Sunday, 19 June 2011

Vakula - 'Unthank 2' (UNTHANK002)

The somewhat promising Unthank imprint (a sub-label of Firecracker Recordings) delivers its second release, and confirms that its opening wasn’t a one off. Faced with the challenge of following up Bakey USTL’s wonderfully deranged 'A Tender Places', you’d be forgiven for thinking that the second 10” would be underwhelming in comparison to its predecessor. However, Ukrainian producer Vakula delivers a 3 track EP of equal measure. Vakula’s effort may not be as unpredictable and challenging as Bakey USTL’s introduction, yet it exhibits a distinguished sound that borders on the lines of house and techno, weaving stunning contemplative melodies around uncompromisingly robust rhythms.

'Track 1' steals the show here, providing arguably the most striking track of the release. A steady underlying 4x4 beat pushes things along, whilst heavy bass kicks adds weight to the structured beat. Meticulous chord stabs soon accompany the aforementioned beat, soon displaced by in prominence by introspective synth arrangements, signalled by the introduction of a flurry of cowbells. The two melodies wonderfully interplay for a period, before the stunning arching synth lines take full control, flourishing in the absence of the beat. 'Track 2' is no less delightful, an altogether slower and shorter affair. A slow motion shuffling beat provides the direction for uplifting chords to dictate, backed by analogue fuzz in the distance. The B-side lifts the tempo as well as the mood. The beat is simple yet effective, playing second fiddle to the delicate melody that constitutes the opening half of the track. Drifting synths patiently rise beneath melody, receding as gradually as they appeared.

Each clear 10” is once again delivered in a silk-screened Japanese poly jacket, ensuring the release is an essential purchase. With more releases along these lines, Unthank will unquestionably become one of the most reputable independents around, especially with more tracks along the lines of the superb opener.

UNTHANK002 by Firecracker Recordings

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