REVIEW Various Artists ‘Permanent Vacation 5’ [Permanent Vacation]

Having braved the world since late November of last year these tracks aren’t a surprise, but since Permanent Vacation is always at the forefront of new and innovative music, this compilation deserves some love. The Munich based label owned by Tom Bioly and Benjamin Fröhlich has always delivered on these compilations and this one is no different. Featuring music from artists like Beesmunt Soundsystem, Chloé and Perel and more obscure names including Maajo and Personal Message, it’s a nice freeze frame of music by a full range of talent.

The compilation begins with a groovy first song ‘Yayang’ by Dutch duo Beesmunt Soundsystem, complete with flourishing percussion and atmospheric synth pads. It’s a track you not only nod your head to but you also shut eyes to while you listen, needing no guidance except the lulling melodies. The second track ‘Kaleidoskop’ by Berlin born DJ and producer Sascha Funke has more of an edge, with a grandiose and clanging synth line that teeters up and down for the duration of the track while a cheeky bass line chugs along beside it.

Nestled in the beginning of this compilation is ‘Pearl’ by Julian Stetter; a traditionally club-ready warm-toned trance-like track, which could work well during peak time or perhaps even more appropriately as a closing track. While the beginning sounds like the track could go in any direction, once it gains momentum pushed along by it’s perfect cadence chord progression and staticky drum patterns, its’ fate is sealed. Close to halfway through the six and a half minute song the extended prologue ends but our hearts are already captured. It’s a pleasing any time, any place, appropriate track that adds some weight to this already stacked EP.

Just in case your emotional side was beginning to take over German born Perel comes in to the rescue with her dancey, disco style ‘Angelika’ track. The woman whose name has been popping up on club flyers and festivals alike throughout the past year and whose DJ sets and tracks speak for themselves delivers another dancefloor favourite equipped with disco synths and cheeky claves. Now that Perel’s hit has your dancing shoes itching, MUSK’s ‘Cynic Games’ will add to it. Its quirky pin-ball mimicking drum rhythm adds a pep in your step, as does the following track, ‘Fragments’ by Davis. Both maintain the same fast tempo and blundering 16th note, also equipped with all the bells and whistles (or bass lines and synth lines) required to ignite the dance floor.

While the previous track has a techno type feel, ‘Die Hand Die Verletzt’ by Chinaski has a more retro one. Heavily reverberated drum kicks flash once per bar while bubbling analogue drum machines putter along in the subbass. Flickering synth pads float across, while spacey synth melodies cushioned them A pleasing mix of retro synth and futuristic sounds help keep us in the same decade, because any more or less of the other would surely send us into a tailspin. Onto more of a techno vibe we hear from established electronic music composer Chloé. Her ‘Through the Bells’ begins minimally enough with only a surging super low register bass line and a monotone clave, but metamorphoses into a deep house favourite full of mesmerizing melodies and pulsing synth sounds. Also heavy with the bass line comes ‘High Tide’ by Christian S. The title can be misleading because although it includes the word ‘high’ the track is anything but. Tones are predominantly low, with the occasional synth pad or alto melody woven throughout.

Nightmare in The Daylight’ by Personal Message keeps things interesting near the end of the compilation. Breakbeat rhythms swap underneath lighthearted soprano tones, making it impossible not to move to. The albums second last track, also the first of the two ‘Themes’ (Forest Themes’ to be exact) is a groovy 5 and a half minute treat which boasts a soft yet deep repeating bass line and tropical percussion that one could almost mistake as birds. Sure to get everyone’s head nodding, the Cooper Saver track compliments the slightly slower and mystic final track ‘Theme For The Lost World’. A refreshing and heartfelt track by sextet band Majoo that, while our feet are planted squarely on the dancefloor, our ears and hearts may travel to far off worlds. True to its name the track is the theme song to their soundtrack to 1925 silent film ‘The Lost World’. The Tampere-based group brings us Balearic afro-rhythm vibes and tribal feels ensuring we permanently stay on this fantastic trip.

Permanent Vacation 5‘ was released November 23rd, 2018 on Permanent Vacation.

Review by Tess Daniella

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