Blog Archives

Kompakt pres. Total 19

TOTAL 19 will be released on September 27, 2019.

Music: Sascha Funke “Aus Der Lameng”. Order:

Video: Tom Demac & Real Lies – White Flowers (Edit)

Taken from Tom Demac and Real Lies debut EP on Kompakt (out Sept 14). Buy here.

Thomas Fehlmann – Los Lagos LP


His 7th solo full-length and his 4th for Kompakt, ‘Los Lagos’ finds the German electronic godfather on fabulous form, embracing chance and exploration with vibrant results. A colloquial greeting used between Fehlmann and friends, ‘Los Lagos’ translates literally as ‘The Lakes’ – also alluding to the album’s prevalent air of reconnoitre and striving creatively for a good place.

Attributable to years of experience and honed technique, the 61-year-old grand master can harness a wild grove with ease, riding it on an unknown journey to an unplanned destination. The boundless experimentalist describes this process as “inventing, inverting and changing the emphasis. It’s operating with a lack of borders for an unpredictable outcome.”

This is loose, free-flowing electronic brilliance, where although clearly in charge, he’s more than happy to let the machines control him, in a man-machine interface he calls “allowing myself to techno”.

“To techno is to deconstruct and rebuild again, to set up an area of tension and lose it in the flow of grooves.  It’s magnifying a detail out of proportion, or slowly knitting a texture. I wanted to find a structure that’s surprising, disruptive and rewarding, so I switched off the control and followed my intuition. I’m trying to expand my vocabulary and bring out a new beauty. It’s a complex process of search and destroy”, he explains.

The beginning of new adventures and solo reveries came after a juncture. On one of several breaks over the years from collaboration with Alex Paterson as The Orb, Fehlmann was keen to traverse the unknown, dressed sharply in an explorer’s outfit that didn’t cramp his style.

“It was time to take a turn, follow my heart and head where the sun rises, or sets”,  he says poetically, adding that “this record epitomizes my current musical motivations, dreams and wishes.”

Fresh, spacious and stylishly produced, tracks roll out with a fluid ease, encompassing funky swung beats, dub techno, cosmic expanse and gauzy lullabies. From the deep, dubbed-out hypnotism of ‘Window’, ‘Morrislouis’ and ‘Freiluft’, the playful bleepy shuffler ‘Tempelhof’,  through muscle-flexing pumper ‘Triggerism’  to  ambient  beauty ‘Geworden’, the results clearly show that this affirmative move for artistic wellbeing was wise.

Artwork for the album’s sleeve – which echoes the musician’s “funky use of shape and space, sludge and clarity” – is by contemporary artist and likeminded friend Albert Oehlen, with additional packaging by The Designers Republic.

Art and design have been important to Fehlmann for a long time. As a student at Hamburg’s Academy of Fine Arts, he studied in the orbit of artistic greats Joseph Beuys and Sigmar Polke.

After a crucial meeting with Conrad Schnitzler at the Academy in 1979, Thomas swapped art for music, joining forces with Holger Hiller to co-found vanguard post-punk band Palais Schaumburg.

Another fellow Schaumburg member was Moritz Von Oswald, and after the band split in 1984, the pair began working under the legendary 3MB moniker, alongside Detroit royalty Juan Atkins, Eddie ‘Flashin’ Fowlkes and Blake Baxter, releasing three albums on Tresor and the evergreen anthem ‘Jazz Is The Teacher’, with Atkins.

Fehlmann also recently instigated another Motor City match-up, this time with Terrence Dixon for the longplayer ‘We Take It From Here’, again on Tresor.

Further important and influential works arose from Fehlmann’s on-and-off 27 year tenure with The Orb, which included a key role in classics ‘Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’ and ‘U.F.Orb’, plus many more since.

Throughout his career, Fehlmann has sought a sonic and conceptual space – one that here is imagined in the waters of ‘Los Lagos’. On this he shares the following wisdom: “Does your inner musical voice respond? If it does then doors open in unexpected corners.  Rays of light appear, so you follow them, to your oasis.”

Track list:

A1/01: ‘Löwenzahnzimmer’
A2/02: ‘Window’
B1/03: ‘Morrislouis’
B2/04: ‘Tempelhof’ (feat. Max Loderbauer)
C1/05: ‘Freiluft’
C2/06: ‘Triggerism’
D1/07: ‘Neverevernever’
D2/08: ‘Geworden’

Gui Boratto – Forgive Me

Taken from forthcoming Gui Boratto LP ‘Pentagram’, out June 15, 2018. ‘Forgive Me’ is available now:… Pre-order ‘Pentagram’ here:…

Rainbow Arabia – L.A. Heartbreak LP

rainbow arabia.jpg

Arriving three years since their mesmerizing new age-tinted synth-pop offering ‘FM Sushi’, Rainbow Arabia’s third full-length album ‘LA Heartbreak’ wades through familiar neon waters but even more deliberately – keeping the focus on what distinguishes them from the sea of electronic pop acts out there – Danny Preston’s adventurously exquisite arrangements, sturdy songcraft, and Tiffany Preston’s potent vocal delivery.

