On the Radar: Permanent Vacation X – Ten Years Label Anniversary 

Permanent Vacation techno

The Permanent Vacation imprint has released their astounding ten year anniversary compilation. The Waveform Transmitter’s Jack Threlfall explores the gamut of electronic music held therein.

The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung once described the sound of Tom Bioly and Benjamin Fröhlich’s Permanent Vacation as “razor-sharp, pulsating, pornographic, all fuses opening crazy pop”. A fitting description for one of the world’s pioneering electronic music labels; a label that sought to explore the undiscovered country of Balearic, cosmic, Krautrock, disco and protohouse.

The Munich based label have engineered and cataloged some truly groundbreaking and essential electronic music, whether it be Antenaʼs classic Camino del Sol, Tensnakeʼs Coma Cat, Azari & III Reckless With Your Love or Jacques Renaultʼs remix of Midnight Magicʼs Beam Me Up, the pedigree is unquestionable.

Benjamin Fröhlich and Tom Bioly were able to gather all the regular vacationers (including themselves) and some special guests such as Joakim or Daniel Bortz, all of whom contributed celebratory exclusives. The result features 16 tracks that are going from loud to quite, from fast to slow, from jungle to desert and thus capture the whole Permanent Vacation sound spectrum.

Joakim’s tribute to Antenaʼs Camino del Sol – Camino De La Luna – is a rousing endeavour that strikes a distinctly sun-drenched tone with the listener. Uplifting synth chords send volts of ecstasy through the nervous system and eastern vocals float nonchalantly across the break, culminating in a fastidiously composed arrangement that combines the nostalgia so inherent in the Permanent Vacation canon and the innovative vision that has enabled them to stay relevant in the modern electronic music era.

The compilation powers forward with a brazen Balearic attitude. Tracks like Chasing Worms by Daniel Bortz, Red Axes by Eastern Crown and Cielo by Tensnake encapsulate such a clear and unpretentious musical vision. Each one of these tracks distills the concentrated joy felt by every person who has set foot inside a club; every man, woman and child who has experienced the bliss of an Ibiza sunset and all of the musicians and DJs that seek to ply their trade. Cielo in particular is an experience all of its own; the warm ripples of arpeggiated notes bathe the listener in a comforting bubble of bliss, whilst the mischievous slaps of various hi hats trundle along with a whimsical charm.

Tuff City Kids serve up a ritual of delight in their expansive Hardlake. Sci-fi synths flutter around long drawn out bass patterns, ultimately giving the track a wonderfully nostalgic essence of cosmic house. Pitched up organ sounds influence the track in a considered and uplifting manner, whilst the bassline mutates into a controlled acid squelch, bestowing a strange yet captivating theme to the composition.

Tracks like Morrow, I.A.M.B.D and Space Ramp deliver three stomping efforts that rely heavily on the driving force of their simple, yet effective kick and bass combinations. These tracks serve to highlight the sheer breadth and uncompromising vision of the Permanent Vacation label, each one entirely different in their approach, but somehow connected via common theme of intricacy, intimacy and undiluted passion. Morrow is one of the most uniquely acid based tracks this writer has heard this year, whilst I.A.M.B.D and Space Ramp also stand out as some of the best Balearic and Space House on the compilation.

However, it is unsurprising that John Talabot takes the prize for the most musically interesting track on the complication. His commitment to exploring electronic complexity through simple pattern repetitions and masterful sound design in The Strange Silence catapults this this track into the stratosphere. There is an undeniable vein of genius coursing through Mr Talabot, and this track is evidence of that fact, as he sweeps across the soundscape with an unspeakable majesty and unrivalled ear for beauty.

This compilation is an electronic music lovers dream. For their commitment to musical artistry, contribution to electronic music and an unspeakable ability to push the boundaries of sonic enjoyment, Benjamin Fröhlich, Tom Bioly, and Permanent Vacation must be applauded.

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