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Michael Mayer: Mantasy (Kompakt)

Michael Mayer is a slippery one. He’s been running the Kompakt label alongside Wolfgang Voigt and Jürgen Paape since the mid 90s, and yet despite being a stellar DJ and curator, he’s only released one full-length album (Touch, in 2005) and a handful of singles. And the album sounds very little like the singles, none of which sound especially similar to one another. However, despite all of the variety, usually Mayer’s ear is on point for hooks and production. Mantasy somehow feels more expected given the direction Kompakt’s taken in the last several years, and this is by no means criticism. It feels like the natural nexus of current Kompakt sounds up against Mayer’s own sensibilities. Touch perhaps sounds better to my ears now than it did at the time — it was by no means bad, but I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed after the fantastic EPs that preceded it — but Mantasy seems just right for now. Many of these tracks take their times — opener “Sully” is a gorgeous intro, while “Baumhaus” never even drops a beat at all — and so it manages to feel like an album without being boring, and is mostly still quite good as dance music. The double-feature of “Mantasy” and “Roses” in the center of the album is the best combo of dance tracks to be found here, but I also like the jaunty broken beat of “Lamusetwa” and the vaguely Neue Deutsche Welle double-time of “Rudi Was a Punk” (complete with baritone saxophone toots!). The album no by means pigeonholes Mayer, and in fact he’s just as unpredictable as ever, but the album also just feels so right for Kompakt in 2012.

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