Vladislav Delay Visa

[Ripatti; 2014]

Styles: ambient, experimental
Others: Morit von Oswald Trio, Porter Ricks, Jan Jelinek, Alva Noto

The muscular density of Sasu Ripatti (a.k.a. Vladislav Delay)’s first ambient record in nearly a decade is striking. Trailing after a number of genre experimentations, from free-jazz to footwork, Visa is a return to the base of Ripatti’s aesthetic. The point here is process and expression. What can one’s music show of their experience?

Visa was written during a period after Ripatti’s visa was denied, thus preventing him from performing at UNSOUND Festival (which greatly hurt the author of this review too). Isolation with countless amounts of idle time set in, and Ripatti took to his instruments to make due with what cards he’d been dealt. Thankfully, during the culmination of this experience and the general array of ideas bumping around in Ripatti’s head, an incredible album was made.

“Visaton,” the opening track, is an opus, large and dense. Spanning over 20 minutes, “Visaton” warps and churns out modular complexities at a beautifully angular rate and in oddly rhythmic manner. Jagged are its edges, as it switches modes and tilts on axes. The gurgling curl of the hardware’s output, the emotive-, eyebrow-raising pitch-shift up later in the track shows the versatility of both Ripatti and his machinery.

The soundscapes developed here are wide and complex landscape art. There’s distinct images that can be gathered from the push and pulls, which are less tectonic and more smeared and smothered. Each new track peels in with a warming organic tone, with the chords surrounded by bubbling synth work and seismic bass. Ripatti is creating a body, one that rises from his own, stripes itself of its confines, and walks away to grow even further.

Visa is not ambient in the way that most people think of ambience, as if it should be something akin to silence or background shuffle. Instead, Visa attempts to grab your attention, never loosening, never fading. Ambient music since its inception was about overlapping voices and how it effects perception: two, three voices are one sustained tone across and infinite period of time, where interactions intersect and combust. Visa exploits this to brilliant ends.

Links: Vladislav Delay - Ripatti

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