The Compilation Series

Top Of The Clubs, Sunset Chill, Kontor Sports

By Kontor Records

Even if the industry cliché that the compilation is the album of the dance scene is not true for Kontor Records in view of the longplay successes of its own acts such as Scooter, ATB, DJ Antoine, the Atzen or Gestört aber GeiL, the various couplings that the label has released almost from the beginning have decisively shaped the image, the brand and not least also the chart balance of the Hamburg-based company. In the forefront is of course "Kontor Top Of The Clubs", as it were the mother of all Kontor compilations. Since 1998, a new installment of the lavishly and lovingly designed series has been released every three months and has become a real collector's item, of which fans all over the world never want to miss an issue.

Top Of The Clubs Collage by KontorKontor Records

"25 years of Kontor Records means 23 years of 'Kontor Top Of The Clubs,'" recalls Markus Gardeweg, A&R manager from the very beginning at Kontor Records and co-responsible for the track selection together with changing guest DJs since the first episode of the compilation. "In the meantime, we have released the 90th episode, and number 91 is ready in the starting blocks. I am incredibly proud and grateful to be part of it since episode one. Everything that has rank and name in the international dance scene was already represented with tracks - and often we have also born hits here." Time and again, songs that were first released here later found their way into the Top 10 of the international charts, as Gardeweg knows: "Who doesn't remember DJ Antoine with 'Welcome To St. Tropez' - an international superhit that got its start through 'Kontor Top Of The Clubs'?"

This often involved the idea of relying not only on well-known DJs, but also on the brand power of the clubs, which in those years were becoming larger and increasingly well-known. This was also true of Hamburg's Club Kontor, the namesake and nucleus of the label of the same name, which Jens Thele and Scooter's H.P. Baxxter launched as partners in 1996. The compilation series "Kontor Top Of The Clubs" brought to CD by the club has gradually adapted to the times over the years (so the coupling in the still offered physical form grew from a double CD to a 4-CD box), but the principle of brand new tracks mixed especially for the series has been retained by the series to this day, with the fourth CD most recently containing a selection with unmixed versions of the tracks as a special service.

Kontor: Top Of The Clubs (Vol.1) (TV SPOT)

The beginnings of the series, in turn, picked up on new market developments in the dance scene at the time. Compilations with hits or song compilations on various themes have been around almost as long as the record itself (and with the introduction of the CD, this type of release reached a new level), but with the techno and house revolution at the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s, something new was happening. For DJs began to distribute, initially in the underground and on music cassettes, their recorded DJ sets from the clubs. This trend of putting out an entire DJ set with intermingled, edited and sometimes sound-engineered tracks instead of the individual titles known from the charts also found its way to the labels, which then developed a whole series of dance couplings with just this approach in the 90s.

Our mini mixes have enjoyed great popularity for years and reach millions of fans. 

Each episode of "Kontor Top Of The Clubs", which has of course long been available as a download and stream, currently features around 70 tracks, the selection of which reflects the label philosophy of Kontor Records. In addition to underground electronic tracks, "Kontor Top Of The Clubs" also offers poppy dance numbers (or dancy pop numbers), and hip-hop beats have long since become an integral part of the series, which has thus become a unique document over the decades: anyone who takes the time to listen to all the episodes chronologically will get a fascinating overview of the historical development of the international and national dance scene in all its diversity and stylistic developments - peppered, of course, with all the big hits that the genre has produced over the decades.

In addition, the inclined collector will notice that each episode comes up with an individual design and later an always different color - a merit not least of the long-time product manager of the coupling, Florian Vollmert. And for those who don't have the time to listen to all the episodes, we recommend the annual selection "Kontor Top Of The Clubs - The Biggest Hits Of The Year", which collects the most important and best tracks of the year with the same curatorial care as the individual episodes.

Kontor Top Of The Clubs - Club Tour 2010 (H1 - 18.12.2009)

In addition, the mother ship of the series has received further offshoots over the years. These include "Kontor House Of House", "Kontor Summer Jam" and various couplings for all conceivable situations in life, such as "Kontor Sports", "Kontor Good Night - Music To Fall Asleep By" or "Kontor Focus - Music For Concentration And Study". Connoisseurs particularly appreciate the "Sunset Chill" coupling, which was launched in 2001 (and has since been supplemented by a "Winter Chill" counterpart), to which Jens Thele personally always contributes a selection of fine chill-out tracks. Meanwhile, the two expertly compiled episodes of "Electric 80s" have also become sought-after collector's items, joined by an edition of "Electric 90s". Even Christmas can be spent with music from Kontor Records: For this, 2004 and 2005 editions of "The Reindoor Room - Kontor Christmas Chill" went on sale.

Flyer - Top of the Clubs Club Tour, From the collection of: Kontor Records
Flyer - Bunker party flyer, From the collection of: Kontor Records
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In addition, since 2013 the "Kontor Festival Sounds" have been released annually (each with an "Opening" and a "Closing" compilation), and Kontor Records is also the preferred label partner for the major dance and electronic festivals. The portfolio includes compilations for mega events such as the Loveparade, Tomorrowland, Mayday, Nature One, Big City Beats World Club Dome, Parookaville, Airbeat One or SonneMondSterne. The major clubs with worldwide appeal also rely on Kontor. Among others, the Kontor team markets couplings from Pacha, Nassau Beach Club, Space Ibiza, Km5 Ibiza and Coco Beach Ibiza. Well-known DJs and producers also publish compilations of their own or third-party tracks with Kontor. For example, many installments of The Disco Boys' acclaimed compilation series have been released on Kontor, and ATB, Hardwell, and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike have also chosen Kontor for their DJ mixes.

Collage 3rd Party Compilations by KontorKontor Records

Tom de Meijer from CNR Records in Belgium congratulates. Tom brought the compilation of the world's biggest festival Tomorrowland to Kontor Records.

Everything about the Kontor tie-ins is also commercially sound. Kontor Top Of The Clubs alone has sold three million units of physical CDs and downloads - in an age of increasing digitization and declining CD sales in the market as a whole. The streaming figures are just as impressive. "Kontor Top Of The Clubs" has more than 60 million views on the various services. And in the charts, "Kontor Top Of The Clubs" has a virtually permanent subscription: The individual episodes regularly reach the top 3 of the German compilation charts and land on iTunes top positions.

Kontor: Top Of The Clubs (Vol.3) (TV SPOT)

And speaking of big names: Among the nearly 100 guest DJs who, along with Markus Gardeweg and Jerome (who is also part of the Kontor team), populate a new episode of "Kontor Top Of The Clubs" every three months, are world-renowned artists such as ATB, Boris Dlugosch, Spiller, Todd Terry, Sono, Steve Murano, Ferry Corsten, Tocadisco, Syke'n'Sugarstarr, DJ Antoine, Mike Litt, John Acquaviva, Fedde Le Grand, Caba Kroll, Mike Candys, Alex Christensen or Stereoact. Even celebrity DJ Giulia Siegel once got the honor of mixing a CD for the series. In addition, the episodes with the exquisite title selection by Tillmann Uhrmacher and Gottfried Engels form lasting memories of the two dance pioneers who have since passed away.

And the story continues, as Markus Gardeweg elaborates: "It makes me very happy that with 'Kontor Top Of The Clubs' we have created one of the longest-lasting and strongest brands in German compilation history. For 23 years, the 'Kontor Top Of The Clubs' series has been an integral part of the German charts. Unbelievable. I am already looking forward to the next years. Episode 100 ... here we come."

Credits: Story

Text: Dietmar Schwenger

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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