Various Artists

Total 4

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Kompakt has grown in more ways than one since they released their first 12" in late 1998. Not only have they avoided painting themselves into a corner by cultivating a steadily developing roster of unpredictable producers that switches pitch from release to release, but they have also nuzzled up nice and close to dance-pop, slowly seducing the form with a number of delightful tracks that have incorporated pop arrangements and sweet melodies. Now that the label has the Pop Ambient series for their amnioscopy soundtracks, more space on the annual Total compilations is left for their unique and increasingly emulated spins on dance-pop and experimental techno. To its credit, Total 4 features more song-based material than any of the preceding Kompakt collections. Jurgen Paape's "Mit Dir" is a fluttery confection with elegant female vocals that sound as if they were taken from a decades-old radio program; M. Mayer's "Falling Hands" is a smeary shoegaze-house mongrel that could've been mixed by Alan Moulder; Schaeben & Voss' "The World Is Crazy 2" is a flapping rumble of a squelch-house track that's a wobble or two short of being a Pantytec ripoff; Superpitcher's cover of Brian Eno's "Baby's on Fire" is disappointingly polite synth pop; Autobianchi's "All Around (Everybody's Kissing)" is so contemporary and accessible that it should've put the producer/vocalist duo on Top of the Pops. As for the tracks without vocals, Thomas Fehlmann, Jonas Bering, and Voigt & Voigt kick in with brilliant, beat-driven, dubby tech tracks that pick up where Chain Reaction and M left off. To put a cap on it all, Closer Musik closes off the disc with "Maria," another achingly glowing instrumental. [The double vinyl version has four less tracks; Schaeben & Voss' and Fehlmann's are different -- and less spectacular -- than the ones on the CD.]

blue highlight denotes track pick