Various Artists - Kompakt Total 9
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Various Artists
Kompakt Total 9

Having heard the past several Total compilations on the Kompakt label, it's probably redundant to say that they always feel like a bit too big of a serving, but when I stop and think about it that's probably at least partially the goal of the whole thing anyway. Lots of labels put out cheap compilations to entice listeners to hunt down different artists and buy up more product, but Kompakt has been sweetening the deal now for some time by usually featuring some pretty exclusive songs that you won't get anywhere else. Plus, for non-vinyl buyers it offers the opportunity to basically get the creme de la creme of different 12" releases from the past year of the label while also keeping one foot forward to the future.

Kompakt Total 9 is no different, and although it certainly features some tracks that run a little long (and and overall running length that will likely wear down most listeners a bit), it also has some cuts that offset most of the deadweight and a few that absolutely slay. Justus Kohncke kicks off the double-disc collection with "Thanks For The Add," and it rumbles along with some super smooth overlapping bass, modulating synth that edges towards some harsh moments, and cracking snare fills that keep the momentum building. Arriving from a different angle is the entertaining "Minimal" by Matias Aguayo, which sounds something like an afro-pop electonic dance cover of a grime track (in a good way).

Oddly enough, it's some of the big names that turn in the weakest tracks. The somewhat underwhelming superduo of SuperMayer turn in a by-the-numbers electro-funk track with "Hey Hotties!" while Superpitcher offers up the completely boring "Disko (You Don't Care)" (which takes a Soul II Soul sample and completely runs it into the ground). On the other hand, though, Thomas Fehlmann is his usual steady self on the excellent "With Wings," and "Anunciación" by Gui Boratto shows that he is still in fine form following his great Chromophobia.

For my money, two of the best tracks on the entire release arrive on the second disc. The Rice Twins churn out "The Signifier," an absolutely stunning piece laced with cascading chimes and warm builds while Kaito veers away from his more recent, almost trance leanings with "Everlasting Dub," an almost ten-minute stunner that blends together heart-racing (but not overwhelming) beat programming with the sort of airy sounds that made old records by The Orb so damn enjoyable. Like many of their other compilations, Kompakt Total 9 is definitely worth hunting down if you're a fan of the label. You probably won't like every song on here, but the great stuff more than makes up for the weaker inclusions.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2008-08-14 20:52:35