Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The 11th yearly label showcase from Cologne dance-music giant Kompakt could have been called Kompakt Keeps Up. If a theme runs through these 26 selections (a double CD, as every Total has been since the sixth entry), it’s that the label, having passed its decade mark, hasn’t lost its sense of adventure. It’s no accident that Total 11 leads off with a cut by DJ Koze: Much of what follows takes that mad scientist’s go-anywhere sensibility to heart. The result is the most bent Total ever, particularly cuts like Sog’s odd, enchanting xylophone showpiece “Silbereisen” (follow the bouncing ball… just a little further over), Sebastien Bouchet’s “St. Anne” (starts as a fuzzed-up percussion jam, finishes in a flipped-out parade of sirens), and Soulphiction’s remix of Thomas Fehlman’s “Wasser Im Fluss,” an inspired pairing of minimal-techno synth fog and blaxploitation-soundtrack slow-mo wah-wah guitar. There’s no shortage of more straightforward house and techno, which make up much of the second half. Whatever their purpose, everyone here sounds like they’re having a great time.


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