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Various Artists Total 19

Total 19
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Kompakt, the 26-year-old minimal techno label hailing from Cologne, have made it to the nineteenth edition of their Total compilation series.

Harder, club-driven tracks come from Blackrachas, Raxon and Yotam Avni, while Weval and Jörg Burger contribute detached ambient. Jürgen Paape's 'Abstrusia' is made for big room beginnings of epic proportions. As granular hi-hats sift restlessly underneath hymn-like synths, you feel like something's after you and your escape is timed. Having nailed the blockbuster build-up, Paape is penitent; relief comes from a pattern of techno stabs working as not-so-gentle reminders to start dancing.

The more daring tracks are a cut above the rest

The more daring tracks are a cut above the rest. John Monkman and James Monro, for example, deliver with the EBM-inspired 'Pesto Punk'. Yet it's 'Total Anders' from Thomas/Mayer that hits the nail on the head. Synths blare and collide like the noise of distant car horns, before a lazy acid solo sleets down. Listening to this groggy house track feels like hopping on a monorail and daydreaming the urban sprawl away.

Close behind is Justus Köhncke's homage to synth pop, 'Mindless Sex Track'. The titular vocal hook, while catchy, is firmly jaded. Köhncke turns the disco double-entendre of Patrick Cowley's day on its head, opting for blunt chants of "love on demand" and "instant sex" to the point where all meaning is lost.

Is he suggesting our age of dating apps and hook-ups is meaningless? It's up in the air, but the track makes for a mover on the floor regardless.

Marek Nowicki

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