Various Artists


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Out of the initial dozen CD offerings from Cologne's Kompakt label, Schaffelfieber is the least accessible; most of it comes off as a release better suited for the more complex and quite brainy Profan imprint. One of Wolfgang Voigt's two contributions -- as M:I:5 in this particular case -- even originated on the label. The 12 tracks collected here generally have little of the warmth and melody of the other Kompakt compilations, like the Total series or even Pop Ambient 2001. So it's no small coincidence that only a quarter of the tracks were originally released on Kompakt proper. Freiland's "Rot" (Freiland) is merely a consistent throb and some parched FX that bobs, weaves, and scrapes; Eight Miles High's "In This Place" (Klang Elektronik) is even tougher to get into, thanks to persistent pig oinks; and Christian Morgenstern's bristly "Gem Club Pt. 1" (Kanzleramt) uncoils a nasty, buzzing, oppressive, and snake-like anti-groove. If those don't sound too appetizing, they're a feast compared to Electronicat's "Shuffle Tiiiime" (Noise Museum), which features a sharp buzz as the foreground and some piercing frequencies that also figure prominently. As for the strictly home-team offerings, Superpitcher, T. Raumschmiere, and Sascha Funke contribute with decent tracks. Superpitcher's "Softmachine" is the least abrasive; however, if it weren't for some warm keyboard tones, the track wouldn't be all that much different from its company. Altogether, it's not as if Schaffelfieber is completely alienating; it might not be all that inviting, but it still makes for an interesting listen, if not nearly on par with the remainder of Kompakt products. Somewhat thankfully, it's not a showcase for Kompakt proper.

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