Staff Picks: Kompakt’s Best Releases of 2017

Cologne-based Kompakt Records has been a dance tastemaker for almost two decades. Acting as both a label and distributor for some of the top names in electronic music, this crew of legends sure knows how to pick em. 2017 was a transformational year for the label as they broke down barriers in dance, conforming to no genre requirements.

Constantly balancing the label dilemma of selling/streaming records on the modern digital environment while still delivering tunes that impress the scene heads, Kompakt never needs to explain picks of their diverse catalog. The year saw ambient masterpieces and four on the four hits as the label continues to diversify as a trendsetting powerhouse. Piled into an unmatched distribution schedule, the label leads the pack when it comes to timeless techno. We dug into their 2017 catalog and picked a few of our favorites. These records not only stood out as global hits, but stand as forward-thinking A&R choices for the label’s solid voice.

Clarian – Ankh

Canadian beatmaker Clarian North aka Footprintz aka Clarian is our first pick of Kompakt’s massive year. Cutting his teeth on many of the top trendsetting imprints like Visionquest, Life & Death, and Turbo, he’s constantly pushing the needle with clean cut bass jabs. His sophomore release on the label delivered a dark three-track EP as punchy as it was melodic. Somewhere along the lines of club-heavy deep house, Clarian unique tones are studio dream.

T.Raumschmiere – Heimat

A punk at heart, Marco Haas aka T.Raumschmiere has explored more than a few unique sounds throughout his career. Dubbed by the label as ‘a stunning techno album that neither excludes ambient, nor gets reduced to constant ass-kicking’, this full-length album showcases a life spend in an electro journey. Gritty and analog by nature, the eight tracks making up Heimat host a few welcoming melodies paired with stunning tones of synth-pop leads.

Sasha – Out of Time

The man, the myth, the legend, Sasha took to the German label this year for a timeless house heater which was a sign of the times. Jackin house with a verse prepped for the radio, Sasha’s single on Kompakt makes a statement for house music, underground influence, and the future of pop. Getting it’s fair share of dance floor love throughout the year, this record (paired with a couple of stellar reworks), is as anthemic as it is classic. Considering many of today’s top DJs grew up idolizing the Digweed collaborations, it’s safe to say this house music icon has checked all of the marks to go down in the dance history books.

Kölsch – 1989

Now a household name in house and techno music, Danish producer Kölsch got his start on Kompakt and has kept with the crew. Part 3 of his autobiographical trilogy landed this year in the form of 13-track album titled 1989. The evolution of his sound is a welcoming look into the intricacies of popular techno of today. Strong chords and anthemic melodies are proof of Kölsch’s success on the festival main stage.