Köln-based Kompakt Records are big fans of the concept album. In addition to being a distributor for techno’s top labels, their own catalog is built on a firm bedrock of VA’s selected by boss Michael Mayer and a handful of close friends. Recently, Jörg Burger’s series ‘Velvet Desert Music‘ showcases the crews taste ahead of trend as they moved away from the dance floor. Total 19 is compiled by the former, revisiting a select list of tunes that made waves on dance floors and beyond of the past year.
The Total series really started it all for the concept focus at Kompakt. As the second VA on the label, following one-off ‘Köln Kompakt 1’, Mayer has been prepping this compilation since July of 1999. Unsurprisingly, this year’s edition features a handful of the same names from the tight-knit crew’s first edition. The series is the epitome of the label compilation, and Mayer is ready to defend it.
You may ask: “In the day and age of streaming playlists and the omnipresence of freely available mixes, what’s the use of a label compilation?” The answer is simple: labels still serve as a dearly needed filter mechanism in this tsunami of music we’re facing every day. Labels strive to establish trust between artists and listeners. They’re like your favorite restaurant around the corner. On the spur of the moment, you might find more excitement in that hip place that just opened somewhere else. But when the novelty fades, you’ll always return to your sanctuary. The safe place where they know your name and the last drink is on the house. KOMPAKT has become such a place for generations of fans and artists alike. And the TOTAL compilation series serves as its menu: always changing but instantly recognizable. – MICHAEL MAYER
Admitting that the first half of the release is for the ‘founding fathers’ and ‘legacy artists’, Kompakt contributors like Jörg Burger, Voigt & Voigt, and
Jörg Burger are at home on the comp. Bestsellers like live modular act Rex The Dog, Patrice Bäumel, and recent Brazilian addition to the roster ANNA form a well rounded, yet classic listing of the Kompakt sound.
KOMPAKT will host the annual TOTAL party on September 27th at Stadtgarten, Cologne.