Without a doubt, this is one of the best albums to fill in the large shoes left by ? what I personally consider ? the best Future Sound of London albums out there: Lifeforms and Dead Cities. Sasu Ripatti of Oulu, Finland has seriously impressed me and carried my mind away to strange spaces and disjointed time. This is an album for a dark room, time-space-bending substances, and Ryan Geiss?s amazing visualization plug-in for WinAmp: Milkdrop.
Considering the incredible organic electronic sound of his work under the nom de plume Vladislav Delay, Sasu grew up listening to jazz, and names Philly Joe Jones from the first lineup of the Miles Davis Quartet as one of his biggest influences. Or, perhaps not so unbelievable considering the number of techno and hip-hop producers who draw inspiration ? and just as often, samples! ? from the likes of Herbie Hancock and just about every old school artist signed to Blue Note Records.
Somehow reaching an extreme opposite from the pole Philly Joe Jones occupies, Sasu has created an album with almost no mechanical drum or percussion pattern. He reins it in and ensures that it never seems to repeat itself, emerging as an organic composition. My mind is filled with those time-lapse movies of the growth of plants, or caterpillars eating leaves when I think of how I would visually describe the ?non-percussion? in Sasu?s tracks.
There is always a sense of great space, a sense of a great depth set far, far behind the music in the background. Imagine the music swimming past like the reversed Japanese characters in the cyberspace sequences of The Matrix. Then place this in front of a mail box of the darkest, richest mahogany with small height and width but great depth. This is the sense I get from all the tracks.
?Otan Osaa? is both an unfortunate choice and a great choice as opening track. It is just too mellow and holds back too much for being the opening track. Do not get me wrong, it is a great track, but it may sell the album short for someone with less patience to find the gems contained deep within. It is a quiet, space-ambient track with all instruments echoing as if in a great alien holy place. Knocks and clicks bump into the walls of this alien sanctuary, introducing one to the immense sense of atmosphere in this album.
The following track, ?Kaikki Hyvin,? is rather forgettable compared to the others, but is one that reveals Sasu?s previous endeavors in the ?clicks and cuts? of glitch-core and cliq-hop.
The sixth track, ?Onttola? is a personal favorite. Underlying the soaring synths is an actual beat that sounds like the regular heartbeat of a mildly excited child. There are very strong reminders of Future Sound of London, as in other tracks, with apparently random sounds playing on a different drum so to speak. It appears that while the ?actual? track is playing, other instruments have decided to tromp around and knock things over and be a curious nuisance in the same echoing room as the ?actual? track, and yet somehow meld in a most natural fashion. This method of composition by Sasu is what makes him so similar to Future Sound of London.
The other great track actually appears twice on the album: There is ?Kasvot Uivat? and ?Kasvot Uivat Alt.,? one, I would say at the risk of being called astute, being the alternative version. The two versions are very similar except that the Alt. version has almost all the synths removed or muted, and is just the evolving bass line and beats section. There is a strong dub feeling in this track, the dub beat being heavily slowed and sliced to near non-recognition. Both are warm tracks and easy to listen to for what should be quite inaccessible to the casual listener.
?Demonit? should be played with the sub-woofer turned to full power. There is an amazing use of bass sine-wave and the only voice sample ? very brief - on the entire album. The dub influence is far more obvious. There is a great combination of power and grace in this track. An annoying rapid ?clicking? that I thought came from a bad recording is really a part of the extreme filtering and distortion Sasu has used on the track.
The final track ?Kainuu,? while initially starting out with all kinds of noise, and general banging of saucepans and kettles, buzzers and distortion, ironically evolves to become the most contemporary track, with the central melody sounding not unlike something out of a chillout jazz compilation. The output of what sounds like a bass guitar has insane gain on it, sounding more like a didgeridoo at times, while a closed hi-hat and guitar languidly play their parts. Oh, and beware, the song ends earlier than the 8 minutes and 25 seconds cited. There is about a minute of silence before 10 seconds of this hideous buzzing feedback screams out of the speakers you were so foolish to turn up too high.
Being a devoted listener of Future Sound of London?s Lifeforms and Dead Cities, this album would be a great alternative for those who enjoyed that sound and would like more of it. You will not regret traveling the inner paths with this in your ears. 9/10 -- Munir Remahl (25 May, 2005)