Various Artsist - Kompakt Total 9

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Since being founded back in 1998 by co-owners Wolfgang Voigt, Jurgen Paape and Michael Mayer, the Kompakt label has become synonymous with the ‘Cologne techno sound’, going on to release more than 120 vinyl and 40 CD releases over the next ensuing decade. While recent preceding volumes of Kompakt’s ongoing Total label compilation series have been noticeably influenced by the minimalist aesthetic sweeping the European techno/house scenes over the past few years, this latest ninth chapter in the series sees far more of a ‘warm’, pop-oriented sensibility sneaking into the tracklisting of both of the two unmixed discs here.

Indeed, Justus Kohncke’s opening No Thanks For The Add sets the scene nicely on the first first by introducing shades of punk-funk groove in the form of a laidback live bassline and shuffling, messy snares which nicely intersect with the droning ‘night-drive’ synth pads that shimmer in the background, a trajectory that’s suitably picked up on by the streamlined, tribal tech-house rhythms and curiously looped vocal elements of DJ Koze’s Zouzou and the oddly disoriented sounding vocoder pop-house of Superpitcher vs. The Congosound’s Say I’m Your Number One.

While the first disc remains for the most part a considerably more ‘warm’ and pop-oriented listen than Kompakt Total listeners may be used to of late, the second half sees the more familiar, cold and streamlined electronic textures rising to the forefront, with Dubshape’s Droplets smoothly reintroducing Kompakt’s signature crisp 4/4 snares and shimmering synth pads, before Robert Babicz’s hard-edged Don’t Look Back sees semi-industrial kickdrums battling for space against dark, bass synthetic bass pads and shimmering electro and New Wave melodics.

All in all, Kompakt Total 9 promises to more than satisfy fans of the ongoing compilation series, while also allowing some interesting new flavours to filter into the mix.

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