Vladislav Delay, Ripatti03

Photo by Matthew Brandt


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It feels like timing has dulled the impact of Sasu Ripatti’s most recent renaissance. It’s not as though he’s ever curbed his profligate evolution, making great lateral moves and nailing everything from microhouse to supremely narcotic dub techno, from glacial electroacoustic improv to fractal sequencer programming. Coverage of his music has tended to favor projects like Tummaaand Vladislav Delay Quartet, painting the image of an artist going into his dotage by pursuing more “serious” forms, while glossing over the brash, vivid rhythms of contemporary Raster-Noton releases Vantaa, Espoo, and Kuopio. Ripatti has no interest in battling this image; his most recent effort is the vinyl-only Ripatti label. Its third release is credited to his Vladislav Delay alter ego, and it joins those Raster-Noton releases as some of his most accessible output.

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The opiate fog hanging over those Vladislav Delay Chain Reaction release lifted a while ago, but Ripatti03 is hyperactive even by Kuopio‘s tightly wound standards. “Footwork-influenced” is the press release byword for the spray of kick drums and foil-covered stabs, but it’s a superficial affinity. “SND-influenced” is as descriptive, but Delay’s music never holds our attention by virtue of referring to something outside of itself. It is recognizable as his music by its characteristic materials but is also different on a molecular level from his other stylistic tangents. B-side “#22” is aggressively staccato, but we float over the track at a familiar syrupy rate. The biggest innovation in this approach is in the way Delay constantly deforms the frames of reference between each loop. “#22” is a constant struggle to remember the immediate past. The same sounds never loop in exactly the same way, harshing the flow with tugs of time dilation. A-side “#5” opens with an interpolation of Elgato’s “Zone” before erupting into some kind of showdown between Z’EV and DJ Premier. The rules governing Sasu Ripatti’s music are out of reach in a way they aren’t with many other producers, and his mastery of inner space in the latest manifestation of Vladislav Delay remains as sublime as ever.

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