Kompakt's annual label sampler returns for a 15th year, gathering together another 24 highlights from the long running Cologne imprint's ever growing back catalogue. As usual, there are numerous styles represented - from the spiraling dancefloor synth-pop of Kolsch and punk-influenced techno of Audion, to the soft focus melodies and hypnotic beats of Gui Boratto, and the intoxicating global electronics of Jurgen Paap - as well as much-played tracks from some of the imprint's most notable talents (see the contributions from Rex The Dog, Superpitcher, Matias Aguayo and John Tejada, whose "Two O One" is a tuneful techno delight).
Sven Vath's annual residency in Ibiza is home to some of the best and most adventurous electronic music on the white island and the annual compilations follow the same path. O starts with the fuzzy, frazzled trance of Roland M Dill's "The Messenger", followed by the rolling, steppy house of Tripmastaz "Grindin" and Dana Ruh's "If You Don't Know A Name", which sounds inspired by the growling bass of Kevin Saunderson's E-Dancer project. The madness doesn't end there and O also boasts trance techno from Dast, Tom Demac's rave sampling house and Steve Parker's tribal techno banger, ""Brian's Lullaby" - making the compilation as wild and unpredictable as Cocoon's own nights.
Reflective of the atmosphere that prevails at party organisers All Day I Dream's daytime events, this collection eschews mushy ambience and plodding deep house in favour of a more sophisticated, adventurous selection. Powel's "Hor" is all abstract percussion and soothing melodies, while Lauren Ritter's "Glass Hours" is a sublime deep techno groove, brittle, beautiful and reminiscent of artists like As One. Meanwhile, Bedouin's "Flight of Birds" sees the compilation veer into mystical territories with wonderfully evocative fiddle playing unraveling over a pulsing groove and bongo drums. On Summer Compilation, All Day I Dream show that down-tempo dance music need not be synonymous with birdsong and dull sax solos.
While Herve's presence, along with the likes of The Crookers, may not be in the spotlight like it was around the turn of the decade, he's still holding firm. Herve pays homage to a sound he help pioneer in his Future Fidget mix of this single which riffs on old school rave themes with that classic cut up sound. It stems from a production which essentially sounds like a vocal house jam from the summer of love. Jay Robinson, on the other hand, with a huge drop to boot, delivers a bassline makeover that lovers of anything dirty will want to revel in until the sunrise.
Jaymo and Andy George's Moda Black returns with another one from Hot Creations crewman Hot Since 82. He's got Habischman on board for "Leave Me" and it gets the remix treatment by the legend that is Dubfire, taking the said track on a dark journey through progressive house. Secondly we have "Sundown" remixed by Audiofly aka Luca Saporito and Anthony Middleton who take things on more of a sublime, afterhours tech house tip on the "All Day I Dream" vibe.
Music label, artist agency and DJ collective MN2S celebrates 20 years of existence with this new compilation, a sixteen track showdown featuring some of its best work from the past two decades. Among the stand-outs, you got Todd Terry and Sound Design's "Bounce To The Beat", Robert Owens' "I'll Be Your Friend", Mark Knight and MTV's early single "A New Reality", and even Subb An's remix of "Get Away" by Maya Jane Coles. A big 'un!
The Life And Death crew, famously known for putting out early material from the likes of DOP and Tale Of Us, returns to action with a split EP from a bunch of heavy-hitters, all of them prodigious supporters of the contemporary house game. First up is Aus Music's Sei A with his driving yet lowdown "Hyper Venom", Hotflush boss Scuba turns to the progressive end of things on "Glacial", and he's followed by his own signee Locked Groove in the form of "Eleven", a chilling escapade into the most cavernous of house moods. Berlin resident and Dystopian member Alex Do offers a classic German capital techno number with "Rising" to tie things off in style. A complete package, that's for sure.
It's emotive house time with the Monkey Safari contingent as they return to their own label following on from time spent connecting with imprints such as Sweat It Out! There is a great crossover potential in the Caribou-esque melodics and heart-stirring vocals of the original version of "Walls", justifying the increasing profile of the German duo, and then there are more functional remixes bundled in for those who want things a bit chunkier. Guy Gerber in particular brings a solid, heads-down heat to proceedings with throbbing bass and minimal house drums keeping on a straight and narrow path, while Josh Wink takes pleasure in rinsing a lengthy breakdown before nipping back into a light acid refrain. Moby then steps up to complete the all star cast with a sprinkling of piano and a prominent house beat that works even more bombast into the original version.
Here's an intriguing prospect: a collaboration between ambient and dub inclined Icelandic band Kura and Italian house/techno types Hunter/Game, under the previously unseen Landside alias. Happily, the fusion of the two outfits' different styles is a successful one, resulting in two highly evocative and atmospheric compositions. They begin with "Silence Before The Storm", a spacious, bass-heavy fusion of post-dubstep beats, drawn-out chords, woozy electronics and tumbling vocals. They move further towards the dancefloor on the droning 4/4 pulse of "Still There", whilst retaining the vocal-led, texture-heavy feel of its' predecessor. Remixes come from Max Cooper and Benjamin Damage, whose techno rework of "Silence Before The Storm" is a raw, brutal and hugely atmospheric.
