conjure Superstar 12. Weval - Something (Live) CD2 01. DAMH - Black Night 02. Thomas/Mayer - Unter Hölzern 03. Thomas Fehlmann - Eye 04. Voigt & Voigt - Tischlein Deck Dich 05. Sebastien Bouchet - Broken Heart 06. Michael Mayer - Lamusetwa (Matias Aguayo Mix) 07. DJ Tennis feat. Pillowtalk - The Outcast 08. The Modernist - Die Fette Gazelle And The Hidden Sixpack 09. Partial Arts - Taifa (The Emperor Machine Mix) 10. Justus Köhncke - Loop 11. The Field - No. No... (John Tejada Mix) 12. GusGus - This Is What You Get When You Mess With Love 13. Jürgen Paape - Heuriger