‘LA Heartbreak”s dreamy, melodic machine pop takes cues from Tangerine Dream, OMD, Moroder, Jan Hammer – confidently painting with bolder strokes with leaner, brighter production and infectious hooks evoking 80s radio pop that skew more towards Madonna and Cyndi Lauper rather than darker post-punk influences referenced on Rainbow Arabia’s earlier albums.

Recorded at home in Los Angeles, ‘LA Heartbreak’ was born out of tumultuous time for the duo with lyrical themes waxing on failing relationships, mortality, and change. In the 3 years since their last record, the couple have been co-running the left-field leaning electronic label Time No Place, while slowly piecing together songs for LP #3 inspired by the diverse selection of electronic and dance music scenes in LA they are engrained in. However, after many arduous months of recording, further exacerbating the fracture in their musical partnership and marriage, that album was scrapped. They opted to instead start new and record something more direct and honest.

The resulting 9 songs on ‘LA Heartbreak’ benefit from the duo’s best instincts. By deciding to write and record the album quickly, a sense of immediacy shines within this vital collection of prismatic synth-pop.

Rainbow Arabia’s L.A. Heartbreak is out November 11th, 2016.

Modern Contemporary
Top Hat
Acid Pool
I’m Over You
Computerized Romance

The Orb – COW / Chill Out, World! LP


The duo known for their genre-bending curiosity and surprising sonic detours, that explore experimental soundscapes as well as club-friendly beats, legendary and celebrated ambient kingpins, The Orb, premiere their 16th album, “COW / Chill Out, World!” this week via The Vinyl Factory, offering the LP as a free stream before it’s release on Kompakt this Friday, October 14.

In support of the LP release, The Orb kick off the first leg of their North American tour on October 19, which sees them bringing their critically aclaimed live shows to both the east and west coasts. A performance The Times gives a four star review saying, “Less a ‘gig’, more of a happening with a sense of vast sonic irreverence.”

The duo comprised of accomplished soundsmiths Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann are also celebrating the 25th Anniversary of their seiminal debut album ‘Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld.” US audiences are in for a rare treat as they’ll perform their greatest hits and select songs from the forthcoming “Chill Out, World!’

Dates include NYC’s Webster Hall, Atlanta’s Variety Playhouse, and San Francisco’s Pier 70, where the duo close out their tour aboard the Ghost Ship Halloween event on 10/29 alongside co-headliners DJ Dan and Mutaytor.

Featuring only the occasional presence of buoyant, gently rhythmic pulses and loops, Alex Paterson describes COW as “Our most ambient album yet”. Sounds bubble, flutter and float through various atmospheres and moods, from bucolic and picturesque, childlike wonderment, the texture of bygone memories, to the universe’s infinite depth.

Pre-order here.

The Orb – COW / Chill Out, World! LP

the orb.jpg

On October 14th Kompakt present The Orb’s 16th album, COW / Chill Out, World!, which marks a creative renewal for the duo. It also features contributions from Youth and Roger Eno, and is encased in minimal ‘ambient cover art’ courtesy of The Designers Republic.

Despite apparently clear connotations to their history, influences and peers (like Alex Paterson’s uncredited role in the KLF’s ‘Chill Out’ album, or the cover cows of Pink Floyds ‘Atom Heart Mother’), the album’s title is actually an instruction, or at least a friendly suggestion. Whilst Alex calls it “a protest album in reverse”, Thomas Fehlmann further explains, “We didn’t intend to rehash old chill out vibes. On the contrary. It’s the 21st century and it seems like a good idea for people to sit back and chill the fuck out, before continuing to act destructively. To chill out is to act consciously, guided from a calm centre.”

Featuring only the occasional presence of buoyant, gently rhythmic pulses and loops, Alex Paterson describes COW as “Our most ambient album yet”. Sounds bubble, flutter and float through various atmospheres and moods, from bucolic and picturesque, childlike wonderment, the texture of bygone memories, to the universe’s infinite depth.

COW’s creation came together in different circumstances with a different working method to their last album. As ‘Moonbuilding 2703 AD’ was originally commissioned by the English National Opera, the duo immersed themselves in that new world and maintained a close, continuous dialogue with the opera’s orchestrator and technicians. The production fell through due to budget cuts and the recordings were then adapted for album format, hence its 6 year gestation period.

COW on the other hand, took just 6 months to make. One of main reasons for its speedy completion was Alex’s recording of sounds whilst touring the world, straight to Ableton, using his iPhone. Field recordings were easily captured, whilst the countless hours of ‘downtime’ travelling, or at sound-checks became valuable moments for spontaneous creative laptop productivity.

