Vladislav Delay is Sasu Ripatti, a Finnish composer of electronic music and 'Vantaa' is his tenth album employing this particular alt-monniker.
His approach is refreshing insofar as he has created a distinctive sound which, although it bares comparison with some other artists working within the genre, is sufficiently at variance to engage our attention and interest throughout.
The eight pieces in this project are largely ambient in nature but his subtle use of rhythmic structure, albeit often fragmented and distorted, gives the compositions substantial shape and structure. The beats are like signposts and lights helping us to negotiate what might otherwise be highly ambiguous and difficult-to-follow sonic territory. The occasional insertion of highly manipulated vocal fragments also introduces a human quality to the whole. Mr Ripatti's landscapes are like cool, grey vistas stretching out into infinity.
Opening track 'Luotasi' is one of his most accessible and satisfying creations. Against the backdrop of a gently shuddering mono-tonal configuration, a just- about predictable (because repeated) pattern of muffled beats emerges. The pace is slow and hypnotic suggesting shadows merging and unravelling in a long dark tunnel. The mood is indeterminate but sustains our absorption despite minimal dynamic modulation. The cool, blurred rhythmic variations of 'Lipite' sound like the internal workings of an engine whose enigmatic purpose is ultimately unclear. So too the title track 'Vantaa' which, in more ways than one, emerges as the heart of the album, propelling its strange viscous fluids through deep echoing chambers and narrow arterial ducts; the lifeblood which keeps the whole alive. 'Levite', in comparison, is a rather lovely invention, full of raindrops and moonbeams; an almost pastoral interlude which, nonetheless, seems perfectly at home and consistent with its more austere counterparts. Final track 'Kaivue' is the nameless beast in the tower; the most abstract composition in the set and a fittingly somber but imaginative postscript to Mr Ripatti's ascetic muse.
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Certainly containing overtones of other Finnish electronic artists, 'Vantaa' crafts an icy soundscaped scene through the dub tundra much loved by many other modern electronic artists.
Yet, Mr. Ripatti's take is much different and all the more refreshing for it. You will rarely get any head noddin dub feeling here, there will be glimpses throughout the songs but they will be brief and what you will get are sound movements, yet wholly melodical.
Snatches of light will appear intermittently, evidenced by warm soundscapes but just like walking through the tundra this will then become encompassed by the icy fog and will settle down to its previous glacial vista.
Its on the Raster Noton label (Alva Noto, et al) and this should tell potential buyers of what you should be expecting here, its not happy-clappy dance music. What it is though is sensitive and intelligent sound explorations within the electronic scene, not as active as say Underworld or Autechre but neither as barren as say Hazard (of Touch UK Records) or Biosphere's 'Shenzhou'.
Less sound-crowded than his previous albums, which were minimalist in themselves, this is yet a really interesting piece of work and anyone who is a fan of Mr. Ripatti won't be disappointed. Anyone else who is interested in sound sculpture or modern (and different) electronica, should take note.
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