Kompakt Extra began life at the turn of the millennia as an offspring of the legendary Cologne based label in order to provide honed-down pieces cut strictly for the dancefloor. In that sense, the name of its predominant series - 'Speicher,' or 'Warehouse' is fitting. Whilst its fair to say that Extra's output has become increasingly insular since 2007, the latest Extra release, Speicher 72, evidences a break from the label's usual roster in favour of an unusual pairing.
First up on side A is manager of Berlin’s Ostgut Ton, Nick Höppner. In ‘Ipso Facto’ Höppner demonstrates the ear for both groove and narrative that he consistently displays within his sporadic discography and DJ mixes. If you feel like getting a taste of Höppner’s style, I’d recommend checking out his entry in the Panorama Bar mix series. The mix is over an hour of sprawling, luscious and esoteric house sounds infused with the inimitable flavor of the famous Berlin club. Whilst much of the Ostgut-related limelight may often fall upon Techno posterboys and Berghain residents Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock, Höppner deserves ample praise for his considered, intelligent take on dance music that never strays too far from the underground.
Much like in his recent release for Echocord Colour, Höppner on ‘Ipso Facto’ seeks to explore slightly darker territory. Like a ship lost at sea, Höppner’s bassline bobs rhythmically across the surface. As the track progresses, the threat of sinking under becomes reality – periodic alarms signal across a wide, reverberating expanse of percussive darkness. By the close, everything falls in upon itself as the immeasurable depths consume everything.
Flipping over, Goan-cum-Glaswegian Auntie Flo takes Speicher 72 way above sea level and out of the darkness towards warmer climes. In ‘Sun Ritual,’ Flo moulds a palette of rattling Aztecan drums that march ceaselessly against the searing heat of the sun as glockenspiels tinker a ceremonial melody. The contrast against Höppner’s track is clever and unmistakable – working to great effect. ‘Sun Ritual’ is a fabulous example of rich, unorthodox house music that would operate brilliantly on the dancefloor as a means of signaling a transition from deeper warm-up material to more direct and purposeful terrain.
On paper, the pairing of Höppner and Flo for this release shouldn’t work, yet upon listening it really, really does. Interestingly the record offers two contrastingly different shades – Auntie Flo the light, Höppner the dark. Should they continue in this vein, Kompakt Extra will be on to a winner, offering dancefloor-ready tracks that remain unswervingly true to Kompakt’s aesthetic objectives.
You can cop Speicher 72 at Juno now.