- A "difficult" house EP? I'm not talking about an experimental house EP, an undanceable house EP or an EP whose contents is only debatably house, but a house EP that might make listeners take a few steps back from the speakers (albeit steps taken precisely in time, and with a certain bounce) and be like, "Whoa, I kind of can't believe I'm grooving to this right now." Dekmantel, home base for Juju & Jordash, loves putting out precisely this kind of material, but Vakula's Picture of You is one of the label's most interesting, in part because its strangeness stands right in the middle of the dance floor. Vakula, the Ukranian producer who has in no way been slacking off in 2011, offers up five tracks that aren't uniformly flawless but which add up to one tantalizing whole.
The EP begins at its most gorgeous, with Vakula peeling back layer after layer of the title track but stopping just short of the big reveal, only hinting at the beauty he's capable of. It seems this producer prefers this sort of coy almost-moment: On "Acid Release," he keeps luscious pads in a cage of 303s, lending their silkiness more than a hint of the sinister. Vakula's sound palate overextends itself slightly on "Music" and "Smooth Sketch"—a Nina Kraviz-esque stew of unmatching patterns and a skittering, LA-beat-scene-gone-schaffel quickie, respectively—but returns to form for EP closer "Johnny," wherein Vakula reimagines Nu Groove post-Hyperdub. It's a pretty brilliant note to end on, because "Picture of You" feels more than a little like Bobby Konders' "House Rhythms," an equally challenging EP with a penchant for throwing a wrench in our definition of "dance floor appropriate."
A1 Picture Of You
A2 Acid Release
B2 Smooth Sketch