Various Artists Kompakt Total 15 Kompakt
Kompakt deliver another mix of emotionally loaded minimalism with the latest in their annual compilation series. Contributors include mainstays like Kölsch and John Tejada, recent additions like Dauwd, and one-track-a-piece from label founders Wolfgang Voight, Michael Mayer and Jürgen Paape. As usual, the tracks are a mix of recent Kompakt favourites and previously unreleased material.
Kölsch opens it up with DerDieDas, a nod to the German version of Sesame Street which, allegedly, turned the Danish producer on to making music. It’s a big statement of intent – a dense floor-filler with overdriven builds that bristle with tension. Audion’s Dem Howl follows, with Troel Abrahamsen’s soulful vocals soaring above an unashamedly big-room mix.
It’s the little things that drive minimal tracks, and part of what makes the Total series such fun listens is bringing together the different ideas on what those little things could be. Reinhard Voight scatters percussive hits through The Buddy that repeatedly threaten to take the track up a notch, but stop just short.
Patrice Bäumel’s The Vanishing is essentially one long build, carried by a tom-pattern subtly rising and falling in pitch. The ominous brassy blasts on Agoria’s Baptême lend what’s otherwise a straightforward summery house jam an unsettling edge. Voight returns under his Wasserman moniker for the unreleased Eisen Mein Herz. The beat alone is a subtle work of art – grainy and ever so slightly dragged out, it demonstrates Voight’s mastery of putting together an understated four-to-the-floor pattern that really breathes. The subdued treatment lends the rhythmic clicks of the synth and the menacing, chopped-up utterances lots of impact. A real highlight that sees Total 15 at its most austere.