by Dave Segal
Michael Mayer is techno's tasteful tastemaker. As one-third owner of Cologne-based Kompakt Records, he wields extraordinary power in the electronic music biosphere. And although he has his detractors, most critics and the techno illuminati think Mayer is a positive force. As a DJ-producer, he avoids technical flamboyance and stresses his selections' inherent quality, which remains consistently high. And while 2002's Immer mix showcased his deft touch with warm, bubbly minimally techno and cushiony microhouse, it also proved that Mayer wants to move crowds both physically and emotionally, which he did with alluring melodies and percolating rhythms. Labored on for more than a year, Immer 2 embodies the paradox of intimate, big-room techno. It possesses a graceful stylistic arc, starting with Basic Channel-like thrumming intensity before shifting into quirky, extroverted mode, deviating into an exhilarating cosmic-disco segment, detouring into morose, melodic house, and swerving into euphorically suspenseful tech-house, finally concluding with the SuperMayer (Mayer plus Superpitcher) remix of Geiger's avant-trance epic "Good Evening." Aiming for timelessness rather than timeliness, Mayer hits the sonic sweet spot every time.
Dave Segal writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.