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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