Review: As sure as night follows day, every year Kompakt releases an installment of the Total series. Now at its sixteenth volume, the compilation still manages to bring together the best bits from the Cologne label's catalogue. From the dreamy textures and spiky off rhythms of Kaytlin Aurelia Smith's take on The Field's "Reflecting Lights" to the woozy vocals and pitter pattering break beats on Weval's "I Donat Need It" to the stripped back but evocative house of Patrice Baumel's take on Blond:ish's "Endless Games" and the throbbing techno reshape of Coma's "Lora", the full range of the Kompakt emotional spectrum is audible here.
Review: Emmanuele Nicosia and Martino Bertola aka Hunter/Game were already known thanks to their releases on Innervisions and Last Night on Earth. However, it makes perfect sense that their debut album, Adaptation, issues on Kompakt, the Cologne home to techno-trance experts like Gui Borratto. Certainly the title track's crashing drums and tunnelling melodies are reminiscent of Brazilian Borratto's most epic moments, but it would also be a mistake to assume that the pair are only interested in tripping the light fantastic. "Hexagon" sees them venture down a tougher, harder techno route while the reflective "Intro" and the slower, shimmering "Origins" show that Hunter / Game aren't a typical trance-lite outfit.
Review: Whatever you think about Hot Creations - and opinions are, of course, divided - you can't deny that Jamie Jones and Lee Foss's label has been a game-changer. Their combination of contemporary house grooves with classic house, disco, boogie and garage influences now dominates dancefloors the world over. This label retrospective tells the story of their runaway success between 2011 and 2012, offering up three hours of unmixed floorfillers from the likes of Waifs & Strays, Miguel Campbell, Burnski, PBR Streetgang, Jamie Jones and Lee Foss, plus a smattering of lesser-known gems. For those who missed the label's formative years, there's also a tasty bonus mix of early material from Russ Yallop.
DJ T - "Burning" (feat Nick Maurer - Art Department remix) - (8:58) 118 BPM
Dakar - "I've Got That Feeling" - (6:59) 126 BPM
Lopazz - "Share My Rhythm" - (5:06) 125 BPM
DJ T - "Philly" - (8:15) 126 BPM
Fuckpony - "Cell Phone Hit" - (6:09) 120 BPM
SIOPIS - "I'm On Miami" - (5:55) 126 BPM
Snax & Ianeq - "Fill Me Up" - (7:11) 121 BPM
Tying Tiffany - "You Know Me" - (6:23) 126 BPM
Chelonis R Jones - "I Don' Know?" (Starsky & Hutch remix) - (5:55) 131 BPM
Audiofly vs Big Bully - "I'll Tell Ya" - (8:10) 118 BPM
Jona - "Smart Cats Vs Dumb Dogs" - (8:22) 124 BPM
MANDY - "Word Don't Come Easy" - (6:47) 122 BPM
Voltique - "Whoop" - (8:36) 120 BPM
Sid Le Rok - "Naked" (DJ Koze remix) - (6:08) 120 BPM
Chelonis R Jones - "Mythologies" - (10:16) 125 BPM
Raz Ohara & The Odd Orchestra - "Kisses" - (3:20) 121 BPM
Various - "M.A.N.D.Y. & DJ T Present 10 Years Get Physical: Mix 1" (continuous DJ mix by M.A.N.D.Y.) - (1:10:36) 123 BPM
Various - "M.A.N.D.Y. & DJ T Present 10 Years Get Physical: Mix 2" (continuous DJ mix by DJ T) - (1:08:36) 121 BPM
Review: This compilation celebrating ten years of the venerable German label shows that its modus operandi doesn't focus exclusively on trance melodies and low slung electro house. It's certainly true that Get Physical excels at these two variants as the eerie synths and rumbling bass of MANDY's "Word Don't Come Easy" demonstrate, but this only tells part of the story. Soul Clap's "Incoming Bitch (Get Low!)" sees tripped out acid added to the low-slung grooves, while Fuckpony's "Cell Phone Hit" is all jazzed out minimal weirdness. DJ T surprises with the string-soaked "Philly", but he can't compete for sheer out there-ness with Raz Ohara's "El Zahir", a mad mixture of warbling ethnic vocals and dense, organic drums.
Review: Innervisions' Secret Weapons series is always worth a look, if only for the opportunity it gives to delve into Dixon's CD wallet and see what he's been hammering over the last six months. As usual, there's plenty of Grade A material to enjoy, from the undulating rhythms and drifting chords of Hunter Game's "Ice", to the forceful electronics, woozy pads and dreamy vocal snatches of Flowers & Sea Creatures' picturesque "Overworld". Elsewhere, Nu Tone delivers some intense afterparty fare in the shape of "Rumble", while Ripperton reaches for the lasers on the shuffling deep house gem "Unfold". Arguably best of all, though, is Aera's "Freak Wave", a midtempo shuffler that boasts a wonderfully warm, organic feel, with rich percussion and fuzzy analogue synth-work.
Review: Italian duo Hunter/Game released "Silver" in 2016 as the lead single from the album Adaptation, which has continued to be played and supported in a timelessness that Cologne institution Kompakt strives to find in the music it releases. Fast forward to 2019, they now deliver their live mix of "Silver" that brings a whole new dimension and feel to their hypnotic techno masterpiece - led by its seductive vocal, slinky rhythms and entrancing melodies. Also featured his a handy "Silence Live Instrumental" for those of you you not so keen on the female vocal.
Review: Following on from last year's second Consciousness compilation, Afterlife returns with an even more ambitious project. Label owners Tale of Us deliver a suitably melodic track, "Nova", but there are also a series of contributions from high-profile artists. Sterac's "Universum" is an expertly weighted, stripped back techno affair, while on "Phase In", Edit Select takes it deeper with a throbbing, tranced out groove that is like a more refined take on early Plus 8 material. Completing the techno triumvirate is Scuba's SCB project. Now also a vehicle for the UK producer's socially conscious thoughts, "Tide Slide", which is possibly a reference to the effects of climate change, sees him deliver a frosty techno groove.