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Vakula – Leleka 2 review

Only someone as scarily prolific as Vakula could possibly elect to surpass a calendar year in which a relentless procession of twelve inches appeared by gracing the music world with three full length albums. In the weeks preceding the release of Vedomir, the Ukrainian’s album for Dekmantel under the same Tolkien-esque name, Vakula still finds the time to deliver a second 12” for his own Leleka imprint.

The processes behind how the label manufactures the marbled black and white vinyl still remain a mystery, much like how the almost infinite vat of musical inspiration Vakula can call on will never be explained. Is there any need however, when you can choose to bask in enchanting music such as the opening track “I Wanna Dance with You All My Life”, a wonderfully sumptuous melange of kaleidoscopic textures, fizzing analogue clouds and the merest hint of a beat. This is the kind of Vakula production that leads to possibly the only criticism that can be levelled at the Ukrainian. The inventive niche in the house music spectrum Vakula has carved himself is sometimes so detailed, almost too beautiful in its execution, it negates the genre’s original intent to coax the body into repeated rhythm.

However, the subsequent “Still Time” demonstrates Vakula is still able to restrain the desire to charm your heart in favour of your feet – criminally short as it is – veering into lo fi afro house characterised by detuned dubby textures and subtle rings of cowbell that bring to mind the intriguing prospect of Juju & Jordash digging into Ashley Beedle’s sizeable archive and tweaking their favourite Ballistic Brothers production.

On the flip, the geometric centre print provided by Masha Gonchar in hypnotic full motion seems totally appropriate for the two tracks that surround it, not least “Bug Powder”. Produced in collaboration with Russian newcomer Dices, barely audible discussions on Kafka swamped in dizzying stereo effect open the track before it metamorphosizes into a glooping, analogue house refrain that seems under constant attack from laser streams of lo-fi incandescence. “Arrakis” is one of Vakula’s most straight forward house tracks and the slippery, fizzing production seems a perfect way to end proceedings, never veering far from the thick, fudgy analogue groove at its core with jazz-flecked hints of his capacity to deviate rhythmically.

Tony Poland


1. I Wanna Dance With You All My Life
2. Still Time
1. Bug Powder
2. Arrakis