Out of all the electronic labels of the moment, from the trend setting Young Turks, to the avante garde Tri Angle, and the club rocking Sound Pellegrino, there is one which time and time again comes out trumps – the intricate sounds of the Cologne based KOMPAKT.
Their trade mark sound incoporates a 4/4 beat, with techno and ambient sounds throughout, but with the added sparkle of club vocals, which has lead to what one series of compilations being named pretty much the only way you could describe the sound, Pop Ambient. The artists all share a drive to be dance floor frendly, but with an energy and experimentalism to make it so much more than purely ‘bangers’.
To date there are 135 labels listed on their website, either associated via distribution or as subsidiaries, and guess what? Tri Angle and Young Turks both appear on that list. KOMPAKT incorporates completely what it is to be a label in the modern day and age, with forward thinking views on the digital realm – their MP3 download store was one of the first which along with Beatport, which focused on dance culture.
KOMPAKT was formally founded in 1998 – by producers Wolfgang Voigt (a man who currently has 34 pseudonyms associated with his name), Michael Mayer and Jürgen Paape, a man who doesn’t have anything other than his music associated with his name – five years after starting techo record store Delrium in the same city.
They reached the 11th in their series of their Total compilations in 2010, bringing together tracks from a range of artists across the board, while the Pop Ambient series reached its tenth instalment this year.
Their prolific business attitude is offset by the sheer amount of artists which they bring about, on KOMPAKT itself the fantastic Gus Gus LP Arabian Horse is set to light dance floors on fire throughout Europe. John Tejada has also made en electronic album of impecible taste; the crisp production values the label is famous for combined with spaced out and minimal synths. Kolombo meanwhile in ‘Waiting For’ has made one of the most essential singles for the summer months – and is a prime example of that combination of 4/4 beats with essentially pop vocals which co-foudner Mayer descirbed as “probably Kompakt’s biggest strength [musically]”.
If you don’t have deep enough pockets to invest in all of that, then the FAT 5Zig compilation is tweleve tracks which relly sums up what the label does so well.
After thirteen years of growth and success, KOMPAKT is sure to continue being the kingpin of the electronica world. Trend setting, avante garde and club rocking all at once.
From Nicholas Burman.