The heavy hitters celebrated on Kompakt's Total 8 don't eclipse bright entries from the underexposed. Winners from a lesser-discussed bunch, along with Rex the Dog, Jürgen Paape, and DJ Koze, compile another worthwhile collection of techno from the revered German label. Two discs dutifully serve a handful of purposes. There's a year's worth of output from Kompakt highlighted, some cherished vinyl-only tracks gone digital, and a quick look at what's around the bend.
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Ewan Pearson and Al Usher's "Trauermusik," released in early 2007 under their Partial Arts moniker, is one of Total 8's most spellbinding contributions. Early gunshot percussion gives way to a lovely melody supported by a symphony of glassy plinks and occasional cellos. A glimpse at the odd Supermayer LP is shown too much sun on a Geiger remix (he swaps the original's grim Edward Scissorhands-esque chimes and muddied loops for housey synths). But France's Oxia wraps the second disc in hard, buzzing trance riffs and crafty atmospherics with his "Not Sure," except there's nothing vague about Kompakt's underreported cast members. They impress as frequently as the in-crowd does.