SUPERMAYER: Save The World (Kompakt)


Posted on Sep 26th 2007 12:22 pm

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Supermayer: Save The World

Save The World
Kompakt 2007
13 Tracks. 63mins12secs

Despite its stark minimalist aesthetic, there’s no denying the underlying sense of humor pervading Kompakt releases. Founded by veterans of the Cologne techno scene, its playful song titles, singsong melodies, and oft-eccentric samples suggest that with age comes an almost child-like compositional approach. Additionally, The Orb, the patron saints of techno absurdity, have a slough of characteristically silly releases on Kompakt. The Orb’s eclecticism, infatuation with dub, and willingness to throw out genre boundaries are a likely reference point for the risk-taking and consistently rewarding Save The World.

Before discussing the music, it’s important to discuss the eye-drawing cover art. The comic book-style cover depicts the two “heroes”, Superpitcher (Aksel Schaufler on his tax forms) and Michael Mayer, in full costumed garb and a space-like setting, with the title encircling a distant planet. It’s a far cry from the dots, blank space, and angular fonts that compose the liners for Kompakt’s Total series. It’s a telling foreshadow, as the sound of Save The World is far removed from minimalism. This is, as the title suggests, a concept album, in the vein of its clear prog rock influences. Complete with interludes, krautrock-inspired jams, and even a semblance of a plot, World is markedly distant from the normal “collection of tracks” style techno album.

After a calamitous intro collage (Hey), Save The World lays a framework with The Art of Letting Go. Immediately noticeable are the full, unclipped, acoustic sampled drums. For most of the album, Supermayer ditch the sparse, over compressed, driving percussion that normally populates their respective solo releases, in favor of a more live and melody-driven sound. The Art Of Letting Go features numerous hallmarks of seventies pop music – funky slap bass, faux-skank guitar, and even horn stabs which sound like they’ve been lifted straight out of War’s L.A. classic Low Rider. Superpitcher’s solo cover of Brian Eno’s glam nightmare Baby’s On Fire is a clear antecedent to this kind of style-mashing. Supermayer do not, however, completely abandon their roots – the song is occasionally overcome by a steady crescendo of reverberated shouts and synths. Think George Clinton jamming with Lee Perry, Sting, and… Michael Mayer and Superpitcher.

Despite blazing a trail firmly off the beaten path, Save The World, still finds room to feature some classic pieces of Kompakt techno on tracks like Saturndays and Planet Of The Sick, though, even the latter features a seductive, pitch-shifted vocal chant amidst its filter sweeps and kick pounds. Dub is another omnipresent specter here, as tracks are frequently punctuated by heavily delayed, distorted, or otherwise processed sound objects. Single Two Of Us, appearing here in a glorious, 10-minute album cut, runs through chimes, bubbly synths, clicks, acidic squelch and flowing pads, each like a separate chapter, or at least different musician in a rather large band.

With Save The World, Supermayer have created a wonderous pastiche of electronic dance music, past and present. From disco to krautrock to techno and beyond, the group has made a concept album, where the concept might as well be how excellent and truly catholic Supermayer are in their influences and compositions. In a year that has seen a number of high-profile Kompakt releases (The Field’s lush From Here We Go Sublime, Total 8), Save The World is the most adventurous, and, perhaps, the best.


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