?Save the World? is the latest episode of Kompakt?s ongoing quest for the perfect techno album. Not satisfied with releasing an endless run of smashing 12?s (most notably the Speicher series), Kompakt artists like Thomas Fehlmann, Justus K?hncke, The Modernist or DJ Koze have always shown a tendency to crack the longplay format. Longplay format as in album, not compilation. Metamorphosis or at least adaptation included.
Kompakt cd #32 brought a particularly daring foray into non-techno territory. Superpitcher?s ?Here Comes Love? was a pop album. Superpitcher discovered his voice and tracks like ?Sad Boys?, ?Love me forever?, ?Fever? or ?Even Angels? had enough Schmalz to work as melancholic disco stompers ? but also as ironic proof that here was somebody who tried to capture a ship he was never supposed to set foot on. Shortly afterwards, Michael Mayer?s ?Touch? album also used colourful pop references but, with tracks like ?Neue Luthersche Fraktur?, kept closer to Kompakt?s trademark techno minimalism.
The latest collaborative effort of Superpitcher and Michael Mayer, Supermayer, tries particularly hard to be an album: That?s why it?s a concept album. So hard, in fact, that it uses irony to make up for it: That?s why it?s a concept album about superheroes. Track titles include ?Superbrain Transmission?, ?Planet of the Sick?, ?Psychoprogs Attack!? and ?Saturndays? (sic! You think this is hilarious? I don?t). For people who believe that Schwarzenegger was already ironic in ?Total Recall? (which he was), Supermayer?s overdone ironies are unbearable.
The music is great, though, and maybe it wouldn?t be so delightful if the artists hadn?t enjoyed themselves so obviously. A truly laidback bass in ?The Art of Letting Go? accompanies the mumbled order to ?relax?, and this pretty much sets the tone for a record that is easily Kompakt?s most playful release to date. Trumpet, saxophone, acoustic guitar, melodica and flute are among the instruments used to imbue this ambitious techno album with elements of reggae and indie pop. A track like ?The Lonesome King? is a melancholy indie pop song and definitely not your standard Kompakt fare. The album?s highlights are elsewhere tough: ?Us and Them? sports some percussive extravaganza and a trumpet line that?s hard to forget, ?Please Sunshine? is a majestic piece in which an occasional trumpet helps to blend the best aspects of techno and ambient, the elegant shuffles of ?Planet of the Sick? and finally ?Two of Us? (also released as a 12? ep but featured in an extended version here) which unleashes a dancefloor monster in a nineties manner only to dribble some glockenspiel over the wavering mess ? from here it isn?t far to Goblin?s ?Suspiria?.
Sure, ?Save the World? is not as groundbreaking as the recent Echospace album but worth getting anyway. Not for the humour and the pointless interludes but for some of the best Cologne techno in quite a while. 7/10 -- Jan-Arne Sohns (26 September, 2007)