Wednesday 13 February 2008

Vladislav Delay - Whistleblower

Is there anybody doing as much with dub these days as Sasu Ripatti? The tricks and tenets of the form have been so integrated into different realms of music production that they're simply part of the weather. Disembodied echoes, horizontal smears, transfigurations of details into plot-points and vice versa-- all such things are base elements that owe to the days when reggae producers started wondering what might be hiding between the wires in their mixing desks.

It would be hard to overstate the importance of dub in electronic music, but it's also easy to take for granted. Part of that owes to how literally dub gets invoked by those most closely associated with it: When the likes of Pole or Rhythm & Sound show their devotion to the dub methodology they hold dear, it tends to come out sounding more or less like re-versioned reggae. Drums fan out over bulbous bass-lines, tempos skew slow, melodies grow lazy and warm, and so on.

Mp3 | Vladislav Delay - He Lived Deeply
Mp3 | Vladislav Delay - Whistleblower

Sasu Ripatti is less literal. Under his working guises as Luomo, Uusitalo, and Vladislav Delay, the Finnish producer has allied with dub as both a method and a mindset. It starts with the interrelation of his three personae, which itself functions as a sort of dub gesture. But it's most evident in the way he trips and rubs each and every element of his sound as it transpires, whether under the schedule of house (cf. Luomo), techno (Uusitalo), or dub that wanders out of line.

Video | Vladislav Delay @ Luci D'artista Torino 6-11-07

The last one is what plays on Whistleblower, the eighth album credited to Vladislav Delay. The sounds are the same as they've always been: miasmic synth tones, rubbery kick-drums that stutter and tap, weird whirligigs given to tumbling around what could well be a big washing machine filled with an irradiated syrup of significant thickness. They're basically the same sounds that Ripatti mines as Luomo and Uusitalo, minus any veritable rites of rhythm.

As Luomo has grown evermore sensuous and inviting, the common knock against the work of Delay is that it's all a big tease. (Who could resist the desire to hear Luomo when he's so close at hand?) But while the tease does in fact taunt in tracks that rarely build beyond a lumbering yawn, the Luomo aura helps as much as it hurts, mostly by making Delay's dubby hesitations and ambient lack of pacing resonante all the more for the decisions they imply. When a series of pounding sounds wanders into a 12-minute track like “Wanted To (Kill)", what initially scans as arbitrary carpentry noise falls into a hypnotic pulse, in part because you're listening for it. Likewise the barely-suggested sound of a voice cut up in "Stop Talking"-- the mere chance that it might turn into a lush chorus in the fashion of Luomo makes it sneak into an ear all the deeper.-Andy Battaglia, May 16, 2007 Pitchfork

Vladislav Delay