Kompakt is a Cologne-based electronic music independent record label and vinyl/CD distributor, owned by Wolfgang Voigt, Michael Mayer and Jürgen Paape. They specialize in microhouse and minimal techno, and are known for their Total compilation series which reached its fifteenth installment in 2015.
Kompakt originated from a techno record store that was opened in Cologne in 1993 (under the name "Delirium" ) by Wolfgang Voigt, Reinhard Voigt, Jörg Burger and Jürgen Paape, who were soon joined by Michael Mayer. Kompakt itself was formally founded in 1998, combining several existing labels, the record store and distributor and also event organizing activities.
According to Grooves magazine, "Kompakt's chief aesthetic objective has always been the perfect marriage of ambient texture and linear 4x4 structure—blending deep, granular sound design with the 4-bar rhythmic intensity and patterning that makes house and techno so club-effective". Kompakt has been noted for releases enriching abstract techno tracks with pop elements such as vocals - Mayer has stated that "We grew up with pop music and really like traces of pop in techno music. This is probably Kompakt's biggest strength-- that we can detect these pop traces and give them a home".
British music critic Simon Reynolds has characterized Kompakt as the "label that's contributed more than any other to Germany's dominance of electronic dance music this decade [the 2000s]".
Notable producers of the label include Superpitcher, Michael Mayer, Justus Köhncke and Gui Boratto. In recent years, Kompakt has been better known for bringing a trance sound into minimal techno.
Techno and electronic artists, such as The Orb, Thomas Fehlmann, The Field, Jonas Bering, Aril Brikha and others have released material on Kompakt.
Kompakt also runs an online music store with a weekly newsletter, providing a large amount of techno and other electronic forms and through mailorder. The label used to run its own digital download store at kompakt-mp3.net, which according to Mayer was "[one of the first] techno mp3 shops online", but it was not financially successful and was shut down after three years in late 2008. The company had 16 employees in 2009.
The Kompakt offices and record store appear in Amy Grill's 2009 documentary Speaking In Code which features interviews with founder Wolfgang Voigt and co-owner Michael Mayer.
Kompakt is a discontinued cut-down version of Native Instruments' Kontakt software sampler.
It features a large sample library containing samples of a range of acoustic and electronic instruments, and a number of performance controls. It also allows the user's own patches to be created and samples mapped across the keyboard using a basic drag-and-drop technique, however there is no capability for editing patches - as such Kompakt is best-suited as a performance instrument for playing predefined sample libraries. Kompakt is not compatible with Intel Macs.