Various Total 7

Now in its seventh instalment, the Total series has grown into a Kompakt end-of-summer institution, celebrating a year’s worth of techno in the same way that the Pop Ambient brings together the best of Kompakt’s ambient alter ego every winter. Over the past two years, Total has evolved into a two-disc set, mostly to accommodate the growing breadth of talent the label has on offer. Unlike Kompakt’s artist albums, this series is often the most concise way to keep up with the label’s biggest passions, which still appear first and foremost on singles. Mainstays like Jorg Burger, Michael Mayer, Jurgen Paape, Reinhard Voigt and Thomas Fehlmann still figure prominently, as do second-wave highlights like Justus Kohcnke, SCSI-9, Superpitcher, DJ Koze and the Wighnomy Bros. But the biggest difference between this year and past editions is the emergence of K2, the new singles series that has rejuvenated the label’s roster and opened up the label’s palate in new, exciting directions. Kompakt newcomers like Gui Boratto — who provides the collection’s highlight, "Arquipélago” — Hug, Steadycam and Robert Babicz (once better known as Rob Acid, for anyone keeping track) provide irrefutable proof that Kompakt will not rest on its laurels. This is a strong set that is more subtle than Total 6 and indicative of the label’s current tendency away from set-dominating anthems toward more textural experiments. (Kompakt)