Michael Mayer &

Michael Mayer &
8
With well over a hundred remixes to his name, Michael Mayer is no stranger to uniting his artistic vision with the work of others. For &, his third full-length, the Kompakt co-owner takes this synergistic approach a step further, writing music with other artists from the ground up as opposed to attacking an already finished track, and the results are excellent.
 
Working with a different artist on each track, Mayer has delivered an album that manages to be both varied and unified, a goal (collaborative or not) that is all too infrequently achieved. The commonalities here are a certain warmth and reliance on organic string and woodwind textures throughout, but the mood changes drastically with every collaborator, often to cinematic effect. 
 
His track with Kölsch conjures images of a sports car winding its way along an Italian cliff side, for instance, en route to various feats of espionage. The tribal-sounding woodwinds of "Disco Dancers" (with Burger/Voigt & Voigt) are an unexpected pleasure also, bursting the album open with panoramic grandeur early on.
 
Mayer keeps a tight hold on things throughout, releasing the album's pleasures with a mature restraint befitting of a label head well used to evaluating and sifting through the work of others — it's obvious he has a consummate ear for quality and potential. Listeners who share these sensibilities should be all over this release. (!K7)