Vakant's aesthetic, though hard to define, is most at home in clubs like Watergate, Bar 25, Golden Gate and KaterHolzig—venues in which purist sounds rarely take (or took) preference over more immediate, populist fare, but where long and linear German-style DJ sets prevail. Vakant covers all these bases. Most of its catalogue is serious enough to mix with the most sophisticated minimal, yet melodic and uncomplicated in a way that will hold the attention of zoned-out afternoon ravers. As such, a Vakant cut is just as likely to be mixed into a Perlon record as it is Cocoon chart-topper. The label's latest anniversary compilation, 10 Years Vakant (which, along with a white label vinyl series with the catalogue number VA10Y) has been split into two parts: house and techno), is a more thoughtful endeavour than its back catalogue might suggest, but still carries all the Vakant hallmarks: catchy melodies, vivid emotion and driving, floor-focussed percussion.
All of the highlights here are house tracks. Rolling, bottom-heavy cuts from Vakant mainstays like Matthias Kaden ("Deep & Wise") and Livio & Roby ("Machiner") show Knoblauch's label at its most functional, but still have an airy, feel-good shine. Elsewhere on Part One, Sons Of Tiki deliver one of their most straight-forward efforts yet in "Loraine," a percussive and bass-heavy tech house tool. Anonym and Tolga Fidan provide more atmospheric cuts with "Midnight Hour" and "Cam Kale," directing focus away from the kick drum onto sombre sweeping synths. Dewalta, another Vakant staple, takes a darker route with "Rewind."
Part 2 is less versatile, but still contains some the package's most unique cuts. Alex Smoke, who produced Vakant's debut 12-inch back in 2004, delivers a bomb with "Executive Realness," a growling techno track with distorted vocals and thick layers of bleeps and synths. The house-leaning efforts on Part 2 are the most memorable, with Quantum Entanglement and Cesare Vs Disorder both supplying stomping highlights. The rest of Part 2 is mostly dance floor techno of various types, produced by Clockwork, Avatism, Nico Purman and Anonym. All contribute solid efforts, but it's the house-leaning fare that most will reach for. 10 Years Vakant is clearly aimed at DJs, and those who pick it up have plenty to choose from. It's also an affirmation of the longevity that comes when a label finds its space and occupies it well.
Sat / 28 Mar 2015
10 Years Vakant: Part 1
01. Anonym - Midnight Hour
02. Premiesku - Orchestra De Calculatoare
03. Livio & Roby - Machiner
04. Mathias Kaden - Deep & Wise
05. DeWalta - Rewind
06. Sons of Tiki - Loraine
07. Tolga Fidan - Cam Kale
10 Years Vakant: Part 2
01. Alex Smoke - Executive Realness
02. Cesare vs Disorder - Monasterio
03. Avatism - Bones
04. Anonym pres. DLS - Organ Donation
05. Nico Purman - Ferroxide
06. CW/A - Loop 19538
07. Quantum Entanglement - What Do You Know About Acid House Music?