Rewarding catch-up with electronic and house giant...
'V/A - Kompakt: Total 17'

Here we have 21 tracks from Germany’s ever reliable, ever visible Kompakt: big on names and content and practically covering every square inch of dancefloor ever laid. Making festival tent pegs take the strain, bringing dyed in the wool European flavours that could easily edge into the pop realm’s backwaters, and exclusives nudging music channels found in the depths of the TV guide (exotica/dead eyed divas registering as early as track two’s ‘In My Head’ by Superpitcher).

Although a pick ’n' mix of styles, side A is — dare it be said — compact, pretty much ruled with metronomic regulation. It may always be poised to soar away without doing so, but that’s kind of the mantra when pledging strength in numbers. There’s dream house carrying a nagging bit of static from Jürgen Paape, the fine line dividing retro and upfront (Thomas/Mayer’s ‘25’), deep house threatening to pull you into the void (Sebastopol’s ‘Flash Pool’) and the precise euphoria of T. Raumschmiere’s ‘Jaguar’ rising to the summit in its own time. Notably, thanks to a Raquet & Stetter edit, folk-house/bedsit blues for sun-up from Chris Klopfer sends a new brand of bittersweet coursing through you on ‘Ashamed’.

The flip is a more expansive mix of willpower and wonderment. Less content with the previous selection’s ability to ease towards the background, it finds itself teetering on the edge of misadventure before bringing itself back to wide-eyed and optimistic. The big draw may be Sasha, but it’s Laurent Garnier taking the wheel of disc two and speeding off into the night while barely leaving a tyre track on ‘1-4 Doctor C’est Chouette’. Christian Nielsen attempts to hide what are pretty monstrous deep techno movements under the cloak of darkness on ‘Hard Times’, while Locked Groove explicitly stalks the back end of the compilation at mid pace, unfurling the potential horrors of ‘Dawn’.

After Kölsch has stamped his authority and caused a hive of jostling with the dominant acid-washed ‘PUSH’, Clarian’s ‘Ankh’, in a wondrous swirl, and Demian’s ‘Milestars’, as an electro-trance orchestration of the sky at night, counter with heartening negotiation getting the Kompakt brand to caption your future holiday photo albums.

7/10

Words: Matt Oliver

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