Spielt 20 Jahre Kompakt


Deluxe double LP version in hardbound packaging. Includes a CD of the album and a music book with piano scores for solo pieces and full scores for ensemble pieces. From the borderlands between faux pop and cheerful science comes Cologne's multi-instrumentalist Gregor Schwellenbach, who separated 20 label classics from their dance roots and re-recorded them as chamber music. The sophisticated arrangements, which the studied composer Gregor Schwellenbach writes for everything, have been primarily adorning the landscapes of theater, film, radio and television so far. Now, the master of over a thousand instruments has submitted his pop-experimental expertise for Kompakt's back-catalog, radically shifting up some of the numerous evergreens hiding in there. Not only aficionados of musical synthesis are likely to rub their ears in wonder, when internationally-celebrated techno bangers like Voigt & Voigt's "Vision 03" or Mayer/Voigt's "Less Than Zero" suddenly beguile the frequency spectrum as beatless, melancholic piano miniatures. The multi-talented musician also gets help from other, equally adept artists, who put their personality and virtuosity in the service of the unusual task at hand: with flutist Dorothee Oberlinger, a veritable star of the classical music scene enters the stage, but also guitarist Christian Buck or harpist Jane Berthe are well recognized in their respective fields, normally performing the likes of Steve Reich and Claude Debussy to a delighted audience. The instruments used in the recordings happen to be stars, too: for example, there's a rare GDR-built keyboard called "Weltmeister Basset" that contributes to a re-arranged "Everlasting" from Kaito, an old studio harmonium whose hypnotic whisper can be heard on Closer Musik's revamped "On Two Three (No Gravity)," or the epic "Kyai Sangu" used for Voigt & Voigt's "Gong Audio," a Gamelan orchestra found at Cologne's Rautenstrauch-Joest museum. Usually, Kompakt's weapon of choice is the straight bass drum, with its minimalist beauty fueling their dialectics. But they never wanted to become strict guardians of an imagined holy grail, a fact clearly recognized by Gregor, who gives a new voice to each of the selected tracks, in order to be able to tell new stories. With surprisingly rephrased acoustic versions of seminal tracks like Jürgen Paape's "Triumph" (for prepared piano), Justus Köhncke's "Was Ist Musik" (for string quartet), or Closer Musik's "Maria" (for piano), the artist makes some pretty bold assertions while managing to retain the core of the experience -- the melody, the hook, the feeling -- while making it shine in new splendor