The opening moments of Mano Le Tough’s debut LP are a snap to attention, a hint that the ensuing hour isn’t going to be a stroll through 11 tracks of floor-facing house. Just 11 seconds into opener “Cannibalize”, a battering, almost metallic tom bursts into your ears. First time, it jerked this writer upright, causing fellow tube passengers looking askance at the twitching idiot riding alongside them. It had the same effect on second listen, that offbeat crack snapping me away from browsing Twitter and demanding my full focus.
Berlin-based Irish producer Mano Le Tough will release his debut album, Changing Days, in February 2013 on Permanent Vacation.
Next month sees Woolfy Vs Projections re-engage with their musical tales regarding the lost astronaut Captain Starlight on their second album The Return Of Love via Munich stable Permanent Vacation – bask in the sounds of “Set Me Loose” for a primer of what to expect.
Munich label Permanent Vacation have sprung a surprise with the news they are releasing a 12″ from Irish singer Róisín Murphy.
John Talabot’s masterful debut album fIN is set to be remixed by a raft of producers, with the first volume of tweaks supplied by Bullion, Kenton Slash Demon and Pachanga Boys.
Simon James and Dan Hastie will reunite under the Woolfy vs Projections moniker for a follow-up to 2008′s The Astral Projections of Starlight, to be released once again on Permanent Vacation.
It’s a mark of the quality of John Talabot’s productions that they spark debate, not least between journalists and the producer himself. Ever since the first tracks started trickling out of his Barcelona studio in 2009, he has proved a master at producing the sort of rich, deep, melody-driven house that transcends dancefloors. Listen to his definitive single Matilda’s Dream, for example, or his contributions to Permanent Vacation’s superb If This Is House, I Want My Money Back series, and you almost forget they’ve been designed to make people dance.
Sometimes a label will surprise and confound you in equal measure, delighting with a release schedule that comes across as dizzyingly schizophrenic. Permanent Vacation is one of those labels.
Since setting up shop in Munich five years ago, label founders Benjamin Frolich and Tom Bioly have repeatedly dodged easy categorization. Initially interested in releasing material that swam in the glistening, clear waters of contemporary Balearica, they’ve since gone on to put out everything from next-level touchy-feely deep house and fashionable New York disco to crunchy krautrock, shimmering synth-pop and left-of-centre space funk.
Along the way, they’ve also scored some notable successes, not least Tensnake’s undeniably massive “Coma Cat”, Midnight Magic’s noughties disco anthem “Beam Me Up” and Azari & III’s early hit “Reckless (With Your Love)”. Over the last couple of years their focus has shifted a little more towards house ‘floors, too, with the recent If This Is House, I Want My Money Back Zwei compilation (the follow up to the well-received 2009 original) proving their commitment to the cause.
As if that wasn’t enough, they’ve also shown a massive commitment to the album format, putting out well thought-of long-players from the likes of Woolfy, Sally Shapiro, Wolfram, Gianni Rossi and Polyester. Given their impressive track record and faultless commitment to releasing a wide range of music, we thought it was about time we phoned Munich for a chat. With business, DJ and production partner Tom on vacation (somewhat fittingly), it was Benji who sat down to field our call…
Some two years on since the inaugural edition, a second serving of Permanent Vacation’s brashly titled compilation If This Is House I Want My Money Back arrives with twelve tracks that, for this scribe, act as the perfect antidote to the overly polished and far too ubiquitous shallow house endeavours of Hot Creations et al. Buoyed by a distinct lack of refund requests, the Munich label retain some of the artists from the 2009 ten track compilation whose stock has risen in the subsequent period, whilst also welcoming some new names into the fold.
When Permanent Vacation slipped out a four track vinyl teaser early last month, this reviewer was struck by the sheer class demonstrated by all on show that a desire to hear the full compilation became quite overpowering. Anyone who peruses this site on the reg will know how much we’re fans of Hivern Discs artist John Talabot, and “Leave Me” (Friendly Pattern Version) remains one of those tracks which you can quite happily return the needle/put on loop/press repeat some weeks after you first hear it. Within the context of this full compilation, it still shines through and acts as a bit of a tease for the forthcoming album on Permanent Vacation from Talabot, showcasing his talent for recycling naggingly familiar samples into an intoxicating rhythmic ride. Crucially however, there is plenty more on Zwei that impresses. Talabot’s Hivern cohort Pional opens proceedings with “Just Passing Through”, a sexed up improvement on the feel and sounds of the title track from Nico Jaar’s opinion dividing debut album.
From here a gradual rise in tempo unfolds across the compilation, with notable contributions along the way from Mano Le Tough – who continues to grace his productions with as much warmth and love as he does the titles – and Beautiful Swimmers. Their track “Excited” sees the Future Times duo step out of the DC comfort zone for the first time, delivering exactly the kind of roots of house music jam Benji and Tom P.V. asked for. A bastard concoction of Faltemeyer synth stabs and proto house pressure, the track matches the contribution from Talabot in the impressing stakes. It’s followed by energising contributions from Hunee and the Uncanny Valley duo of Jacob Korn and Cuthead collaborating under the smart Kornhead moniker. Their respective productions come from entirely different sonic angles – driving, subaqueous jack and heavily percussive Afro ripples respectively – which perfectly captures the label’s ethos behind releasing this compilation.
