A bright and rapidly growing force within the underground dance community, Mikhail Akulich has shone incandescent over 2016 with his Michael A production moniker. As 2017 stretches before him, he now debuts with his first original EP for the label and the aptly named "Bright Hope".

From the manufacturing centre of Mazyr in southern Belarus, Michael A has stepped beyond the landlocked borders of his native homeland with a steady and constant stream of successful releases. Owner of the successful Genesis Music imprint which has been a stylish vehicle for his own production work and legion like-minded artists, over 150 production credits can be found next to the Michael A name in 2016 alone with a half century on Genesis. Able to place his finger on the pulse of the modern underground progressive sound, Akulich's music has featured on such celebrated imprints as Balkan Connection, Stellar Fountain and Lowbit. Furthermore, the June 2016, "Flying" EP for Mango Alley saw a remix from none other than Australian industry stalwart, Jamie Stevens, while November saw an appearance on Cid Inc.'s successful "Replugged, Vol. 2" compilation with the track "Human Revolution".

A regular on the Particles imprint, multiple appearances on the seasonal compilation series have been supplemented by the stunning "Behind The Moon" EP which has gone on to see remixes from GMJ, Dustin Nantais and Marius Ene. Remixes of Huminal and Derek Howell with sometime production partner, Mou. have also extolled Michael's production credentials, supported by such industry heavyweights as Guy J, Hernan Cattaneo and Nick Warren. Now making his debut appearance on Proton's flagship imprint, "Bright Hope" continues the Michael A story with a brand-new chapter.

Opening track "Seven" is a typically polished affair. A strong beat and rolling percussive cadence keep energy high while a muted arpeggio filters into aural consciousness on the back of a subterranean bass line that rumbles in the lower frequencies. Sumptuous pads continue to add layers of depth and evocative texture, reaching a climax in the breakdown, before the deep rolling groove picks up again in the third movement to delicious dance floor effect.

The title track itself is a full-bodied offering that opens with seismic kick and stereo panned shuffling hi-hats. Pulsating side-chained pads present club-friendly atmospherics as a grooved bass line makes for a wonderful vehicle to anchor melodic elements. Intelligent percussive flow enhances proceedings as a delay-laden lead line finds its place at the mid-point, transforming the third movement into a carefully constructed, multi-faceted track that is a joy to behold.

A dazzling future assured, Michael A and his "Bright Hope" create an optimistic opening to 2017 for an artist full of talent, dynamism and passion.

Directed by Jay Epoch
AandR by James Warren
Mastered by Michael A
Design by Ben Mautner
Text by James Warren

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