Vakant Records - fucking awesome Berlin-based label who have been making occaisonal dints in the mainstream with a steady output of 12"s, digital releases and a Watergate residency. This latest compilation, entitled Family Values, is one of their strongest releases to date, bringing decidedly different acts together under the unifying banner of minimalism. We get reductionist house music from Tolga Fidan, peppered with fractured vocals, wildly decaying dub-funk from Mathias Kaden, and swooping, rock-influenced techno from Anthony Collins. All of the above are DJ tools any digital beat-maker ought to own, with breakdowns and build-ups that, when deployed correctly, will enliven any techno set. Nico Perman's contribution is a personal favourite, developing a hedonistic disco groove through a warm, shifting synth line. Perman's love of disco is evident from previous releases, and Xpress Yourself channels the flair and camp of Moroder or Bobby O, whilst trimming away the excess to and uncovering a track's basic drive. Binding the live instrumentation tightly and rarely allowing it to spin out of it's delicately EQed confines, Perman proves that minimalism doesn't equate to chin-stroking clickery, but can be as fluid and sexy as any hi-energy number.
If the Vakant staple are a family, then the reigning patriach has to be Robag Wruhme, who's beeng chocking out techno and microhouse for years as part of the Wighmony Brothers and under his own name. His contribution, Kuttenrolch 1996, is a deep, 303-driven number with shuffling hi-hats and a lush synthline to show the kids how it's done.