Vakula – Ukraine’s Finest

Vakula – Ukraine’s Finest

With the recent release of his new album ‘Cyclicality Between Procyon and Gomeisa,’ I thought I’d share my take on his outstanding LP releases to date and his journey to producing them.

Mikhaylo Vityk has well established himself as the deep-house man of the moment. In my eyes, Ukraine’s greatest export who gained recognition overseas with a series of exceptional releases on electronic labels including Dekmentel and Dj mixes filled with a crisp multi-layered rhythmic palette and rich analogue groove.

Coming from musical roots, he manages to maintain Ukrainian identity, inspired by traditional musician grandfather, while successfully amalgamating it into a Detroit state-of-mind through analogue synths, drum machines vinyl records. Vakula has even launched his own vinyl-only imprint Leleka, referencing to the Ukrainian cultural landscape and his passion for folk explorations.

His take on house music is heavily influenced by the rich history of the genre, with subtle jazz touches multiplied by a unique and very personal attitude to sound design.

 

 

So I’ll start things off with the first release I heard…

 

2013 ‘You’ve Never Been To Konotop (Selected Works 2009-2012)

Released in 2013 is by no means his first attempt, however, as the title suggests is an amalgamation of works in his early release career. This album fist introduced me to that texturally sophisticated take on house music brushed over earlier. An intriguing collection of songs, which make you wonder where it all originated. Mikhaylo Vityk’s three 12 inches explore a range of styles, and although not the first to do so, each is top notch.

I got lost in the airy jazz jam “Sleepy Vision” kind of a slowed down version of a Vakula floor filler. Even the collection’s proper club tunes feel abstract. The title track is both a driving acid cut and a blissed-out Balearic. The “Mama Said Go Slow (Album Dub)” a track originally released in 2011, alters percussion section out of time with heavy bass additions.

A track which spans the majority of the A side is “New Romantics,” is the track most representative of Vakula, with impacting cymbal hits skipping over huge synth swells, piano licks and a wealth of sonic detail. Vakula has crafted a wildly diverse yet stylistically tight album, a great option for those first delving into what he has to offer.

 

 

2015 – ‘A Voyage to Arcturus’ – a novel by Scottish writer David Lindsay, which It combines fantasy, philosophy, and science fiction in an exploration of the nature of good and evil and their relationship with existence.

Vakula has taken inspiration from this 1920s novel to craft an ambitious LP further cementing that he is more than just a deep house aficionado.

The sixteen-track album begins with the unnerving sound of what seems to be an unknown woman calling out to be rescued from another planet in keeping with the fantasy aspect of the album. From here, Vakula treats us to a collection of woozy ambient pieces, which brings to mind, the works of Jon Hassell, Pink Floyd and Kraftwerk. In fact, in its use of space and sounds of drizzly engines, “Maskull’s First Day on Tormance” looks like a distant cousin of the pioneering Kraftwerk anthem, “Autobahn”. The following track is the dubby, orchestral and stunning ten-minute “New Sensations”, which like the previous helping of “New Romantics” will appease those looking for something more conventional, as it’s the closest thing on the LP you will find to any classic Vakula track.

 

 

2016 – ‘Cyclicality Between Procyon and Gomeisa.’

Mikhaylo Vityuk continues to churn out exceptionally diverse experimental music and the latest instalment somehow surpasses the last. The title nomenclature, although tricky at first to decipher, suggests music was composed on the fly sometimes with little snippets being wound together to form experimental track while others come from typical floor fillers.

The first half is mostly ambient. “Cyclicality Between Procyon and Gomeisa” is, a cosmic head-trip of gently undulating tones and melodies, “Acteon” is a fantastic Balearic piece. At times he lets the improve run wild in self-indulgent cuts which fall short of his typical excellence; “Flying Over the Sirius” and “Dim White Dwarf.” Redeemed with the beautiful “Double Star System,”.

