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kompakt total 5 / Kompakt

What can I say about Kompakt that hasn't been said already? As far as electronic music goes, I can't think of any other label whose releases I anticipate more. When it comes to techno, Kompakt is top. And as their roster and discography grows (seemingly by the week!), the strength of each release gets better and better. A key strength to this compilation (and Kompakt comps in general) is that it flows like an album instead of an uneven showcase, while managing to let each individual's strengths shine. Superpitcher's "Mushroom" is the perfect summer-drive jam -- full of warm synth pad drone accompanied by sporadic bubbles adrift a lazy breeze. Gorgeous. Burger/Voigt's remix of newcomer Phong Sui's beautiful "Wintermute" is, dare I say, even better than the original. T.Raumschmiere's "Total" (perhaps an ode to the series?) brings things into a more banging, grinding territory. Plain and simple, it's a killer. The beloved Reinhard Voigt ups-the-ante even more by delivering a true thumping masterpiece called "Leibe Diene Musik" (which roughly translates to "Your Body Music"). He was born to make music like this. This part of the set peaks with Joachim Spieth's pumping "Nie Mehr Allien." Thomas Fehlmann's "Radeln" brings the pace down and sets the scene for the final cuts, and it's all about lush and ethereal. The comedown is pure heaven. Jonas Bering's "Normandie 2" is a sweeping, ambient techno gem, ending "Total 5" on the sweetest note. Also tracks by SCSI-9, Justus Kohncke, M.Mayer, and Mikkel Metal. Highly recommended.
listen: T.Raumschmiere

guther / I Know You Know / morr

Morr Music's newest hitmakers, the duo of Julia Guther and Berend Intelmann approach songwriting much differently than their labelmates. Guther seem to take their cue from the early-'90s pop music that appeared on labels like Slumberland and TeenBeat. The songs are super simple, with catchy choruses, jangly guitars, and quirky melodic electronics. Julia's vocals at times recall the Spinanes' Rebecca Gates, or Laetitia Sadier, singing in beautiful deep tones, and with a monotone delivery not unlike the Stereolab chanteuse. Her lyrics seem to be spontaneous with songs about lost love, failed relationships and various other personal issues. Ten songs in all, and another fine album for the Morr Music label. "I Know You Know" is a beautiful listen for these last few days of summer, and a must for fans of the Postal Service, Stereolab, and the Spinanes.
listen: Guther