“It always comes and goes in waves,” says Michael Mayer of Kompakt’s tendency to oscillate between anthemic techno and more esoteric electronic pop. “It’s nothing we intentionally plan, like, ‘Let’s stop releasing dance tracks.’ It goes in circles. Every two years, for instance, there would be the Field and Gui Boratto with new albums at the same time. In the years between there would be GusGus, say. It always goes in the circles of an artist’s life, and the label is following that natural rhythm without pushing anyone to deliver an album that doesn’t feel ready. There are more ambient and more experimental times, and sometimes it gets more pop.”
Coma’s In Technicolor, then, is the perfect album to commemorate the label’s 20th-anniversary celebrations, given the way that it neatly joins the two principal facets of the imprint’s bipolar personality. (“We don’t necessarily like listening to purist techno albums,” note the artists in a press release, “so we decided to do a pop album about club culture instead.”) Strobing, chord-heavy tracks like “Cycle” and “T.E.D.” testify to the Cologne duo’s reputation as a live powerhouse, while “Missing Piece” and “Les Dilettantes” borrow from Hot Chip’s winking playbook. Along the way, there are nods to Alexander Robotnick and Suicide as well as labelmates like Superpitcher and Gui Boratto; “My Orbit” and “The Great Escape” sound like the Field remixing M83, while “maximal MINIMAL” dusts off a woozy Schaffel groove — the shuffling, T. Rex-inspired rhythm without which no Kompakt album would be complete.
In Technicolor is out now; listen to the album in full below.