Fehlmann also sees the duo’s relentless live schedule as a formative influence. “The countless gigs we’ve played in recent years – probably up to 300 – have brought us closer as a musical unit. Our concerts consist mostly of non-verbal communication and improvisation – a fertile process that we’ve brought to the studio, where we operate with very simple rules of engagement (in this case ‘ambient’) and go wherever the flow takes us.” It’s an approach that one might expect from traditional acoustic instrumentation, not necessarily an electronic set-up, but for The Orb it works wonders. “We’re quite happy and a little bit proud that we’ve reached this level of unscripted levity with purely electronic means. We’re finessing ourselves, sort of, always looking for the next sonic surprise that leaves us rubbing our eyes about how the heck we got there.”

“COW / Chill Out, World! is an off the cuff, immediate album”, adds Thomas. “We produced it in the span of half a year, trusted our first instincts and allowed the ideas flow freely. We’ve gained self confidence in our continuous search for surprises, and in many ways it’s a naivety we’ve found again, that lets us treat each tune as if it were the first.”

To highlight Fehlmann’s point, the modern ambience of ‘4AM Exhale’ (Chill Out, World!) has an innocently optimistic mood, with distant fragmented soul samples also creating a warmly reassuring sense of nostalgia. A weightless J Dilla orbits from afar too, his influence like the flickering light from a distant star, on both this track and the subsequent ‘5th Dimensions’.

“Making the album became so natural for us that a track like ‘9 Elms Over River Eno (Channel 9)’ consisted only of material collected at North Carolina’s Moogfest in May – second-hand records from local stores, found sounds, live samples from gigs that we liked, and of course an excursion to the Eno river, which actually exists”, recalls Alex. “I discovered it on Google maps, whilst looking for somewhere to chill out. The name stood out, for orbvious reasons! This geographic intimacy and spontaneity are among the top reasons why we love this album.”

Paterson and Thomas’ ability to work in a simple, efficient and simpatico way was then used as a strong creative base upon which they added additional colouration by bringing occasional Orb member Youth on board, who then hooked the pair up with acclaimed composer Roger ‘Reverend’ Eno.

Laden with samples played backwards, a planet sized bass tone and piano, Eno’s first appearance is on The Satie-esque ‘Wireless MK2’ which is, Alex explains “a nod to my dad, who worked for Cable and Wireless and helped build the Telstar satellite”, whilst the track’s “jazzy trumpet” Paterson adds, “is a reference to the jazz bar in Fulham where my Mum and Dad met.”

Eno appears again on ‘The 10 Sultans Of Rudyard’ (Moo Moo Mix), which plays with familiar, ambient staples and new ‘post classical’ elements. Sounding refreshed but classic, innocent but deep and extemporaneous, but beautifully crafted, COW finds The Orb at their most stunning and transcendent peak to date.

Hunter/Game – Adaptation Remixe


Hunter/Game released their debut full length on Kompakt in February – an immersive collection that followed their two Resident Advisor chart topping singles released on Kompakt Extra (Speicher 83, Speicher 87). With previous releases on Innervisions, Diynamic, Last Night On Earth and their own imprint Just This, this Italian duo have proved to be a leading force of the underground.

We here at Kompakt love a good remix package and this is definitely one of the best we have put together in some time. Enjoy this well balanced meal served up by the elusive Redshape, Panorama Bar resident Nick Höppner, up and comers Woo York, Holland’s best kept secret Nuno Dos Santos and a special version of “Bermuda” by Hunter/Game.”

Video: Coma – Happiness


‘Happiness’ is taken from COMA’s second album ‘This Side Of Paradise’ which is out now via Kompakt. The single features fellow German singer/producer Marius Lauber, aka Roosevelt, on drums. Video directed by Lenny Rothenberg.

Video: Hunter/Game – Silver

hunter game

Known for dramatic dance tunes that previously found their way onto labels such as Innervisions, Last Night On Earth or global event brand / record imprint Just This, Italian duo Hunter/Game has evolved its sound into a uniquely expressive, yet subtly arranged variant of techno – music that confidently takes centre stage, but never puts the sonic means before its aesthetic goal.

It is said that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and indeed nothing could be more applicable to Adaptation where the duo presents a full-length exploration of a distinct sound cosmos, at once coy and bold, and with each cut focussing on yet another artfully executed twist supplementing the no-fuss, all-impact setting of beats, bass and synths.

As described by the artists themselves, “Silver is inspired by Icelandic landscapes, as we made this track with Fanned Osk from the band Kúra. The lyrics and mood are about December trees that live alone in a kind of desolate heaven, a different world. In this rough and desolated world an imaginary silver fox is walking alone into the desert territory with no other place to go…” (Self-Titled)

So we mainly used some live drums percussions samples, processed by delays and effects. The arpeggiator we recorded in Copenhagen with the Kúra guys from a Nord lead 4x they have in their studio. The result sounds kind of crazy and it was too far from the band’s sound so we agreed to use it for our album.” (FACT)

View the video for Silver here: