Out of Sasu Ripatti’s many projects, Vladislav Delay bears the heaviest burden of minimalist darkness. One could argue that Luomo is that micro-house with poppy tendencies, celebrated by dance music-savvy listeners. Uusitalo is then an escape from colourful lights into an industrial murk of minimal techno. Then there is his occasional work as Sistol, his weird-glitch experimenting, and sporadic collaborating with Moritz von Oswald Trio. But what about works under Vladislav Delay, his most prolific and complex moniker?
This Oulu-born artist leaves his sparsest textures and the most daring rhythmic structures for strangely named Vladislav Delay. Whether you take his break-through glitchy Multila or subsequent Anima, consisting of just one single hour-long track, Delay has always been a playground for Ripatti’s most diverse creative thinking. The astonishing imaginativeness and openness to many other genres – from field-recordings-based ambient to IDM to industrial – was most prominently documented on his previous record Tummaa which incredibly emphasized the eclectic nature of his Vladislav Delay direction.
However, Ripatti is totally on a different place on his latest full-length Vantaa (Raster-Noton) named by a town which makes up the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and is on the verge of being autonomous from the capital city, but also being an integral part of it. Delay’s sonic Vantaa similarly oscillates somewhere in-between. Two worlds are forming around Vantaa, but inside of it even more. The moist, humid fogginess suggests a cold, but human touch: something you can really approach, touch and feel with parts of your body. Those sounds, as in watery Lipite, drizzle to the ground and soak into an already damp mass. Delay evolves these perceptions with patience and delicate detail. There’s neither sound which is unnecessary, nor is there a beat which would be meaningless – every note has a mission of intermediating this calm, wet wet world.
On the other side of the spectrum is a cold synthesis of computers, amplifiers, transformers and unnamable electronic toolkits which guarantee that everything sticks together. In Delay’s world these are not just the tools; electronic equipment is an equal member of his minimalist work. A perfect example of such technicality and industrial chill is the title-track Vantaa based on a simple slow-mo beat which thickens and gets more complicated and simultaneously artificial.
The abstract cold of Finnish minimal techno is best documented in subsequent Lauma (the excerpt streams above) built on stones of a challenging, but impressive beats which get denser and even more difficult to swallow. Lauma represents the most oppressive track on Vantaa and Delay gets extra points for the brave and terrific accomplishment of this uneasy task. The attempt of digesting those long eight minutes becomes more terrific with every new motive and becomes a terror as Lauma nears to its end.
Luckily, Vantaa is not about contrasts as simple as white versus black. Take tranquil, repetitive Narri which sounds everything from your uncle repairing his boat to a paddle stirring the surface of cold lake. Many moments on Vantaa are so beautifully smooth thanks to their ambiguity and numerous explanations of not only the source, but more importantly, the result. Vantaa is more a synthesis of various Delay’s musical spectrums than a patchwork of beat-driven ambient. The key element which holds his newest album together is an emotional and sonic integrity and the different tendencies suggest diversity. Strong and demanding piece of dynamic, imaginative minimalism.