I like to believe that the reason Michael Mayer and Superpitcher decided to make a proper Supermayer full-length is because they hope to open the door to new possibilities for themselves and the rest of the label’s roster. Not that Kompakt needs a complete makeover; it still offers a good chunk of quality releases each year, but it’s sort of pigeonholed itself into a sound that is not nearly as innovative and influential as it was during its heyday earlier this decade.
But Mayer and Superpitcher — without a doubt the label’s most visible figures — have crafted an album that pushing the boundaries of contemporary minimal techno while retaining its essential elements. These two move out of their familiar realms and into a multidimensional whirlwind of genres, flavors, and instrumentation. Save the World‘s most uncharacteristic moments are its most memorable. “The Art of Letting Go” is the duo’s blatant attempt at writing a pop song (albeit with a techno influence). Featuring an organic live drum, driving bass line, complementary cowbell and a repeated vocal, the song is accessible and has an air of nostalgia. Even better is “Us and Them,” a hodgepodge of sounds and instruments, including trademark urgent bass, choral and vocodered vocals, skronking brass and chiming synths. The track is all over the musical map, never settling into a groove and pushing from one melodic high to the next. Even in the familiar minimal banger territory of “Please Sunrise,” a saxophone and spacey synth floating in and out of the mix add a layer of earthiness that leaves the track refreshingly warm.
Save the World won’t transform the techno landscape into one of unfettered experimentation and genre clashing. Those are impossible consequences for just one album. But it certainly has the capability to plant the seed of fresh discovery and inventive possibility.