Vladislav Delay’s new album was born out of circumstance; being denied entry to the USA meant cancelling a tour, so he went away and made ‘Visa’. The sardonically named piece is a creation somewhere between LP and Album, the former due to the fact there are only 5 tracks, the latter because total playtime sums over fifty minutes and the overarching presence of a theme that transcends it’s immediate purpose. Hailing from Finland, Sasu Ripatti has a knack for translating the sounds of beautifully desolate areas of his homeland (for anyone who has yet to visit the country I refer you to the photographic documentation of his summer travels shared on facebook) into movements and creations that speak volumes, even in the tiniest of changes.
At twenty two minutes the first track is a behemoth of a trip. There are moments of clarity and space on ‘Visaton’ that are almost overwhelming early on in the piece, followed by sinister variations in the sound and developed out of shadings that only slightly change the motion but that completely change the mood. The rhythm ebbs and flows rather than being an on-off signal and the piece is all the better for it; there’s a powerful interpretation of the analogue preferences Ripatti has lying underneath the surface. ‘Viaton’ is a more somber affair that begins reminiscent of a funeral march and chugs along with a melancholy aching. As developments take place there is a bitter anger that comes through the scintillating staccato rhythm to then be transported to a much higher place; one can almost imagine a journey through caves and forests to arrive at a mountaintop. ‘Viisari’ then, is the moment of lift-off, where the piece begins to float amongst the clouds. For all the texture and atmosphere in the piece there is a beautiful imagery that goes with it, filtered by a Nordic landscape.
‘Vilhollinen’ is the only occasion where an established rhythm maintains any duration, doing so through call and response submarine-esque signal noise and an ominous, vibration that comes to the fore to then fade away with an eking of acid. The most atmospheric and texturally saturated track on the album and a personal favourite, its’ signed off with a piercing scream that leaves a haunting residue on the album’s epilogue. ‘Vilmeinen’ is the shortest and most innocent track, something for after-hours or in the wake of a long journey – a farewell to the pristine landscapes of a far-away land.
‘Visa’ is out now on Ripatti. Buy it here.