It’s in its second half that the LP really hits its stride. “Deep Motivation” heads to the very farthest reaches of dub techno, “8600 km Radius” has a funked up electronic bassline, 4/4 beat and subtle touches of jazz piano. “Intergalactic Funk” is a live band disco cut that does just what you’d hope it would.

Unquestionably perfect ‘Cyclicality Between Procyon and Gomeisa’ is kind of music that keeps you coming back for more. I look forward to the next release, but for now, I will be playing this on repeat and hunting down EPs from yesteryear to fill the void.

 

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The Future of TV

The Future of TV

Having finally got around to watching ‘Naked Attraction’ (to see what the fuss is about, not just look at naked body parts) I am now convinced I have a plethora of shows that Channel 4 would buy.
So let’s kick things off…
Meow Meows on Meow Meow
Cats are given the legal high “meow meow”, their exploits are filmed as hilarity ensues. Hosted by Cat Deeley.
Naked Attraction – Black Widow Edition
After picking a male, the female contestant has the opportunity to kill her mate and take his share of the money he received for appearing on the show. Hosted by Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Seahorseman – could you do it?
The seahorse is the only creature where the male has a truly reversed pregnancy. In a groundbreaking piece of scientific documentary, David Attenborough and Jeff Brazier put five men to the test to see if they could deal with the toll pregnancy takes on the female body.The show sees men dealing with a series of tasks designed to simulate pregnancy e.g. carrying pregnancy ‘weights’ that are in line with a normal, human pregnancy, given drugs to make them sick in the morning, are given pre-determined cravings they must have and fulfil at certain points during the nine month period.
Come Down With Me
Lilly Allen hosts this E4 groundbreaker in which a group of young adults go to a rave and then for an ‘after-cotch’ at one of their houses. Guests are rated for their rejuvenating hosting powers such as a provision of blankets, music selection, Haribo and positive vibes. The winner at the end of the week is given a 7-day trip to Ibiza.
Snatch of the Day 
Making Crimewatch more accessible for Millennials and Generation Xers, Winona Ryder presents highlights of the week’s shoplifting activities – sourced via CCTV images from around the country.As well as appealing for information leading to arrests, Winona Ryder analyses the attacking methods used by the shoplifters, while Idris Elba – in character as DCI Luther – analyses defence techniques by getting into the psyche of criminals and shouting “OH NO” a lot.
Game of Tones
We go behind the scenes to meet the people who are responsible for devising the standardised ringtones for each carrier. From Apple to Samsung, Nokia to BlackBerry we take you on a binary journey to explore what makes a perfect standard ringtone, be it the classic iPhone strum, or Nokia’s “Grand Vals” we determine what qualities a standard ringtone should have.In a Christmas special, Gareth Malone goes to a shit school in South London and challenges the kids to make their own ringtone. After much trials, tribulations, heartache and lessons learnt, the ringtone reaches number one and stays there for 12 weeks.
Strictly Come Lancing
Capitalising on the internet sensation that is ‘Pimple Porn’, a celebrity and their GP come on stage to see who can lance the best spot/zit/pimple live on stage.Training midweek includes not washing, applying grease to face and eating fatty foods to try and produce the most mouth-watering puss-filled mega zit for the live show. Points are awarded for colour, speed of removal, amount of puss and pain received. You receive an instant bye to the next round if your zit hits the mirror provided.
Lindstrom – Where You Go I Go Too

Lindstrom – Where You Go I Go Too

I hadn’t heard of this LP until last week and yesterday the vinyl LP arrived at my door. I have been missing out on this genius for eight years! Annoyed at myself! I’d heard the title track played out in various sets before, but I could never say that I had given the time to all 28 minutes and 58 seconds of “Where You Go I Go Too”.

And boy what an almost 29minutes it is! Give it time and you will be rewarded. Wondering whether it’s acceptable to play is out in a set. Listen below, although much more satisfying at a higher quality.

