Review: As Mano Le Tough's reputation continues to head skywards, the Irishman-in-Berlin makes a welcome return to Prins Thomas' Internasjonal label with another sterling three-tracker. Unlike his recent Stories EP on Buzzin Fly, In My Arms largely eschews intricately layered soundscape deep house in favour of prog disco sounds. Of course, the attention to detail and emotion-rich melodies remain, particularly on the slow building 10-minute epic "Those Lights Are Lives". "Dropping Bombs" is deliciously Norwegian in its feel (think early Magnus International), while the shuffling title track impresses with its woozy krautrock synths, scratchy vocal and mournful pianos. Great stuff... as usual.
Review: Irishman Mano Le Tough is no stranger to the Permanent Vacation fold, having graced the label's recent If This Is House Zwei compilation as well as turning a remix of Midnight Magic. The artist/label relationship is further strengthened here with a full EP that acts as a neat soupcon to chew on until the main Mano Le Tough course arrives via his debut album - slated for transmission on Buzzin' Fly in the coming months. Arriving with the most literal artwork so far this year, Mountains is three tracks deep with the sort of sumptuous cooing house music Le Tough has trademark of late, with the title track a particular delight. From its fizzing beginnings, "Mountains" gradually unfurls into a floating dose of kaleidoscopic, psychedelic kraut house that wouldn't sound out of place on Kompakt. "She Said" deviates into what sounds like a traditional Irish folk ditty in the midst of its organic techno refrain, whilst the glistening patterns of sound and colour that permeate through the loose aqua house jam "Even Now" will please staunch fans of Permanent Vacation.
Review: Some six years into his career, Neil "Mano Le Tough" Mannion is showing distinct signs of artistic development. While Trails, his sophomore set, follows a similar formula to its' 2013 predecessor, Changing Days, it's a much more intricate, experimental and effervescent affair that makes great use of live instrumentation and his own impassioned vocals. So, while there are nods towards smoky, eyes-closed deep house - see "Half Closed Eyes", "I See Myself In You" and the sparkling "Sometimes Lost" - the album is dominated by downtempo electronica compositions. These variously draw on the drowsy bliss of James Blake, post-dubstep melancholia, post-rock/electronica fusion, and the hazy world of Balearica, suggesting that Mannion is making the best of his growing confidence.
Review: With the follow-up to his acclaimed 2013 debut album, Changing Days, due imminently, Neil Mannion marks his return to action with an impressive, single-track salvo. According to those who've heard the new album, Trails, "Empty Early Years & The Seed" is fairly typical of the path he's chosen. While rooted in the same woozy, half-awake deep-house/lilting pop hybrid he's been developing for a while, the track is built on off-kilter broken beats, atmospheric chords, and surprisingly spacey synthesizer motifs. There's a melancholic, heart-aching vocal, too - presumably provided by Mannion himself - and more pained moodiness than the similarly spine-tingling "Mercy Street" by Peter Gabriel. The album will definitely be worth a listen.
Review: Irish producer Mano Le Tough made his name with deep, melodic house, so "Big Words From The Small Mouth", from the latest release on his Maeve label, marks something of a change. It's stripped back and resounds to minimalist drum patterns, while a wiry, frazzled acid line that weaves its way through the arrangement. The presence of a wobbly, menacing bass throughout adds to the understated sense of menace. The title track is more mellow, featuring warm tonal squiggles cosying up to organic melodies over a fuzzy rhythm. However, like "Small Mouth", it too is somewhat abstract and far removed from the more accessible sounds that Mano Le Tough had been known for.
Review: Through his various releases on Internasjonal, Buzzin' Fly and Mirau, Neil "Mano Le Tough" Mannion has done enough to suggest that he has a great album in him. Even his most dancefloor-centric deep house cuts, such as the much played "Stories", come complete with emotion-rich melodies and bags of heady atmosphere. It's these two characteristics that shine through most on Changing Days, his long-mooted debut album for Permanent Vacation. Largely downbeat in mood and tempo, it bristles with atmosphere and inventiveness, weighing in somewhere between teary-eyed deep house and glacial electronica. As debut albums go, it's pretty darn good.
Review: Following the successful touch down of his Changing Days LP, Mano Le Tough's music gets handed over to a trio of producers for some alternate versions that seek to build on his own melodic brand of deep house. Tale Of Us get bombastic in their wielding of rubbery synths towards a heartfelt end result on "Primitive People", while Dixon takes a more delicate approach with his version of "Everything You've Done Before" that works into a steady, summery deep house simmer and works it in graceful strokes from that point on. New Jackson meanwhile get a touch dirtier when they tackle "Please", letting rugged drums jack out while the synths come on fuzzy and scuzzy, Lisa Stansfield sample and all.
Review: With previous releases on Internasjonal, Dirt Crew, Mirau and Permanent Vacation to his name, Neil 'Mano Le Tough' Mannion is clearly a producer on the rise. Here he brings his melody-driven, musically layered take on deep house to Buzzin' Fly, a label that has forged its reputation on promoting similarly melodic fodder. "Stories" is delightful, a kind of gently undulating deep house fairytale that quietly rises and falls over seven spellbinding minutes. "Take It Back" and "From The Start" offer more straight-up dancefloor potential whilst retaining a similar level of inventiveness (the later, for example, features a great guitar breakdown).
Review: It would be fair to say that Niall Mannion's first EP for Pampa is amongst the Irish producer's most eccentric releases to date. While both "Your Heavy Head" and "Kitedub" are underpinned by bubbly, tech-house drums and electronics, neither is your average peak-time club cut. "Your Heavy Head" is smothered in eccentric noises and musical elements - think accordion riffs, wind chimes and snippets of Mannion's own weary vocals - while "Kitedub" is deep, drowsy and quietly picturesque with the Tough one's teary singing rising to the forefront at regular intervals. Speaking of vocal tearjerkers, Mannion does a good job manipulating his own contemplative lyrics on ambient closer "Ahsure".
