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Various – Kompakt: Total 11 review

As with anything that’s around for more than a successful ten minutes in the dance music world, Kompakt gets a lot of stick. How anyone can value the worth of a company which acts as distributor for over 120 labels and releases two benchmark compilations a year (this as well as Pop Ambient) though, is bemusing to say the least.  What’s more, Total 11 is far from a regurgitation of old material, but instead is a double disc effort made-up by 95% new material – and that’s value for money, if nothing else.

As well as new music, there are new production teams – It’s A Fine Line, AKA Ivan Smagghe and Tim Paris, who contribute a tobacco stained, rock infused and bleepy beauty; Three Lions, a group made up of Jorg Burger, Superpitcher and Rebolledo, who add some stoned Calypso vibes and have Michael Mayer on saxophone, as well as recent label newbies Walls who get tightened up and techno-fried by Allez Allez (Sam Willis is a member of both).  Then there are subliminal tech tones and seductive, raw synth funk from Kompakt staples like Superpitcher and Ada battling for your attention next to the broken pianos, oscillating pads, muffled growls and sci-fi patters of favourites like DJ Koze or The Field.  Encompassing as many styles as it does, Total 11 is a fine example of quality control and is one which makes you dance as much as dream and laugh as much as cry: off-kilter and experimental electronica isn’t often as classy as this.

Kristan J Caryl