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|Genre||Electronic music, microhouse, minimal techno|
|Country of origin||Germany|
Kompakt is a Cologne-based electronic music independent record label and vinyl/CD distributor, owned by Wolfgang Voigt, Michael Mayer and Jürgen Paape. They specialize in microhouse and minimal techno, and are known for their Total compilation series which reached its seventeenth installment in 2017.
Cologne is the largest city of Germany's most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and its 1 million+ (2016) inhabitants make it the fourth most populous city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. The largest city on the Rhine, it is also the most populous city both of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, which is Germany's largest and one of Europe's major metropolitan areas, and of the Rhineland. Centred on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia's capital of Düsseldorf and 25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of Bonn. It is the largest city in the Central Franconian and Ripuarian dialect areas.
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, and electric elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, and the electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin, synthesizer, and computer can produce electronic sounds.
An independent record label is a record label that operates without the funding of major record labels. Many artists begin their careers on independent labels.
Kompakt originated from a techno record store that was opened in Cologne in 1993 (under the name "Delirium") by Wolfgang Voigt, Reinhard Voigt, Jörg Burger and Jürgen Paape, who were soon joined by Michael Mayer.Kompakt itself was formally founded in 1998, combining several existing labels, the record store and distributor and also event organizing activities.
Jörg Burger is a German record producer who has had several releases on Kompakt as Triola, including an album, Triola im Fünftonraum, in 2004. He is also in a duo with Wolfgang Voigt.
According to Grooves magazine, "Kompakt's chief aesthetic objective has always been the perfect marriage of ambient texture and linear 4x4 structure—blending deep, granular sound design with the 4-bar rhythmic intensity and patterning that makes house and techno so club-effective".Kompakt has been noted for releases enriching abstract techno tracks with pop elements such as vocals - Mayer has stated that "We grew up with pop music and really like traces of pop in techno music. This is probably Kompakt's biggest strength-- that we can detect these pop traces and give them a home".
Grooves is an American electronic music magazine founded in 1999 by editor Sean Portnoy, initially concentrating on the then-burgeoning IDM music genre and expanding to its more experimental, abstract offshoots, such as microsound, microhouse and glitch, eventually encompassing a global view of musicians and cross-cultural influences that is reflected in coverage of jungle, two-step, avant rap, broken beat and other offbeat new music. The headquarters is in San Francisco.
British music critic Simon Reynolds has characterized Kompakt as the "label that's contributed more than any other to Germany's dominance of electronic dance music this decade [the 2000s]".
Simon Reynolds is an English music journalist, critic, and author who began his professional career on the staff of Melody Maker in the mid-1980s, and has since gone on to freelance and publish a number of full-length books on music and popular culture, ranging from historical tomes on rave music, glam rock, and the post-punk era to critical works such as The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion and Rock 'n' Roll and Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past (2011). He has also contributed to Spin, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Guardian, The Wire, Pitchfork, and others.
Notable producers of the label include Superpitcher, Michael Mayer, Justus Köhncke and Gui Boratto. In recent years, Kompakt has been better known for bringing a trance sound into minimal techno.
Aksel Schaufler better known by his stage name Superpitcher, is a German producer affiliated with Cologne's Kompakt music label.
Michael Mayer is an electronic musician from Cologne, Germany. Mayer is a remixer, DJ, and producer, and has released several singles on the Kompakt music label, working with founder Wolfgang Voigt. Mayer has also released music on Kompakt-related labels New Trance Atlantic and Kreisel 99.
Justus Köhncke is a German techno producer and pop musician from Cologne.
Techno and electronic artists, such as The Orb, Thomas Fehlmann, The Field, Jonas Bering, Aril Brikha, Kenneth James Gibson, and others have released material on Kompakt.
The Orb are an English electronic music group founded in 1988 by Alex Paterson and The KLF member Jimmy Cauty. Beginning as ambient and dub DJs in London, their early performances were inspired by electronic artists of the 1970s and 1980s, most notably Brian Eno and Kraftwerk. Because of their psychedelic sound, the Orb developed a cult following among clubbers "coming down" from drug-induced highs. The Orb have maintained their drug-related science fiction themes despite personnel changes, including the departure of Cauty and members Kris Weston, Andy Falconer, Simon Phillips, Nick Burton, and Andy Hughes. Paterson has been the only permanent member, continuing to work as the Orb with Swiss-German producer Thomas Fehlmann and, later, with Martin "Youth" Glover, bassist of Killing Joke. Beyond recognition on their albums and concerts, his unauthorised use of other artists' works has led to disputes with musicians, most notably with Rickie Lee Jones.
Thomas Fehlmann, is a Swiss-born composer/producer who lives in Berlin, Germany, and has been active in electronic music as far back as the 1980s. He is currently active on the Kompakt record label based in Germany. He is an on and off member of such groups as Sun Electric and The Orb.
Axel Willner is a Swedish electronic music producer and DJ from Stockholm and currently based in Berlin, best known for his releases as The Field, blending micro-samples of pop songs into atmospheric minimal techno.
Kompakt also runs an online music store with a weekly newsletter, providing a large amount of techno and other electronic forms and through mailorder. The label used to run its own digital download store at kompakt-mp3.net, which according to Mayer was "[one of the first] techno mp3 shops online", but it was not financially successful and was shut down after three years in late 2008.The company had 16 employees in 2009.