Review: Munich label Permanent Vacation serve up a second helping of If This Is House I Want My Money Back, presenting twelve tracks of truly cosmopolitan house from some of the best producers out there. Familiar Vacationers such as the Hivern duo of Talabot and Pional return (and provide two of the compilations highlights) along with the likes of Jacob Korn and naturally Permanent Vacation themselves. New arrivals feature more prominently here, and justify their inclusion most notably "Excited", the rough hewn warehouse endeavour from Future Times duo Beautiful Swimmers. The aforementioned Talabot jam "Leave Me" provides the most immediate gratification, demonstrating the Spaniard's true panache for teasing out obscure samples across a track that is constantly twisting with life. However it's surrounded by eleven productions that reveal their own brilliance with time and that's surely the mark of a fine compilation.
Review: The Future Disco brand has long since stopped releasing anything vaguely disco related; these days, it's all about shimmering deep house and tactile, tech-tinged flavours. All Day Dancing is a concept album of sorts, gathering together a selection of warm, breezy tunes that have rocked open-air parties and beachside festivals the World over this summer. As such, it's a strong collection, showcasing such well-regarded gems as Vimes' "Celestial (Reprise)", Ten Walls' picturesque, string and synth trombone-laden "Walking With Elephants", and Tale of Us' chiming, melancholic remix of Mano Le Tough's "Primative People". Throw in further contributions from Dixon & Guy Gerber, Maya Jane Coles and Booka Shade, and you have a sterling selection.
Review: Munich's Permanent Vacation have always danced to the beat of their own Linndrum; consistently delivering killer off-kilter house music fused with Italo disco, electro, funk and occasional new beat. The "If This Is House..." series captures this unique sound perfectly and for Vol 3 they have asked "friends, Permanent Vacation regulars, and other good-looking producers famous for dancing around the edges of house" for an exclusive cut. The results are impressive, highlights including Drifter's crystalline synth house ("We See Us"), Willie Burns' muted electro ("Lost In The Clouds") and the depressed acid of "Tape 4 Fears".
Review: Munich's Permanent Vacation churns out releases at a rapid rate, making it annoyingly easy to miss out on great material. Lucky, their sporadic Selected Label Works compilation series can help fill in the gaps. Volume Five contains a wealth of tasty treats, from the wonky late night throb of Dolkraut's mesmerizing "Fire", and progressive house influenced dancefloor bliss of TB's "City Girl", to the Orbital style intelligent techno of Daniel Bortz and Sacha Sibler, via the bass-heavy wonkiness of Lake People. There's also another chance to savour Session Victim's loose, warm and groovy rework of Midnight Magic, and a tops-off-friendly chunk of Sound Factory era pump from Tuff City Kids.
Review: Permanent Vacation's Safari series has previously done a great job in mixing overlooked gems and forgotten highlights from the label's expansive back catalogue, with previously unreleased material. Two years on from the release of the second volume, the Munich-based imprint revives the (successful) formula for a third selection. With a rather grandiose 29 tracks to choose from, there's plenty to enjoy, with Permanent Vacation's usual dancefloor-minded eclecticism providing all manner of stylistic shifts throughout. Standout tracks include Kool DJ Dust's brilliant 808-electro workout, "Platonic Lover", the Balearic wooziness of Candyblasta's "The Ocean", a suitably big and bouncy rework of House of Wallenburg by Marcos Cabral, and a stunning chunk of vintage Chicago house revivalism from Beautiful Swimmers (the excellent "Excited").
Review: It's sexytime down Dirt Crew HQ, as the esteemed German label gathers together a selection of deep house cuts guaranteed to get you staring lovingly into the eyes of your nearest and dearest with the pie-eyed look of a post-orgasmic teenager. As you'd perhaps, there's plenty to stir the loins, from the discofied grooves of Plamn D'Acqua (the "Midas Touch" biting "House Orchid") and mellow moods of Nick Harris to the ultra-deep, lingerie-sporting slinkiness of Soul Minority, the Tortoise Orchestra and Iron Curtis. For those really sweaty moments, there's even an acid-flecked excursion from Mdione. As for the money shot, try Dirt Crew's own "Deep Love".
Review: The Munich based deep house and nu disco institution returns for their fourth safari and it is quite the trip if we do say so ourselves. The landscapes.. the wildlife.. be prepared for an epic journey! Highlights on here include the gutsy analogue punk of Drvg Cvulture's "Night Time Is The Right Time", prog house don Henry Saiz teaming up with sometime John Talabot cohort Pional on the dreamy "Uruboros" and Sweden's always reliable Axel Boman with the dreamily hypnotic "Die Die Die!" which despite its title is summery and lush: a potential anthem of Summer 2017. Hidden treasures, lost classics and exclusive tracks through the deepest house valleys and the highest disco mountains of the label's catalog.
Review: Supposedly recorded to mark Permanent Vacation's 10th anniversary party, Raketenmix is full of surprises. Certainly the tripped out electronic disco of DMX Krew's "Disco Theme" is not what one might expect from the German label, while a similar, albeit more glossy-sounding approach is audible on Tensnake's remix of Sally Shapiro's "I'll Be By Your Side". There are plenty of feel good house tracks here as well; for example, the mix revisits Holy Ghost's 2008 disco reshape of indie rockers Panthers' "Goblin City" and the 'Rave Dub' version of John Talabot's "Destiny" is an excellent low-slung groove. It all comes together to create the ultimate party mix for a Munich keller.