VA: Speicher 3

Kompakt's Speicher and Total collections usually include at least a few jewels of perfection, tunes that startle with imagination, bold ideas, and unexpected twists, but the third Speicher volume includes no such thing. As usual, the fifteen tracks comprising this prototypically hefty collection (78 minutes) are drawn from previously-issued Speicher 12-inch singles and, while most are decent enough, there's not a single one that's spectacular, making Speicher 3 a merely serviceable collection.

The opening four tell the tale: DJ Koze's (Stefan Kozalla) inaugurating “Na Cha Cha” contentedly grinds and rumbles, with the repeated query “Do you hear that?” the nicest thing about it; Swiss native Davidovitch unpacks his construction tools for his bass-driven house cut “Cellophane,” with drills whirring on and off and keyboards chattering; Superpitcher's (Aksel Schaufler) strutting handclapper “Enzian” weighs in with a locomotive chug and an acidy kick; and Stardiver's ( Jörg Burger aka The Modernist) “ Another Moment of Silence” presents two-toned trance dizziness spiked by burbling keyboards and chugging beats—all good enough but nothing genre-redefining. One might have expected the Michael Mayer and Reinhard Voigt workout “Transparenza” to hit a higher mark but its mix of rubbery bass lines and clickety chug doesn't signify a huge advance (though its WWII sirens are ear-catching). Motiivi:Tuntematon's (Antti Koivisto, Veikka Erkola, T.A. Kaukolampi) blustery nine-minute doomscape “Mankind Failed” attempts to close the album in epic style but Kompakt's beat artistry gets lost along the way; the trio has slightly better luck with the stomper “I Don't Feel Good When You're Not Around” whose emotive title plea is undercut by a vocodered delivery. John Dahlback's “Wet Summer” is the least enthralling cut, specifically on account of spacey and dental drill synth noises that sound more cheesy than wet.

Some tracks do stand out: “Status Now,” a snappy, synth-sputtering banger by Misc. (Christopher Bleckmann and Hannes Wenner); Jürgen Paape's swinging tech-house banger “Fruity Loops 2”; and, best of all, Tom Pooks' (Frenchman Christophe Gimenez): “Pablo Assans” whose swinging pulse grows more insistent with off-beat hi-hats and whose high energy and spirit brings back memories of past Kompakt glories; furthermore, its flaming climax is especially welcome when heard amidst the other, too well-behaved cuts. A final tally of three above-average tracks isn't something to get too excited about, however. Here's hoping the upcoming Total 8 will shift the balance.

July 2007