 

 

This was Lindstrøm’s first studio album released in 2008 and could be labelled “space disco” but I’d put it more toward the ambient, psychedelic, downtempo side of this.

Production of the album followed the 2006 release of It’s a Feedelity Affair’, a compilation of singles. Lindstrøm had become dissatisfied with simply producing remixes and average length songs, which led to experimentation with lengthy tracks. Lindstrøm also felt he was unwisely incorporating musical ideas into remixes instead of original works.

A special edition album released in 2008 featured a bonus disc with edited versions of the original tracks by frequent Lindstrøm collaborator Prins Thomas. I’m struggling to find this on digital, and it’s upsetting me.

The Horrorist – One Night In N.Y.C.

The Horrorist – One Night In N.Y.C.

Few songs are truly story telling, rarely immersing yourself in a song to find out the ending rather than to simply listen to the track. Well this can’t be said for this cut.

Fascinatingly brilliant yet, weirdly repulsive an emotive story which keeps you locked in. Unpleasant yet so so catchy. This song hit Number 1 on the German Dance Charts (DDC) in 2001. 

“I’ll never forget the shock after listening to that whole story build up so intensely.” 

“One Night In N.Y.C.- The Horrorist ” 

The Horrorist, Oliver Chesler is one of the best known and loved electronic musicians. Recording since 1989 he and has released over 80 singles and full-length albums. Although dance orientated, most of his songs have vocals and usually progress to a crescendo. His vocal technique is quite original and unique. He also refuses not to stick to one genre so on any given record expect styles from indie new wave, electro, EBM, techno, to synthpunk.

Ricardo Villalobos does an exceptional remix, incorporating hard industrial techno influences into an already sinister track.

New Siriusmo LP Coming Soon?

New Siriusmo LP Coming Soon?

Last year saw the something special titans Modeselektor and Siriusmo announced the formation of supergroup Sirismodeselektor. The group toured around the world playing the finest festivals throughout the year, ending with shows at the monumental 50 Weapons Finale show. I was lucky enough to catch this both Glastonbury and Warehouse project at the bookends of their tour and with it, their set rise to new levels.

I asked Modeselektor (who are exceptional with their fans) if we could expect any upcoming releases as Sirismodeselektor. Unfortunately, I suspect we will have to wait a while as they said Surismo himself was gearing up for a new LP, presumably on Monkeytown Records. So I’ll sit here waiting for my next instalment of genius which, to fill a void left unfilled since 2013!

Siriusmo has been one of my favourite producers for years, regularly pumping out his selected style of funky disco at parties to unsuspecting people. However seeing him play out his tunes in person is a rare sight indeed. For he is a producer first, rarely wanting to showcase his talents to a live audience. I, however, don’t see why the man is a genius when is comes to uptempo dance floor fillers.

 

“Just on extremely rare occasions can Moritz be seen on stage (children’s birthday parties or other family get-togethers) – and even then his mood is rather shitty due to his bad taking of criticism.??” Clockenflap, 2016

 

Siriusmo aka Moritz Friedrich has a discography spanning over a decade in a rich array of genres – from dubstep to hip-hop, disco to house, electro to experimental. In the dance world where 12 –inch EP releases seem to rule the roost, he has stood out always sticking to releasing LPs, prioritising quality over quantity. One album Pearls & Embarrassments: 2000-2010’ is an amalgamation of all the unreleased material produced by the unique Berlin producer.

 

Siriusmo offers a single quote, which may go some way to describing his strange relationship with music “On each record, there is one song that I still like, the rest – unfortunately – is shit.”

There are few instances of his so-called ’embarrassments’, but the vast majority of songs are exceptional. I suggest anyone looking to dip into Siriusmo for the first time to buy this album.

Let the Siriusmo addiction begin.

