Endless Melancholy is the solo project of Oleksiy Sakevych from Ukraine. The project first got notice with his Modern Classical releases on Poland’s (now UK) Preserved Sound label “Music For Quiet Mornings (recently re-issued) and “Before After” on Twice Removed as well as releases on his own Hidden Vibes label. He has since gone onto release on the P*dis and 1631 Recordings label.
“The Vacation” is the fifth Endless Melancholy album following on from 2015’s “Her Name In A Language Of Stars” and 2016’s “In The Shadow Of History” soundtrack.
“The Vacation” was lovingly crafted over the span of two months, processed through the vintage reel-to-reel tape recorder for some analogue warmth and received a thoughtful master from Stephen Mathieu at Schwebung Mastering studio. Wonderful artwork by Lita Akhmetova. The whole album was inspired by a short story, “The Vacation” by Ray Bradbury, written in 1963.”
Bradbury’s science fiction story follows a family on an endless vacation when they find themselves the only inhabitants on Earth. I find listening to Drone records as a soundtrack to an imaginary film, or in this case a soundtrack with a theme to it (almost a concept album in that regard). This album is no exception.
The album starts with “They had wakened one morning and the world was empty” which sonicly gives you a visual image not to dissimilar to the end of the movie “28 Days Later” where you see people surrounded by absolutely nothing but the raw environment and not a person to be sighted. This is summed up in the tracks title, but also the feel of the track as it opens with fierce wind like noise, melodic drones and various layers of other drones that balances each other out. Some provide the higher notes while some function as almost a bass like rhythm section for the higher notes to float over. Some low-level piano keys are visible that provide a haunting element, but it is the drones that give the track its isolation feel. Interestingly it doesn’t over stay its welcome and is quite well-timed in its 4 minutes 35 seconds in length.
“Stillness mixed with Stillness ” starts with shimmering piano chords, tape hiss (the album was recorded on a vintage reel-to-reel recorder. The drones appear in choral form and the elements build (in an almost opposite fashion to the title). The layering effect becomes more pronounced 3 minutes in to the track with elements rising and ebbing until the tape hiss and shimmering keys are all that remain.
“Wouldn’t we be Lonely?” packs the melody with soaring drones and enough melancholy to match the tracks title to the feral of isolation and possibly grief. The piano that starts minimally around the 3 minute 50 mark emphasizes the melancholy and as the drones start to disappear, it’s almost a clearing of the mind that the title is questioning. This track shows the deftness of Sakevych’s ability to construct emotive pieces.
“His voice faded” is the noisiest piece and could align with the titles premise, presumably of being lost for words and swamped with thought. It is reminiscent of early tracks with low bass elements, high drones, arctic like noise, before clarity emerges and the low notes hover and vibrate.
“Sunflower Wilderness” opens like a classic ambient/drone track where layered drones come in and out on loops before higher drone elements are added join the original loops. Rings of sound fill and add texture and depth and remind the listener of classic Brian Eno material. You get the feel of openness, which is hinted in the title.
“Earth that was now no more than a meadow” has electronics added to the sound pallet and gives it a SCI-Fi drone feel. A mid section of underlying static like noise buzzes under multi layered drones and pulses of noise punctuate as if the signal from television or some other form of reception has been interrupted. Towards the end the sound is degraded to just noise before it cuts off. The title of the track could easily be made into a pastoral one, but Sakevych has often for a more industrial side to musically match the title.
“Enough to cost us a Lifetime” sees the shimmering keys return with the melodic drones that make it a purely drone track, but if the elements were switched it could also be a stunning modern classical one. Waves of ever-expanding drones engulf the track adding synth drones that patiently and clearly build up and up and as a testament to Mathieu’s mastering fill the sound without overwhelming it. As they rise, the shimmering keys are still audible almost to the end.
“And he had walked her through the still and empty city streets” starts with off with a stabbing sound that is almost claustrophobic which gives the aural accompaniment of the streets and their emptiness bearing down on the people. Halfway through the track the piano comes into fore and while melancholic, there is enough melody to provide this listener with a feel of slight optimism. The track ends with a slowly engulfing hiss that reminds of the listener of the opener and that loneliness before it dramatically stops.
I have yet to be disappointed with anything Sakevych has done and this is no exception. The way he layers, controls and augments shows his talent to construct rather the just drone on incessantly.
“The Vacation” is available in two forms from June 27th. The first is a deluxe CD with a Grey cloth bound case and metal shield limited to 150 copies via Hidden Vibes:
Or available on cassette in a cardboard O-card envelope from ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ.
You can preview three tracks here: