Review: While you could hardly say it was a hyped release, Blond:Ish's 2015 debut album, Welcome To The Present, picked up plenty of plaudits for its' alluring mix of tech-house tropes, Balearic intent and downtempo grooves. Six months after it hit stores, Kompakt has put together this dancefloor-leaning remix package. There's much to admire, from the tech-house-goes-to-Africa shuffle of Damien K's rework of "Jupiter & Jaguar", to the humid, ethnic stroll of San Proper's typically eccentric version of "Lucyas Affair". Best of all, though, is the previously unheard "Laberinto", a near 12-minute collaboration with Bahramji that effortlessly joins the dots between tactile tech-house, new wave, and the intoxicating aroma of the Middle East.
Review: "Joker" was undeniably one of the strongest cuts from Gui Boratto's recent Abaporu full length, his fourth for long serving Cologne giants Kompakt. It's pleasing, then, to find it getting a deserved single release. The original - a breakdown-heavy chunk of progressive techno blessed with darting synthesizer arpeggios and tumbling pianos - is remixed by Dave DK and Michael Mayer. The former delivers a deeper, more atmospheric version, bristling with sinewy strings, woozy chords and sparse, bongo-laden percussion. It's Mayer's remix that hits home hardest, though. The Kompakt bossman reinvents the track as a chunky slab of wide-eyed rave revivalism, with Boratto's pianos and arpeggios riding a thrilling new bassline and cut-up electronics.
Review: Kompakt are the unchallenged masters of sensual, atmospheric electronic dance music with a poppy twist and new signing Elijah Simmons was clearly destined for this label. Apparently someone with something for star signs, "Pisces" is a sublime seven-minute trip featuring a cool, rolling beat with suspended washes of synth pads and flickering effects that drift in and out with hypnotic beauty. If you're still conscious after that, then "Scorpi" is the sting in the tail that'll wake you up; a slow builder that evolves from trance to snarl over the course of eight minutes.
Review: Kompakt label staple and all round local Cologne hero Geiger has returned, under the new alias Fahrland and the release of Mixtape Vol 1. earlier this year. The label hailed it as its most ambitious and fulfilling releases in recent times. For the uninitiated, Alexander Geiger was a key member of local imprint Firm, who were central figures in early noughties sound of Cologne - a period of naughtiness. Here on Night Versions, he creates four club-ready versions of selections from the album, made for those that require a bit more dancefloor dynamics. From the moody dancefloor drama of Yesterday", to the deep and sexy late-night mood lighting of "Beggin" (featuring Canadian chanteuse Mz Sunday Luv) and the sleazy electro-house of "Plastic People" - this one definitely for all the night creatures out there.
Review: In many ways, "Airwaves" is typical of GusGus's recent releases. Like the rest of the album from which it's taken, Mexico, "Airwaves" sees the Icelandic band offering a smooth, atmospheric and slightly melancholic fusion of yearning, deep synth-pop and glacial tech-house. It's deliciously tactile - like much of their catalogue - with Daniel Agust's vocals sounding particularly emotive. The real highlight of this EP, though, is the T World Dub Mix - a nine-minute foray into deep, dubby and immersive tech-house that makes the most of the original's woozy keyboards and enveloping pads. It's tough enough for afterparty plays, but light and dreamy enough for home listening, too.
Review: One of the tracks on the Icelandic act's latest album, Mexico, "Obnoxiously Sexual" gets twisted and turned into a variety of shapes on this remix release. At the epic end of the scale is Patrice Baumel's rework, with epic chords and wailing vocals transforming the original into a dramatic, tranced out affair. J Phlip's take is rooted in a different aesthetic with glitchy, fractured rhythms and dubby beats prevailing, while T-World's take sits somewhere in the middle of these sounds, its chiming hooks fused with clanking drums and stepping rhythms. However, the most impressive results come from Gluteus Maximus and ILO, whose versions feature punchy rhythms underpinning seductive woodwind, orchestral flourishes and dramatic brassy stabs.
Review: Acting mostly in the background where he felt most comfortable, Stuttgart's Johannes Brecht is the classically trained and professional musician responsible for all the orchestral arrangements of Henrik Schwarz' Instruments Album. After a few orchestral tours worldwide, Brecht developed his interest in popular music studio technologies and an appreciation of electronic music - taking his first steps into the scene in 2013. His latest project for Koelsch powerhouse Kompakt is the Dust EP, which exemplifies his quality as a producer. From the lush orchestral arrangements of "Synesthesia", or "Particulate" with its deeply emotive grove that you could imagine Lee Burridge playing on a sunny rooftop, and the introspective "Matter" which is as heartfelt and glassy-eyed as you like it.
Review: For revered Danish producer Rune Reilly, Kompakt has been the perfect home to curate his music. The Cologne institution has presented two critically acclaimed albums and a now classic run of solo installments in their Speicher series. He's taken his brand of techno craftsmanship; honed since the mid noughties under respected aliases such as Ink & Needle - on what the label best describe themselves as 'a melodic, emotive and even autobiographical course without losing any of its punch and quirkiness.' Taken from his new opus entitled 1989, Kolsch serves up the powerful new single "Liath". It's an evocative and life affirming track geared for some right dancefloor drama with its powerful, Derrick May style strings section and razor sharp arpeggiations ticking all the right boxes.
Review: 2019 certainly was a big one for Rune Reilly Kolsch; a year which saw a brilliant collaboration with Sasha in the form of "The Lights" (on his IPSO imprint) as well as that well received installment of 'fabric presents' for the London clubbing institution. As we all know by now, he's no stranger to Cologne institution Kompakt, being a staple of the revered label for nigh on a decade - and here he kicks off 2020 with a big bang. Between the soundscape of metallic textures, an evocative string arrangement and that razor sharp bassline that's a constant throughout, "Shoulder Of Giants" sees the Danish producer present his unmistakable sound to the main room for some serious dancefloor drama. Second offering "Glypto" features theatrical vocals in contrast to modular style blips and bleeps, to create a seething minimal tech house arrangement that's equally sure to create some tension and suspense in the club.
Review: The king of moody dancefloor drama returns on Kompakt. Rune Reilly Kolsch is absolutely synonymous with the label's sound aesthetic by now and follows up last month's thriller "Shoulder Of Giants". This time around, he provides the subtle yet elevating trance arpeggios of "Time" which are supported by breathtaking female vocals and roaring string arrangements which are altogether sure to cause a stir on the dancefloor. This is followed by the more subdued and introspective arrangement of "Sleeper Must Awaken" featuring Kolsch's signature razor sharp synth leads against a backdrop of strong electro style beats - greyscale deep house at its finest.