Room to let: welcome to Vakant.
At least since the Sex Pistols, “vacant” has been, well, not so pretty a term, signifying the empty, the shallow, the vacuous: the hollow men, with holes for hearts and heads. But Berlin’s Vakant label gives the word a new meaning. Like so many electronic labels—Kompakt, Warp, and ~scape among them — Vakant refuses to take space at face value, choosing instead to put a kink in the works, a kick where you least expect it, a cold compress on an 808 heatwave.
At its simplest, “Vakant” might stand for the spaces left between the beats. This is, after all, a “minimal” label, where melody’s a thing less glaring than glanced at, where every beat is bracketed by another, be it brother, ghost, or doppelgänger. You groove to the 4/4 inevitable, you glom to the handclaps on the 2 and 4, regular as Greenwich Mean. But the swerve is in the spaces left unsaid and the hiccups that make a ritual out of happenstance. (Classical music has its accidentals; techno, born of African drumming and cranky machines, takes the idea into a new, rhythmic realm, and Vakant’s riding shotgun the whole way.)