Moon Harbour bossman Matthias Tanzman steps out of his own label and lands most vertically on the ultra-prolific Saved imprint, Steve Lawler's own household. "No Sleep" is classic Tanzmann, where rolling drums blend with perfectly placed melodic shards and sublimely sampled vocal patters - what we like to call a tech-house banger! "Sleazy Rider", as the name suggests, is dirtier and deeper, digging out the percussion more amid bouncy low-end sequences and minimal atmospheric bursts. Certified killers, as usual.
London's Christian Sibthorpe, known around the UK house circles as A1 Bassline, touches down on Food Music for the first time after a hefty load of EP's on labels such as Dirtybird, Gruuv and Southern Fried, and he appears in the form of a one track gun-slinger in his familiarly dirty and shuffled-out percussive flex. "Odd Soulz" takes its inspiration from different corners of the electronic spectrum, drafting in an electro bassline down below, a techno beat swing, and finishing with a fine layer of Chicago goodness for the soul. A true UK hybrid tune, and a memorable one at that.
You know it's a god week when Germany's mythical Kompakt label signs a new artist to their roster, not to mention one that has never released anything before. With their ability to suss out new talent on the digital circuits, the imprint have given us countless new artists which have made a name for themselves over the years, and Lazaros looks set to follow in those footsteps. "Trigono" kicks the two-tracker off with a steady kick and subtle swarms of pseudo acid before transforming into a deep, molecular techno cut for the night time. "Tetragono" is even lower down in the depths of space, bringing forth a minimal sonic drift for the tool users. Simple yet effective.
Dan Berkson and James What are back in action after a long hiatus with more sublime tech house on Get Weird. Their new track "Lost Solina" features the same dreamy melodies, epic strings and overall tight production heard on previous work, complete with some quality male vocal accompaniment. The artist formerly known as Miss Fitz, Mayaam Nidam provides a more tripped out, after hours touch with swirling atmospherics, deep bassline and a seriously tight rhythm.
The Fun label is the joint project of two Argentinean producers, Barem (Minus) and Alexis Cabrera. Here they continue their mission to evolve from minimal into more human and spontaneous sounds. Having said that, none of the three tracks here could ever be described as maximal. "Turn On The Fun" is trancey, almost proggy electro-house, "Funcy" is deeper, with hypnotic tribal rhythms and "Funatics" is playfully chic Euro-house. Classy.
Dutch mainstay Joris Voorn has surely been hard at work for long enough to warrant an appearance on the Fabric hit list. Across seventy six minutes he demonstrates just why that is the case, keeping a tight handle on big room techno with enough warmth and melody to still feel intimate, which is something of a calling card for the man. As well as newer touches, there is plenty of classic material tucked away in the incredibly interlocked tracklisting, where snippets of Plastikman, The Persuader, Max Loderbauer, Mike Parker and Donnacha Costello can be heard swimming around in a technical and highly personal mix.
German powerhouse of all things tech house Great Stuff present another six sure shots of club-ready tackle to get the heat turned right up in the dance. Saccao and Vanilla Ace bring a mean and moody sass, while Samuel Dan gets a bleepy, Chicago-influenced jack burning away. Sasch BBC and Caspar have a little more cheeky funk in their tune, while Cosmen Martin and Christian Vila are in the mood for a more stripped down minimal sound with carefully applied sweeps of synth. Whichever one you reach for, the vibe is sure to be live when one of these tracks gets dropped.
Angiuli brings a mix of palettes and emotions to her latest release. "Chose The Harmony" is textured techno in the Kompakt mould and the breathy vocal Angiuli uses only serves to heighten the track's dreamy appeal. By contrast, "In The Dark" features a tougher and leaner groove, but Angiuli is soon back in emotive form with the sun kissed vocals and infectious guitar strumming of "Free". A similar approach is also audible on the closing track, "Modular Dream"; although the groove is harder, the classical guitar shows that like Superpitcher, Angiuli operates at the cerebral end of the techno spectrum.
The busy Heinz Music imprint serves up another fine collaborative effort this week, bringing together the talents of Uono - a Heinz regular - and Out Of Sorts - a debutant making his first studio appearance. The pair start off with the moody pads and furious low-end of "Jet-Ski", before heading into a techier framework with the pulsating jack-swing that is "Tasman Bridge". The latter is first remixed by Thank You City, who adds in a pile of wavy chords and deeper-than-deep background atmospherics, and then by Gabe with his minimal-edged rework; a fine bunch of floor shakers with a twisted, playful side.
Alex Flatner first made his name on Sven Vath's Cocoon back in the mid to late 2000's, and he's been pushing his own brand of minimalistic house and techno ever since. This time he's partnered up with associate Lopazz Flatner for an EP on Lola Trax, the pair two smoking joints backed by a remix. The original mix of "Every Day" is a spacey tool boasting a bouncy bassline and a driving groove; the tune is jacked up and jazzed-out by Tigerskin. "Acid Department" spins the house out into a hypnotic frenzy of deep and dubby chords - precise and well executed.
Aside from a vast pool of releases for labels such as Moon Harbour, Remote Area, and many other quality tech-house outlets, Onno has put out the majority of his music on Upon.You. The house wizard returns to the label with "Some Mo", featuring that classic vocal sample frome the early 80's, and a heavy succession of drums and buddy chords; the remix comes from Martin Landsky who goes deeper and more ethereal on his version. "Stabbing Sally" ties things off with hard-hitting beats, gritty melodic twists and a penchant for the dancefloor!