Monday, April 21, 2008
my dear friend vladislav
it is now late at night after a rough day, which has come on the back of an overly busy and stressful period of constant over-work (any people out there thinking about doing a PhD, i would suggest thinking carefully), and my instinctive response was to turn the lights down, put some vladislav delay on the stereo and then turn the volume up loud. for those of you who know his work, chances are you will join in this little love letter to my favourite producer, and for those who have not yet discovered the sounds of vladislav delay, please read closely and pay attention.
i first discovered the music of vladislav (his real name may be sasu ripatti, but he will always be vlad to me) back in 2000 with his release on chain reaction, 'multila'. while i appreciated its deep rumbling techno dub, it was his next album shortly after on mille plateaux, 'entain', that fully converted me to vlad. since then, he has never left my side, with his sounds providing me with warmth, comfort, solace, escape when needed.
early in 2001 i was feeling rather disenchanted with electronic music. at the same time i purchased two cds, which removed this feeling and reminded me how special this music can be. the first was herbert's wonderful 'letsallmakemistakes' globius mix, the other was vlad (or sasu) under the guise of uusitalo and his 'vapaa muurari live'. both of these cds still sound amazing today, and the warmth and feeling conveyed in 'vapaa muurari' - especially in the final section of the piece 'lunni' - is something i can personally find and connect with in few artists.
it was vlad's next piece of work, 'anima', which has been since i first heard it - and remains - my favourite piece of music. the cd consists of one 62 minute track that flows and ebbs, constantly exploring a similar territory of sound, without ever quite returning to where it had been previously. it kind of feels like being afloat at sea - constantly in the water, but never in quite the same place and each wave being different. i am probably getting a bit lyrical now, but the point is this is a very special album for me that has been with me constantly since i bought it as soon as it was released.
to be honest, following this highpoint, i went through an inevitable period of disappointment. vlad became luomo, and while he did do some really good stuff, he wasn't doing what i wanted him to do. when he did come back to being vlad, the magic wasn't quite there - at least not to the same extent. demo(n) tracks in 2004 and the four quarters the following year were both good and definitely had their moments, but neither were quite able to evoke the same feelings his earlier releases had.
this changed with his release last year, whistleblower. i am listening to this album as i write up this post and i really feel this is vlad's (and probably sasu's) strongest outing in many years. for me - with my biases - this was the best album i heard in 2007. like his best material, it replicates the very unique and distinct sound signature one associates with vladislav delay, without it ever getting boring or repetitive. vlad's sound operates in its own separate world, and while the basic features of this world stay the same, the details shift, alter and reshape (fellow ssg pete wrote an excellent review on 'whistleblower' at RA which inspired some of these thoughts). one of the real highlights of last year was to discover that vlad was still alive and travelling along with me.
i could keep going, but i shall wind up this post. vladislav delay's music has been very close to my heart for around 8 years now. i have never grown tired of his sounds, nor looked for another friend to help me along during those times when i am tired, unhappy, quiet, meloncholic, ambivalent, or contemplative and reflective. vlad has provided company and a soundtrack for me in these moments of my life and i feel lucky to have such a good musical friend.
if you haven't listened to any or much of his work, i strongly suggest changing this asap. here is a live recording of vladislav delay at DEMF, 28.05.2007. also if you go to the media page on his website, there are a number of tracks you can download. these should give you a good introduction to his distinctive sound palette. finally, it happens (and this is coincidental - i just discovered when writing this post) that vladislav is releasing 'anima' with a brand new track. my original version is starting to get a bit worse for wear, so i am looking forward to getting the re-release. anyway, more info about the re-release here. in my opinion, pretty much his whole back catalogue is worth getting your hands on...
ok, i shall leave it there. thanks vlad. you've been a great source of comfort and strength over the years. you're a good friend.