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Heinali is the moniker of Ukrainian composer and sound-artist Oleh Shpudeiko. He specialises in modular synthesis and takes inspiration from the Western music tradition's medieval and renaissance polyphony.

 

Shpudeiko’s solo albums over the past decade represent a changing, unpredictable artistry, flourishing in strength and delivery. His 2017 and 2018 releases on London / Istanbul electronic label Injazero Records—Anthem and Iridescent, respectively—garnered huge acclaim from press and radio worldwide, marking Heinali’s arrival as a singular and significant voice in the experimental-electronic music landscape. "An immaculate sense of intrigue, nostalgia and wonder," writes FACT Magazine. Uncut described Anthem as immersive… like re-entering the womb.”

While Anthem was created primarily from dreamy, synthesised, alien communications, Iridescent offers a window into Shpudeiko’s fascination with generative polyphonic counterpoint techniques. His latest Madrigals album marries this interest with his love for Early Music. It was named contemporary album of the month in The Guardian, shortlisted for the Aprize Music Award, Shevchenko National Prize and featured in top 2020 albums by SLUKH, COMMA, The Attic, The Village Ukraine, See Kyiv, Neformat, Red Bull Ukraine, Beehype, The Claquers. “As if Palestrina composed music for little electric boxes with patch cords. Except it's the boxes that compose music like Palestrina,” one reviewer observes. Oleh has been working on a generative polyphony patch for modular synthesis since early 2018, which now provides the structural framework for his live set and next releases. Pitchfork featured Heinali's wartime performance in a bomb shelter in Ukraine in the best sets of 2022, described by Philip Sherburne: "In any other context, it would be profoundly beautiful; given the war raging outside, this quiet act of perseverance takes on even greater significance—part protest, part song of mourning". 

Heinali and Alexey Shmurak. Photo by Helen Jamison for UKHO music agency.

Alongside this catalogue as a solo musician, the Heinali project also encompasses interdisciplinary, multi-media art projects and soundtracks. Shpudeiko’s sound artworks, in collaboration with Ukrainian classically trained music composer Alexey Shmurak, are in the National Art Museum of Ukraine and Museum of Modern Art of Odesa collections. In 2016, Shpudeiko composed original music both for the hugely successful, award-winning video game Bound (Plastic/Sony Santa Monica) and the contemporary dance production A Thread, choreographed by Jean Abreu and premiered at Southbank Centre. Around the same time, he also began a new collaborative project with actor/choreographer Volodymyr Shpudeiko. Their SynthTap production fuses tap dance and modular synthesis, a generative sound production that responds directly to the movements of the dancer.  In 2021 The Wall reactive performance based on SynthTap technology in collaboration with choreographer  Illia Miroshnichenko, premiered at the Kyiv Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre to warm critical acclaim.

Volodymyr Shpudeiko and Heinali. Photo by Oleksandr Popenko.

Heinali's recorded works have been released on Injazero, Sony Interactive Entertainment, The Flenser and other labels. He has a long history of live performances, including appearances at venues and festivals such as NEXT in Bratislava, Unsound in Krakow; Berlin’s Berliner Dom, in collaboration with the Alter Ratio vocal ensemble; Kyiv’s Plivka and Mystetskyi Arsenal; Ukraine’s Next Sound festival and Berlin’s Akademie der Künste. Heinali's live shows are based on a modular synthesiser patch inspired by the polyphony of the High Middle Ages—the music of Leonin, Perotin, Machaut, Ockeghem, and others. 

Since 2019, Oleh has been a co-author and co-host, together with Alexey Shmurak, of the АШОШ education podcast and vlog covering a wide range of music and sound related topic in an accessible language, ranging from music history and theory to the phenomenology of groove, problems of form in electronic music, music as violence and sound as a weapon.