Various - Total 15

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  • Prior to its 20th anniversary, Kompakt appeared to be in the creative doldrums. The last few Total compilations felt tentative and self-indulgent, dipping into indie-rock and sketchy electronica. The Cologne label was sounding tired and unsure of itself. Perhaps a time out was in order. After the renewed vigor of Total 14, this latest edition confirms the label's renaissance. In short, Kompakt has rediscovered its soul. Its avant-garde hinterland is still audible on Total 15, but the fundamental focus is now on the areas where it excels—that is, sleek dance floor tracks full of imaginative leaps and the color of heartbroken electronic-pop. The club stuff will be catnip to the Kompakt faithful. Rex The Dog's tightly-edited take on electro never gets old. Kompakt veterans Gui Boratto and Superpitcher both excel, the former in the blissful trance gymnastics of "22," the latter with the deliciously strange "Freiherr." Wolfgang "Wasserman" Voigt's "Eisen Mein Herz" is a typically delirious slice of avant-techno. Selections from outside the immediate Kompakt family also impress. The teasing drama of Patrice Baumel's "The Vanishing" exhilarates, while Guy Mantzur & Roy Rosenfeld's "Epika" is a progressive house track with the crossover appeal of "Inspector Norse" or "Body Language." Its earworm hooks are played on piano, bass and top-end synths until they reflect each other like an endless hall of mirrors. "Epika" originally came out in February, but it has "sleeper hit" stamped all over it. On the pop side, Kompakt now sounds more like it fully understands the form. The emotionally charged electro-house of Terranova's "Skin & Bones" is gorgeous, as is Audion's "Dem Howl," a surprisingly persuasive fusion of '80s-pop soul and big-room house. Saschienne's and Coma's contributions are more enigmatic, but confident in the way they toy with pop tropes. Likewise, the sultry, Trentemøller-esque "Stolen Romance" by Blond:ish, a track layered with dustbowl blues guitar, is one of Kompakt's most accomplished forays into indie-dance. As its forthcoming Jens-Uwe Beyer album demonstrates, Kompakt is still providing a platform for experimental music, but that output is now contained within sub-labels and special projects. Such material makes less sense scattered across the Total compilations. This series has always been Kompakt’s annual attempt to try to shape mainstream house and techno in its own idiosyncratic vision. Once again, it has done so in style.
  • Tracklist
      CD1 01. Kölsch - DerDieDas 02. Audion feat. Troels Abrahamsen - Dem Howl 03. Michael Mayer - Humm 04. Patrice Bäumel - TheVanishing 05. Terranova feat. Lydmor & Bon Homme - Skin & Bones 06. Agoria – Baptême (LuckyBlue Eyes Version - Agoria Retouch) 07. Guy Mantzur & Roy RosenfelD - Epika 08. Gui Boratto - 22 09. Jürgen Paape - Manipuri 10. Dave DK - Smukke Lyde 11. Weval - Gimme Some (Hunter/Game Mix) 12. John Tejada - Two O One CD2 01. COMA - Lora 02. Saschienne - Chambre Bleue 03. Matias Aguayo - Run Away From The Sun 04. Vermont - Majestät (DJ Tennis Edit) 05. Dauwd - Jupiter George 06. Hunter/Game - Bermuda 07. Wassermann - Eisen Mein Herz 08. Superpitcher - Freiherr 09. Reinhard Voigt - The Buddy 10. Rex The Dog - Sicko 11. Blond:ish feat. Audysea - Stolen Romance 12. The Black Frame - Sacrosanct