 

Prins Thomas

Prins Thomas

The words ‘Space Disco’ can’t be uttered without mention of Prins Thomas. A pioneer of a genre synonymous with his native Norway, Thomas Moen Hermansen has often remixed many heavyweights including Todd Terje, The Orb. But is his collaboration with Hans-Peter Lindstrøm as Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, which has brought him to my attention. The pair has worked together on some exceptional releases with the space disco influences. One such record I recently purchased was ‘Reinterpretations’, a compilation of remixes and unreleased versions of tracks from the album, falling more on the ambient side of space disco. This record contains a track, which I feel is a perfect accompaniment to the twilight of a hot summers day ”Feel PM”.

His music over the years has drifted away from the dance floor, negotiating the space between psychedelic rock and Krautrock. This being evidenced in throughout 2010-14 in his self-titled album series 1-3 released own label Full Pupp.

The pair followed their self-titled debut in 2005 with another collaboration Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas II in 2009. 2016 brought he release of a hotly anticipated 4LP album ‘Principe Del Norte’. Derek Miller of Resident Advisor describes this incredible album better than I could try…. https://www.residentadvisor.net/reviews/18632

More recent offerings have seen Thomas rework tracks on the Orbs 12″ ‘Alpine’ that was released on Kompakt earlier this year. Titled ‘Alpine Diskomiks/Sin in Space Pt.2’ space-disco producer has given his slant on three tracks stepping away from the ambient style of his LP solo and collaborative attempts.

Most recently he has remixed Roosevelt “Colours” from his self-titled album on ‘Colours’ EP’s. A bit of a cheesy single, but would make for a good summer dance track.

 

Todd Terje’s 2016

Todd Terje’s 2016

Last night brought the news of Todd Terje latest release – the next instalment of the Dansbar E.P. series on his label Olsen records. So I thought it would be a good time to do a rundown of Todd’s year so far.

Terje Olsen has to be one of my favourite producers of all time. Since seeing him at Together Halloween Turnmills way back in 2007, I’ve been hooked. What is described as ‘Space Disco’ has been a stalwart of my mixes and record collection for many, many years, and the quality releases seem to be increasing year after year!

Following on from the success of ‘It’s Album Time’ Terje has been touring, focusing mainly on his live set with his band The Olsens in 2016. That hasn’t stopped him from recording and releasing an E.P. of disco covers. Although I enjoyed ‘The Big Cover-Up,’ I was left a little underwhelmed with this July release. Although saying that, the Prins Thomas remix of “La Fete Sauvage” is exceptional. A song originally composed by a Greek composer Vangelis for a 1975 animal wildlife documentary (I must see this).

While touring he has still found the time to Launch the Dansbar series, an exploration of the roots of Scandinavian Disco. He started this off back in May with a reissue of Beranek‘s “Dra Te Hælvete.” Terje goes back to his re-editing roots alongside Prins Thomas with four remixes of a notorious track in Norway. The song by musician and comedian Beranek was banned by national TV and radio for profanity but has become a cult hit for risk taking Scandinavian Dj’s.

Up next came a delight to my ears. Dixon and Luke Abbott remixing a classic Terje track ”Snooze 4 Love”. The original has to go down as one of my all time favourite tracks. This B-side wonder on Todd Terje ‎– ‘Ragysh’ released on Running back has now been given a new twist. Though many would argue the Dixon edit is just a retouch to work better in his sets, Luke Abbot does bring a novel approach to the much-loved song.

Yesterday saw the announcement of the latest in the Dansbar series. He Returns with a take on Holm CPU‘s oddball tune “Fotspor,” off his 1981 LP on Polydor. In this, himself, Bjørn Torske, Rune Lindbæk and Bobby Spice (an artist I’m unaware of) share remix duties. Press release stating “the ever intrepid Torske takes the reins for the B2, while lesser-known Oslo scenester Bobby Spice rounds out the 12-inch with his take on “Fotspor.”

“Fotspor” will be released on Olsen Records on September 9th, 2016.