Review: Various Artists, Kompakt Total 10
Kompakt’s Total 10 reinforced an idea I’ve had for a long time – pay attention to your intuitions. They’re not always right but they’re always worth considering. Total 10 is the tenth in an ongoing series of yearly compilations from Kompakt Records. I picked it up after thoroughly enjoying Ewan Pearson’s We Are Proud of Our Choices, a mix put out on the Kompakt label. I read somewhere that Pearson was trying to create the quintessential Kompact mix with We Are Proud of Our Choices so I thought Total 10 would be a great CD. It came into rotation and I thought wtf? this isn’t at all what I expected. It sucks!
I was all set to write a review focused on what a big disappointment the CD was but this intuition I had kept nagging at me to give it another listen. I did – with the same result. Didn’t like it. Give it another listen. Do it again. Again. I was on the verge of writing the review but the sense I was missing something wouldn’t leave. This was unusual so I set Total 10 aside and came back to it several weeks later and listened to it with fresh ears. Click! Free of preconceptions Total 10 came clear.
Kompakt formed in 1998 and came to be one of the dominant record labels in the exceptionally vibrant German electronic music scene in the 2000s. They are known for hitting the sweet spot that combines micro house and minimal techno with pop music (often in the form of vocals) and ambient. Their music tends to have a solid dance-oriented groove driving a soundscape that is quieter than peak hour dancefloor House music. One of their releases, Immer by label co-founder and co-owner Michael Mayer, was named by Resident Advisor as the top mix CD of the decade 2000-2009. Total 10 fits this image. It’s a two disc collection of varied electronic dance music that shades toward quiet and is deep in groove and high quality production values. I sounds very good on good playback gear.
I ended up putting a lot of time into Total 10 and it was worth it. The CD took me on a voyage of discovery that opened up new musical vistas for me. Hard to argue with that. There are still some aspects of Total 10 that I don’t much care for, I can comfortably say I don’t enjoy some of the more loungey vocals for example, but on the whole I’ve come to enjoy this collection quite a lot which is a complete reversal of my initial reaction. And the good news is that this is number 10. There are 9 more to explore.
Justus Köhncke’s “Give It To Me Easy”
Gui Boratto’s “No Turning Back” Wighnomy’s Lakkalize Rekksmi
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