Vakula - You've Never Been To Konotop (Selected Works 2009-2012)

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  • Vakula is right: I've never been to Konotop, his hometown in Ukraine, and I'm guessing I'm not alone. The city's Wikipedia article, weighing in at four paragraphs, doesn't mention a historical event there more recent than the 18th century, and its geographic placement—"about 129 km from Sumy, the Oblast capital," which, again, will be less than evocative for most—makes me realize I've never been anywhere close to Konotop. That said, Vakula's varied and texturally complex take on house music is the sort of stuff that makes you wonder where it came from. And You've Never Been To Konotop, an album that brings together reworked and previously unreleased material recorded between 2009 and 2012, finds the producer born Mikhaylo Vityk at his most intriguing. Across the three 12-inches in this sumptuous gatefold, Vityk paints a wonderfully detailed picture of somewhere, using the entire range of his extensive palette: slinky jazz, driving house, meditative experimentalism. Vityk certainly isn't the first electronic producer to work with such a range of styles, but he's one of the few who sounds on top of his game with every single one. Vityk's stranger material makes for some of the collection's highlights. "For Juju & Jordash" borrows some of the titular duo's drama and ambition, but the plush, lived-in production aesthetic is all Vakula's. The airy jazz jam "Sleepy Vision"—which, at just shy of ten minutes, comes in as a kind of time-stretched version of a Vakula floor-filler—has plenty of crawlspace to get lost in. Even the collection's proper club tunes feel abstract. The title track is at once a driving acid cut and a blissed-out bit of Balearica, and a new "album dub" of 2011's "Mama Said Go Slow" knocks Vakula's sprawling percussion section out of time with its heavy bass rumbles. "New Romantics," which spreads out across most of the A-side, is the track most obviously in the Vakula mold, with hefty cymbal hits skipping over epic synth swells, piano licks and a wealth of sonic detail. Its pleasures are more immediate than those found elsewhere on the record, but they're no less potent. Vakula has crafted a wildly diverse yet stylistically tight album made for burrowing into. It might not take you to Konotop, but it definitely takes you somewhere.
  • Tracklist
      01. Music (Skit) 02. Jazz Mutants 03. New Romantic 04. We Have Soul 05. Mama Said Go Slow (LP Dub) 06. Sleepy Vision 07. Hope Soon To Be There 08. Dancing Woof (Skit) 09. In My Head 10. Was 11. A Blyad Matrosi (Skit) 12. For Juju & Jordash 13.‎ EXP Techno 14. You’ve Never Been To Konotop 15. No T-Shirts (Skit) 16. Still Time (LP Dub)