Michael Mayer - Immer
Celebrating Immer, a pivotal compilation from Michael Mayer
Released in 2002, this is a compilation that proved pivotal in my evolving taste in music. I'm happy to admit that up until around that period my interests were largely reflected in what John Peel was playing on his radio shows — thanks to him, over the years I discovered all sorts of groundbreaking music, from Dub and Reggae to indie guitar bands to African music to Techno and House. An avid listener since the early nineties, I wasn't always keen on the "dance music" he played but I can see now that the regular exposure had its effect, repetitive beats creeping into my conscious. Up to that period, I was enjoying genres like Post Rock, IDM and electronic music in general; bands like Plaid, Boards of Canada, Kid Loco, Stereolab and DJ Food. The music on Immer was a different prospect though; a mix of largely instrumental tracks presented over the length of a full album. This was Dub Techno.
Years before, I remember buying two album length mixes: DJ Food's Now Listen! from 2001 and Kid Loco's DJ-Kicks mix from 1999, both amazing selections in their own right but not pivotal in the same way. What brings Immer its critical status is down to the type of music that was being mixed. While DJ Food and Kid Loco mixed a range of tracks that included everything from Rap to Pop to IDM, Immer focused on this stripped-back, melodic music we now appreciate as Techno. Beginning with the glitchy ambience of Auch's Tomorrow Goodbye and the hypnotic rhythms of Audision, we soon find ourselves immersed in deep dubby vibes from M. Rahn, Stargazer, Thomas Fehlmann and Phon.o — a vibe that defines the whole album, even though plenty of contrast can be found elsewhere. For instance, the drowsy sounding "You drive me crazy" refrain sits perfectly atop the dubby rhythm of Rocket No.3 by A Rocket in Dub while the orchestral section at the beginning of album highlight Perfect Lovers (Unperfect Love mix) by Phantom/Ghost still surprises me as it unexpectedly breaks the flow. It's not all Dub either, there are subtle variations of tempo too, particularly in the last few tracks as we move into the realm of proper Techno, with more insistent kick drums prevailing.
- Auch - Tomorrow Goodbye (Farben Remix) (3:36)
- Audision - Gamma Limit (5:49)
- A Rocket in Dub - Rocket No. 3 (5:48)
- M. Rahn - Toaster (5:30)
- Carsten Jost - Krokus (Superpitcher Remix) (6:13)
- Stargazer - Deeper (Ewan Pearson Ping Pong Beats) (3:55)
- Phon.o - Palersam the Cat (4:01)
- Thomas Fehlmann - Gratis (5:10)
- Akufen - Psychometry Vol. 3.0 (4:32)
- Phantom/Ghost - Perfect Lovers (Unperfect Love Mix by Tobias Thomas & Superpitcher) (9:24)
- Selway - Flying Far (5:47)
- Paul Nazca - Surface (5:52)
- Frank Martiniq - Adriano (M. Mayer Remix) (5:56)
As a sequence of thirteen tracks Immer doesn't follow a natural arc, instead it's like the opening fragment of a much larger set, the warm-up part, which has been my preference when it comes mixes, especially in terms of how I consume and use music. Not just perfect background music to a dinner party but the ideal aid to concentration while working on a computer all day. This was the direction I was heading in at that time. Joining the dots, it's fitting that this change in my musical outlook converged with a major change in my work life — I was transitioning from full-time artist (returning to University for a year) to full-time web designer. My prospects at the time seemed brighter, more prosperous, as this thrilling new world of music was opening up to me. Many more amazing instrumental mixes followed in the years thereafter, including two more Immer selections. I also started my monthly fabric subscription in late 2002 based on the mixes by Howie B and Radioactive Man. What a time to be venturing into the realms of "dance music"!