The Kompakt offices and record store appear in Amy Grill's 2009 documentary Speaking In Code , which features interviews with founder Wolfgang Voigt and co-owner Michael Mayer.
Profan was founded in 1993 by Wolfgang Voigt and was later added as a sublabel to Kompakt. The label primarily featured material by Wolfgang Voigt and his brother Reinhard Voigt. Many critics considered Profan at the cutting edge of '90s electronica.Profan stopped releasing any new material in 2000, but resumed in August 2008 when Wolfgang Voigt's "Freiland Klaviermusik" single was released under the Profan name.
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Ambient techno is a 1990s offshoot of techno and ambient house that united the atmospheric textures of ambient music with the melodic and rhythmic elements of techno and electro. It was pioneered by electronic artists such as B12, Aphex Twin, the Black Dog, Higher Intelligence Agency, and Biosphere.
Microhouse, buftech or sometimes just minimal, is a subgenre of house music strongly influenced by minimalism and 1990s techno.
Wolfgang Voigt is an electronic music DJ and producer from Cologne, Germany, known for his output under various aliases, such as Gas. He signed on numerous record labels, including Warp, Harvest, Raster-Noton, Force Inc, Astral Industries and Kompakt. The latter was co-founded by Voigt alongside Michael Mayer and Jürgen Paape. He is considered one of the most influential minimal techno artists.
Jonas Bering is a French electronic music songwriter, from Lille, France. Jonas Bering emerged from the techno scene of Cologne, Germany, through his works released on the German label Kompakt, run by Wolfgang Voigt, Michael Mayer and Juergen Paape.
Guilherme Boratto is a Brazilian electronic music producer. In the 1990s, he was a member of Sect.
Kompakt: Total 3 or Total 3 was released on 31 July 2001. The album is the third installment of the influential Cologne-based microhouse label's annual compilation of vinyl releases and exclusives from its biggest artists and most promising newcomers. Vinyl and CD editions are quite different since only six songs are included on both formats. All tracks on the vinyl format were previously unreleased when the compilation came out. "Departures" was since included on Closer Musik's album After Love, "So Weit Wie Noch Nie" was since released on 12 inch, both on Kompakt in 2002. It was this album that introduced the worldwide electronic music scene to the Cologne minimal sound which was to be dominated by Kompakt releases.
Kompakt: Total 4 or Total 4 is the fourth installment, released on 23 July 2002, of the influential Cologne-based microhouse label Kompakt's annual compilation of vinyl releases and exclusives from its biggest artists and most promising newcomers. All tracks on the vinyl edition are previously unreleased. The CD edition includes most of the tracks from the vinyl edition, and additionally some songs which were at the time of release already available on 12-inch format.
Kompakt 100 is a double-disc/4x12" compilation album released on 25 June 2004, to celebrate Kompakt's 100th release. On it the various familiar artists affiliated with the Cologne-based microhouse label were asked to remix their favourite Kompakt tracks from the past 100 releases.
Kompakt: Total 6 or Total 6 is a techno album released on 30 July 2005 on Kompakt.
Kompakt: Total 7 or Total 7 was released on 21 August 2006. The album is the seventh installment of the Cologne-based microhouse label's annual compilation of vinyl releases and exclusives from its biggest artists and most promising newcomers. All tracks on the vinyl edition are previously unreleased. The CD edition includes all tracks from the vinyl edition except one, and additionally some songs which were at the time of release already available on 12 inch format.
Kompakt: Total 8 or Total 8 was released on 13 August 2007. The album is the eighth installment of the Cologne-based microhouse label's annual compilation of vinyl releases and exclusives from its biggest artists and most promising newcomers. All tracks on the vinyl edition are previously unreleased. As with its predecessor, the CD edition includes all tracks from the vinyl edition, and additionally fourteen tracks taken already available 12 inch singles.
Gas is a music project of Wolfgang Voigt, a German electronic musician. Voigt cites his youthful LSD experiences in the Königsforst, a German forest situated near his hometown of Cologne, as the inspiration behind his work under the name Gas. He has claimed that the intention of the project is to "bring the forest to the disco, or vice-versa".
"I'm in Love with a German Film Star" is a post-punk song by the British band the Passions. It was released as a single by Polydor Records on 23 January 1981, and reached No. 25 on the UK Singles Chart. It was the band's only charting single. The song was later included on the band's second album, Thirty Thousand Feet Over China (1981).
Speaking in Code is a character-based documentary directed by Amy Grill about people who are lost in the electronic music lifestyle.
Kompakt: Total 9 or Total 9 was released on 18 August 2008. The album is the ninth installment of the Cologne-based microhouse label's annual compilation of vinyl releases and exclusives from its biggest artists and most promising newcomers.
Kompakt: Total 10 or Total 10 was released on 10 August 2009. The album is the tenth installment of the Cologne-based microhouse label's annual compilation of vinyl releases and exclusives from its biggest artists and most promising newcomers.
Kompakt: Total 11 or Total 11 was released on 23 August 2010. The album is the eleventh, and latest installment of the Cologne-based microhouse label's annual compilation of vinyl releases and exclusives from its biggest artists and most promising newcomers.