Oops. Kompakt, the world’s most talked-about electronic music label of the past few years, has finally jumped the shark. Did I say jumped? Let me rephrase that: Kompakt’s two biggest stars have formed a supergroup, dubbed themselves superheroes and taken a supershit on wax.
Superpitcher and Michael Mayer, the two Germans responsible for Save the World, are unlikely defecators. Superpitcher won his way into hipster hearts by remixing Dntel’s “(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan,” somehow making singer Ben Gibbard sound even more vulnerable than usual, while Mayer mixed Immer, which effortlessly married Mahler and microhouse. Mayer also oversees the distribution arm of Kompakt, helping to put more than 100 labels’ tunes in shops around the world.
So, what went wrong? As microhouse has grown bigger and Kompakt’s release schedule has quickened (including no fewer than five active sublabels), both have undoubtedly felt the heat to keep up. It probably doesn’t help that the two best albums released by the label this year are by a Brazilian and a Swede. (The former, Gui Boratto’s Chromophobia, sounds like it was made expressly to soundtrack a car commercial. The latter, the Field’s From Here We Go Sublime, sounds like the soundtrack to the documentary about that car being built.) Microhouse, a genre that Kompakt has risen alongside, is now the genre du jourfor DJs and producers. Which makes it weird that Supermayer, previously two of microhouse’s leading lights, would respond with an album full of synth flute-led soft rock (“The Lonesome King”), honest-to-god illbient (“Superbrane Transmission”), space-age lounge (“Cocktails for Two”) and that peculiar brand of electronic music that begs to be accompanied by a “Money for Nothing”–style animated video (“Us and Them”). Precious few hypnotic house tracks — the lush, romantic sound that the duo has cultivated via their remix work — appear at all.
Instead, burdened by an unnecessary concept and silly story line, Save the World sees the duo becoming “mature” “musicians” — a common story among electronic music genres before their demise. If only we had a couple of superheroes to save the day…
SUPERMAYER | Save the World | Kompakt