Monday, July 14, 2008

Minimal Mondays or frugal Fridays? You decide

The Germans have taken the reins with techno over the last ten or so years and there is not stopping them. And why should they stop when such great work has been done. If you've been lying under a crab, which was buried under a stone in the Aleutian Islands then you may not have come into contact with Basic Channel, Monolake, Gas or Supermayer. These producers really pushed the German penchant for slick, sparse production, then reached out across the globe to find like-minded musicians and added them to their label, playlists or mindset. One of the most prolific labels in the world of minimal techno is Kompakt. However, its appeal lies in being eclectic in its output and in its influences. And whereas other labels display a starkness of sound, Kompakt often revels in a lushness that brings a welcome respite from the cold, ersatz dance music on offer from other imprints.

Just check out these two releases; Kompakt 177 and 178 respectively. The DJ Koze remix of Closer Muzik member Matias Aguayo's "Minimal," is about as deep as house (this ain't techno, sorry) can get, with a cocky, ironic vocal about music that "got no groove, got no balls," while a girly chorus seductive coos "si," and other utterances en Español. The original is a winner too, displaying a rhythm akin to that of reggaeton, while Marcus Rossknecht's remix doesn't stray far from the original, it just beefs things up a tad. The remixes of KOM 178, namely Justus Köhncke's "Yacht," and "26," are similarly sterling and staggeringly stalwart, methinks. Both Robert Babicz's and Aaron Carl's mixes display a chunky penchant for Detroit nuances (well, Carl is from the motor city) that is immersed in rich textures and buoyed on a paltform of tough, funky beats. Both are late night cruisers for dimly lit floors and well lit crowds, and are diamonds in the rough, so ignore at your peril. And as usual Kompakt has more in store, but we'll get to that later, so enjoy these for now.


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