Sometimes I pick up an album to buy and listen to solely because I’m intrigued by its cover art. Today was one such day when, on a visit to a fairly decent music shop, I ambled around to the world selection and took a gamble on an interesting album cover that caught my eye. In this case the cover that caught my eye was the inaugural offering from the ‘Vladislav Delay Quartet‘, a Finnish band headed by Vladislav Delay, a.k.a. Sasu Ripatti. Vladislav is no slouch in releasing music, and he has a prodigious output, often working to produce albums by other bands as well as release singles and albums himself. The self titled album by Vladislav Delay Quartet, released in 2011, has a visceral electronic sound and refuses to let the listener in on an easy ride. This is music that makes you work to listen to it, and to understand it.
The album is described in the following, on Vladislav Delay’s website–
“Vladislav Delay Quartet is an expansive and multifaceted listening experience, consisting of Vladislav Delay (drums and percussions), Mika Vainio (electronics), Lucio Capece (bass clarinet and soprano sax) and Derek Shirley (double bass). Produced by Vladislav Delay, the ensemble’s “raw and natural” interaction finds a deep coherence: the articulation of absolute freedom. This is noise- vital 21st-century electronic noise that cuts a sharp angle between Borbetomagus’ wicked maximalism and the wraith-like aggression coursing through black metal’s more drone-based manifestations.”
It is frankly a refreshing listen, especially compared to the often churned out popular music by television studios that seem to propagate onto the national airwaves by the hundreds. On first listen the album simultaneously reminded me of the following two albums- Captain Beefheart’s 1969 masterpiece ‘Trout Mask Replica‘ and The Mars Volta’s ‘2008 album The Bedlam in Goliath‘, as well as Vladislavs Scandinavian counterparts ‘Tomorrow, In A Year’ (2010) by The Knife and co and ‘Solid State’ (2008) by Pluxus. Strands of music familiarity were highlighted, diverged and submerged beneath the rolling electronic landscape. The above comparisons perhaps highlights my ignorance in my electronic music knowledge of northern Europe, but I am impressed by this album and I look forward to hearing it again.
The song ‘Louhos’ below is, so far, one of the songs I’m keenest on as it builds up into a fanfare of melding bass clarinet, percussion and soprano saxophone. Take a listen, and perhaps you too will become lost in the Finnish electric landscape.