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Various Artists: Total 8

The German techno label Kompakt has grown from very small to very big since launching its annual Total compilation series in 1999. The measures of size apply to the label's status as well as its sound: After the initial battle for minimalism in dance music was won and Kompakt started reigning over super-clubs across the world, many of its artists followed in kind with big, anthemic tracks that proved more expansive, but no less exacting. That's what plays on Total 8, a two-disc set of luscious techno that glimmers and throbs without threatening to fall apart or fade away. A few more excursions outside of Kompakt's safehouse would have been nice, but there's still a lot of progression to chart in highlights like Broke's "Cola Dancer" and Partial Arts' "Trauermusik," a bittersweet track whose sighs turn to swoons without signaling which one should stand as more lasting.


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