Release Date: Oct 28, 2016
Record label: !K7
Genre(s): Electronic, House, Techno, Club/Dance, Experimental Techno, Ambient Techno, Minimal Techno, Tech-House
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 founders of Cologne’s Kompakt label have grown into their established characters: The silver-haired co-founder Wolfgang Voigt is the stern but affectionate paterfamilias. Reinhard Voigt, his younger brother, will forever be the excitable teen. Superpitcher, with his scarves and propensity for torch songs, is the dandy with Romantic leanings, prone to locking himself in his room with a copy of Baudelaire.
Michael Mayer, one of the individuals behind Cologne, Germany's esteemed techno label Kompakt, moved to Berlin-based !K7 (another German electronic music empire) for the release of his 2016 full-length, &. The album's dozen tracks are all collaborations with fellow techno producers as well as a few dance-friendly vocalists from the indie world. Mayer had never formally collaborated with most of these artists before (Superpitcher, whom Mayer teamed up with as SuperMayer in 2007, is nowhere to be seen on the track list), and they're all close friends of his -- this isn't a money-grabbing list of names plucked straight from a trendy blog.
Michael Mayer has described himself as a "hobby producer. " But while it's true that his music might not match his stature as a DJ or co-founder of Kompakt, it also doesn't sound like the dabbling of a dilettante. It's also true that much of the Cologne artist's best studio work has been collaborative, like the tracks with Tobias Thomas and Matias Aguayo that have cropped up on Kompakt's Total compilation series.
Michael Mayer '&' (Kompakt)There’s so much top-rank talent on this album, it could easily have been a complete disaster; too many cooks spoiling the broth, a ghastly showbiz-spectacular bit of back-slapping and farting about or just a hodge-podge with no clear identity. But then, this is Michael Mayer we’re talking about here: the Kompakt co-founder so rarely puts a foot wrong that our hopes were high, and they were met. Mayer has always had an ability to weave the richest dancefloor cheese into forms both experimental and emotional, and here he’s chosen exactly the right people to amplify different sides of his music.