Compilation Review: Gregor Schwellenbach / ‘Spielt 20 Jahre Kompakt’ (Kompakt)

Spielt 20 Jahre Kompakt

★★★★☆

A daring orchestral, regressive vision remix project quite within its right to fly over heads, going beyond the conductor’s baton with rustic chamber house and solemnly threadbare instrumental pieces from the king’s quarters, a band of bewigged players and radicals upholding pomp and ceremony. Scholarly composer Schwellenbach strips back and time travels Kompakt favourites; if you’re not familiar with the source material, it’s an experience to imagine the angular German label taken back to days of yore or tracing its family tree with re-arrangements penned on parchment. Of course, it’s also an extension of the label finding new, gimmick-avoiding ways to rest on the ever prized cutting edge.

With a reputation for audiovisual theatre, wide open spaces let emotions run high from low. Schwellenbach alone with his piano can be a stirringly sparse spectacle, if you’re open minded enough to give these as-one scale-downs time to resonate. Closer Musik’s “Maria” and the pulsating “Departures,” Gui Boratto’s “No Turning Back,” Voigt & Voigt’s “Vision 03″ and Saschienne’s “La Somme” are among those prescribed darkened room solace. Out of the dramatically raw and acoustically taut, Schwellenbach’s attention to detail rouses an equally humbling, firefly mystique, with Jonas Bering’s “Melanie” telling of unrequited love.

Charming in opposition are the lo-fi house trundles playing at a bards-only disco; Oxia’s “Domino” even formulates an ornate euphoria, while Voigt & Voigt’s “Gong Audio” will leave raving playwrights and campanologists parched. A work of art unconcerned whether heads get it.

File under: Michael Mayer, Wolfgang Voigt, Gui Boratto

Matt Oliver