Like the label he co-owns, Michael Mayer is a trusty workhorse. In between the A&Ring, dancefloor edutainment and just all-round visionary enterprise, somehow ( just somehow) he’s managed to squeeze out his sophomore LP.
While 2004’s ‘Touch’ is an LP he rustled up in a matter of weeks, ‘Mantasy’ is a much more considered affair, a patchwork of the numerous technoinformed influences that has taken eight years to put together. Drawing upon the aesthetic touch points that define the Kompakt staple, Mayer imbues the 4/4 formula with a sleek, steely musicality throughout without forgetting its quirky pop sensibility.
Opener ‘Sully’ might exercise Mayer’s ambient propensity but ‘Lamusetwa’ doesn’t faff about, flagging up an epic film score circa 1940 with reinforced beats. ‘Wrong Lap’ could be the sinewy, dark matter disco of production partner Superpitcher, highlighting the characterising influence the Mayer suffix has on the Supermayer moniker. That floating, progressive touch regularly on the annual ‘Total’ compilations returns with the growling 303 arpeggio of the title track, while Mayer’s ulterior fascination with broken beats shines through once again on ‘Roses’.
There is even the obligatory dose of absurdity on ‘Rudi Was A Punk’, which sounds like the Nuns On The Run brass of Yello’s ‘Hawaiian Chance’ played in an eerie, half-remembered New Orleans jazz bar. The pick, however, is the chugging electro-punk of ‘Neue Furche’.
Much like the ‘Total’ series, ‘Mantasy’ is a mix bag. What it lacks in direction, it makes up with box-ticking diversity. Representing the sum of all the label’s split personalities - including the rousing microhouse of closer ‘Good Times’ - it should be listened to more as a celebratory catalogue than a seamless concept LP; a worthy precursor to next year’s ‘Twenty Years Of...’
Words by ADAM SAVILLE