REVIEW Marvin & Guy ‘Migration EP’ [Permanent Vacation]

Migration means moving, understand when a territory is no longer hospitable and find new livelihoods. In this specific case means new inspirations, new ideas, exploring new sounds. (Permanent Vacation, 2021).

Not long ago Marvin & Guy (aka Alessandro Parlatore and Marcello Giordani) returned to Munich-based Permanent Vacation for their third EP on the label – Migration. Evolutionary in terms of sound, this EP breaks from the artists’ beloved dance music trademark (see their 2019 EP Hint of ‘92), transitioning towards a cosmic vibration from the past that revisits synthesizers and drum machines to create an entirely analogue piece of work. Consisting of three original tracks, an alternate cut, a dance mix, and a live version, Migration emerged from improvised jam sessions filtered through meticulous postproduction editing, making the EP a new evolution in Marvin & Guy’s sound that sets the basis for their very first LP, which will drop in early 2022.

The evolution of sound, described by the label as migration towards new ideas and inspirations, is indeed very present in the EP’s opening track, which kicks off with ‘80s synths vibrations and chuggy trance. Drums of suspense evolve from there, creating a thread of groovy distortions and celestial voices. The ethereal bassline is reminiscent of Russian proto-techno, making the A1 a perfect initiator of Marvin & Guy’s progression towards new soundscapes.

Compared to the A1 side, this alternate cut feels more ancestral and percussion-heavy, devotedly revisiting its original form with a hint of deepened spirituality. From the start, psychedelic synths take the listener to a forest-like dimension, where the chirping of birds and otherwordly drums accompany the same vocals present in the previous track, where the voices in Migration are met here with a ticking noise, recreating a sense of suspense and mystery.

As the second original track of the EP, Prince of Badlands get things rolling pretty hectically; a proto-techno beginning marked by Kraftwerk-like vocals sets the tone for what is about to evolve into an eclectic mix of analogue mastership. Hard stabbing synths and drum machines come together to present a travelling sound that moves left to right, introducing new layers to the composition that reference the substructure in the previous sides. Here, it feels as though Marvin & Guy conceived Prince of Badlands for a video game, where the sound of floaty electronic arp and cosmic pistols recall that in John Carpenter’s theme from Assault on Precinct 13.

Out of the whole EP, this dance mix is the track that closely resembles Marvin & Guy’s 2019 hit of the title Hint of ’92; the faster BPM followed by a dancey electro melody reviews the A3 side with an energetic touch. The dynamism in Prince of Badlands (Dance Mix) is seen in the hardening of the synths and electronic pistols, making this mix so transporting and mesmerising; a must-play track for the club this summer.

Launching the backside, Universal Love has a Synthwave vibe to it. Commencing with a blend of uplifting trance and deep techno, the synthy keys and robotic voices recall Daft Punk’s soundtrack for Tron: Legacy. It is noticeable that the suspense created here draws from the tradition of ‘80s film soundtracks and videogames, taking inspiration from music made by minds such as Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis, and Giorgio Moroder.

With this B2 bop, the artists cleverly bring their analogue masterpiece to an end. The beginning welcomes sea waves and Balearic trance, which once again are followed by the same synthy stabs present throughout the whole EP. Chugs and floaty beats evolve in space, anticipating the arrival of something mind-blowing; this spacey break is stopped by a frenzy of electro pulsations and sea waves again, ending this side on a note of elation and excitement to explore all the unlimited possibilities out there.

Serving as a prelude to what is set to become Marvin & Guy’s first album next year, Migration proves itself to be evidence of how comprehensive analogue production can be, leaving room to the artist for other types of experimentation and sound manipulation. Reminiscing of the early synth days, Migration shines through the discovery of something new for the first time, marking this shift towards a search for alternative ways to make music that can capture today’s audiences.

Migration EP was released on 26th March 2021 on Permanent Vacation.

Words by Iman Cavargna-Sani.