There are further treats in store from the likes of Soul Clap, Session Victim and the Permanent Vacation overseers themselves with an original track and an edit of Mathematics artist Contra Communem Opinionem, which in total make for a more consistent statement on the best in contemporary house music than the inaugural edition.
The John Talabot pseudonym first appeared in 2009, with a debut 12″ for Munich based label Permanent Vacation alongside remixes for Delorean, Zwicker, Glasser and, most memorably, Aufgang. A deep, slinky and richly melodic take on house immediately caught the ear, and so detailed and nuanced were Talabot’s productions that attempts to categorise his sound resulted in wildly differing interpretations. Some critics littered reviews with words like shimmering and summery; the producer himself believed his early material was actually dark and brooding. In a way, both opinions are correct, as Talabot managed to balance quirky instrumentation and beautiful thrift store samples with beefy club friendly drums – if the Avalanches made house music it would probably sound something like this.
Talabot’s rise to prominence continued last year, once again gracing Permanent Vacation with the breakthrough 12″ Matlida’s Dream, as well as a debut release for the Hivern Disc imprint he is closely associated with. As interest in his music grew, it became apparent the producer was working under an alias, determined to keep his face out of the media glare. As such his reputation has grown organically, and the visual connections to his music, left entirely up to the listener, are much nicer than any press picture – the baked brown hills of his home city, Barcelona, for example, or the artwork that adorns his records.
Both Talabot and Hivern are part of a pleasing trend of small labels and collectives operating outside recognised hubs like Berlin and London, such as Gothenburg’s Aniara, Stockholm’s Studio Barnhus and Dresden’s Uncanny Valley. These labels are bound by their strong visual direction and work unencumbered by the restraints of being attached to a particular style or scene. Talabot has also built a name as a DJ of some repute, securing festival slots in 2011 to compliment further recognition in a year that has also seen an EP release for UK imprint Young Turks (home to The xx among others) and news of a forthcoming debut album for Permanent Vacation. A few weeks back we announced that Talabot would be performing at our second birthday party at The Nest in London in September, and to mark the occasion we coaxed a rare interview out of one of electronic music’s most promising talents.
Given the sheer number of British artists releasing on International Feel, we’re beginning to think that a free trip to Punta Del Este is offered as part of any record deal. Indeed rumours (possibly started in the Juno Plus office) persist that Bubble Club, Gatto Fritto and Coyote have all been spotted walking around London in recent weeks sporting unseasonable tans. The latest to potentially be soaking up rays on the South Atlantic coast of Uruguay are The Mythical Beasts, aka Felix Dickinson and Toby Tobias. If either of these names need further introduction then back to those disco night classes with you! As The Mythical Beasts, Dickinson and Tobias present an altogether more lackadaisical sound, with “Communicate” fully channeling the sound of Dutch icon Jan Hammer, as sleazy 80s synths combine with the most glacial of funk riffs.
This wouldn’t be an International Feel twelve without some exquisite artwork (check) and a discerning selection of accompanying remixes. On this occasion we are suitably stocked with a variety of takes from Permanent Vacation, Alphabet City and Das Volt. The Munich duo lead the way with a tight tropical disco take that ups the pace, brings out some hollow percussion and focuses on a particularly introspective xylophone melody. Up next, Alphabet City prove their recent Under The Shade EP was no fluke with a chunky yet glistening electro funk reimagination. Our personal favourite, however, is the spooked out Giallo disco take from Late Night Audio’s Das Volt.
In the space of just four years Munich imprint Permanent Vacation have hustled their way to the front of the queue marked labels Juno loves and generally challenge DFA for first place in our collective affections. It’s a label that oozes quality, from the compelling concepts behind their compilations to the lovingly presented twelve inch releases. To commemorate the landmark of 50 releases, Permanent Vacation indulge us with 22 tracks from the likes of Pollyester, Tensnake, Woolfy Vs The Projections, John Talabot and Sally Shapiro. Amidst these more recognisable PV artists, there’s some curveballs like DMX Crew and Arto Mwambe’s “Lauer” and a dash of unreleased gems. Instant classics such as Tensnake’s “Coma Cat” and Azari & III’s “Reckless With Your Love” are present as well as three versions of Midnight Magic’s soon to be classic “Beam Me Up”. In fact it’s the previously unreleased version from Bostro Pesopeo that ends the compilation which provides the highlight, stripping the track of its vintage disco sheen and turning it into a quite brilliantly haunting track.
The clamour and hype surrounding Tensnake’s remix of Azari & III’s “Reckless With Your Love” has surpassed the inner disco circle and spread as far and wide as Pitchfork and The Metro. That comes as no real surprise as both the remixer and remixee are certainly Premier League material. The liberal usage of C & C Music Factory splits audiences once the signature piano stabs are dropped in, but this remix alone is likely to secure Permanent Vacation one of their best selling 12 inches to date.
