One of the key figures of Cologne, Germany's electronic music scene, Mayer has a durable reputation as a remixer, DJ, and producer. He's released numerous well-received mix CDs and singles, as well as a handful of studio albums. The majority of his tracks have been released by Kompakt — the legendary techno label and distributor he helps run with founder Wolfgang Voigt — and Kompakt-related labels like New Trance Atlantic (NTA) and Kreisel 99. His own productions, whether dabbling in house or techno, tend to be minimal with dubby flourishes — and no two sound alike.
Mayer was born in the Black Forest, Germany in 1971 and moved to Cologne when he was 20. He began working at a record store called Delirium along with Wolfgang and Reinhard Voigt, Jörg Burger, and Jürgen Paape. The entire group became instrumental in establishing the city's techno scene through several labels and club nights. Mayer released his first two 12"s on NTA in 1997, before Kompakt was established in 1998, combining numerous labels, the record store, and event organization. Kompakt Köln Präsentiert Michael Mayer, a mix album of tracks from the likes of Sanasol, Herbert, OM1, and the Modernist, was released in 1998 by Neuhouse. Four years later, Kompakt issued Immer, another mix album. Tracing the developments made in microhouse/tech-house since Mayer's previous mix, the disc featured material from Carsten Jost, Akufen, Selway, and A Rocket in Dub, and it showcased an unrivaled knack for selecting and sequencing.
At this point, Mayer became something of a poster boy for Cologne techno. In 2003, he released a pair of mixes. The first was one of the first several releases in Kompakt's Speicher 12" series, while the second — a more playful and melodic affair — was commissioned by London's Fabric series. The following year, Mayer released a second Speicher mix and finally delivered his long-promised debut album of productions, Touch. During the next few years, as he continued to operate Kompakt, he put together Immer 2 and Immer 3, as well as his second and third overview mixes of the Speicher releases. He also collaborated with Superpitcher as SuperMayer, which released an album on Kompakt in 2007.
Mayer kept busy as a remixer (with Moby, Pet Shop Boys, and Depeche Mode among his clients) in addition to DJ'ing around the world and continuing to run Kompakt. His follow-up to Touch didn't arrive until 2012. That album, Mantasy, was released in October. Following another break from solo productions, Mayer released a split 12" single with Reinhard Voigt in 2015. He then collaborated with Kölsch on a 12" released by IPSO in 2016. Later in the year, !K7 released &, Mayer's third studio album, which featured collaborations with Miss Kittin, Hot Chip's Joe Goddard, Gui Boratto, and several others. Mayer's installment of !K7's long-running DJ-Kicks mix series arrived in 2017. ~ Andy Kellman & Paul Simpson