Vakula, Chvck., Petko Nikolov,
In September we hosted Vakula for a sold out show at Phonobar. It was a night to remember, but when it ended we knew that as an artist, Vakula still had so much more to say to us. When he expressed an interest in coming back to San Francisco we were thrilled he wanted to do it again at Phonobar.
Few others are capable of the sort of dance floor shamanism that he manages to cook up. Each time he plays, listeners are glazed over with visceral textures, mesmerising ups and downs, pervasive basses and spirit-infused percussion. His sets are a mix of pure techno, dub techno, deep house, jazz, funk, disco, psychedelic rock or whatever comes into his vivid imagination. It means you can’t help but follow his dynamic, three-dimensional story, both with your body and mind: his sets are a ritual.
Vakula’s own selected works compilation—released on Firecracker Recordings in 2013—was named ‘You’ve Never Been to Konotop’. Konotop is his small provincial hometown in Northern Ukraine. You haven’t been there. But every time he plays, he’s readily taking you there with his crafted music: all those contemplative promenades in a mystical electric forest emit a complex palette of sounds, from lively and luscious to eerie and austere. Mother nature is Vakula’s main vitalising source, and in turn his atmospheric soundscapes are sonic projections of his most dear landscapes. Full-length albums like A Voyage to Arcturus and Cyclicality Between Procyon and Gomeisa, are additional proof of the exceptional abilities of this far-out musical traveller.
But he's not just about unearthly things. Vakula wouldn't be Vakula without his notable mastery of a mixer, which he calls ‘a DJ’s musical instrument’ and the collection of rare analogue gear and exotic folk instruments he keeps in his studio in Ukraine. From an Oberheim Ob-8 vintage synth to marimba and a set of conga drums, he knows them all. For his productivity, Vakula has established two labels for releasing his own music, and they are Leleka for experimental fare and Bandura for more club-friendly material. As if that wasn't enough, Vakula has recently started his own mastering practise for other musical talents, and it is yet another outlet for his technical dexterity and unique sonic feelings.