But yet, it’s not even the best remix on this record: that honour falls to Midnight Magic, who have already won many a heart via their debut single “Beam Me Up”. Employing a similar sound to that track, Midnight Magic’s remix has a vintage disco bump that submerged in cavernous echo, with the soaring string and horn arrangements laced over the chorus a true delight. Tuff City Kids aka Gerd Jansen and Phillip Lauer (Arto Mwambe/Brontosaurus) dispel with the vocal refrain and opt for some prime Muzic Box jack which brilliantly teases out an acid tinged variant on the original’s distinctive synth melody. The less than prolific German duo of Good Guy Mikesh & Filburt return from the wilderness with a brilliant burning deep house rework which rounds off a superlative remix package.
Norwegian disco beard Todd Terje launches this epic (and unmixed) collection of some of his best reworks. Ranging from the rare to the ubiquitous, the underlying theme here is quality. There’s some killer cuts under his different aliases (Duliatten Disco Dandia, Kacic Kullmann’s Five), which includes an unashamedly awesome reworking of Ace of Base, erm, classic “All That She Wants” under the Chuck Norris moniker. A guilty pleasure perhaps, but knock this one out in a slo-mo disco set and watch ‘em go wild.
Throw into that remixes of Jose Gonzalez, M, Rogue Cat, his old chum Lindstrom and of course that Shit Robot remix, and you have a compilation not to miss. Indeed, unless you have followed the Terje’s career with an incredibly hawkish eye, there’s sure to be a few gems on here that you missed the first time round. Obviously, none of Terje’s bootleg- sorry, unofficial remixes make it onto the compilation, but there is more than enough to compensate for the absence of these (even if Graeme Clark aka The Revenge listed Terje’s reworking of Paul Simon’s “Diamonds”as his favourite ever disco edit). And there’s even an hour long mix of Terje classics at the end to round it off.
Review: Aaron Coultate
Enigmatic Swedish Italo-disco starlet Sally Shapiro returns with the final instalment of remixes from her My Guilty Pleasure album. Out on Permanent Vacation, this EP contains nine tracks and features some of the best producers that the neo pop and disco scene has to offer.
My Guilty Pleasure, Shapiro’s second album, received both critical and commercial acclaim when it was released in August last year. Based around 80s disco, the record also took in influence from jazz, pop, acid and ambient beats. Now, just like she did with her debut album Disco Romance, she unleashes an EP of remixes of the album tracks.
Steve Moore of US band Zombi opens the package under his Lovelock moniker, giving “Save Your Love” his shiny 80s glitz treatment before relative newcomers FM Attack and CFCF take on “Looking At the Stars” and “Love in July” respectively. Bogdan Irkük then turns in a vocoder version of “Miracles” and Italian disco mover Bottin chips in with a chord heavy interpretation of “My Fantasy”. Synth pop stars the Junior Boys are up next with one of the highlights of the EP. Turning “Jackie Jackie” into a shimmering but dark club track, the boys find the original a new lease of life. Permanent Vacation own boy Bostro Pesopeo hands over a solemn remix of “Love in July” and Boat Club slow it down for an epic sounding “Swimming Through the Blue Lagoon”, before Low Motion Disco close off the EP with their Balearic influenced remix of “Let It Show”.
What we get here is a collection of nu disco’s most accomplished producers doing a fine job of reworking Shapiro’s tracks to complement the original album. They have all brought their own ideas and own sound to the tracks but still managed to maintain Shapiro and her collaborator Johan Agebjörn’s marriage of homely, introspective melody and gleaming electronic production.
Review: Tom Jones
German producer Marco Niemerski, known to the discothèque as Tensnake, came to the fore last year with “In The End (I Want You To Cry)”, his EP for Gerd Janson’s Running Back imprint which featured heavily in the end of year charts. He also lent his ubiquitous disco-meets-house inflected sound to remixes of The Faint for Boys Noize Records and Toby Tobias for Rekids.
New Yorker Tim Sweeney developed such a cowbell crush on Tensnake that he entrusted the German with the debut release on his eagerly anticipated Beats In Space record label, with a release on Ghostly Intl also slated this year.
This pales in comparison with the anticipation that has surrounded this, Tensnake’s EP for Permanent Vacation, and more specifically its lead track “Coma Cat”. Ever since its debut on Tim Sweeney’s weekly transmission from NYC, the discerning discopogoing corners of the internet have been clamoring for its release.
Nominally a reworking of 80s RnB hit “What I Like” from Anthony And The Camp (produced by legendary producer, and proud owner of best name in dance music, Jellybean Benitez), Tensnake transforms “Coma Cat” into seven minutes of joy which seem to encapsulate the last 15 years of house music yet also remains very fresh for now.
“Coma Cat” is in essence the first contender for the inevitable end of decade “best of” wankathons come 2020. With such a strong lead track you’d be forgiven for thinking the rest of the EP pales in comparison, yet this is not the case. “Get It Right” and “Need Your Loving (Dub)” are both superlative wanders down the disco boogie path that Niemerski was immersed in as a child. The original version of “Need Your Loving” is included as a wee bonus for those that prefer their music to smell like mp3s.
Review: Tony Poland