After listening to the debut album by the Vladislav Delay Quartet, I feel a sense of relief.
It’s a very experimental and improvised record from Finnish percussionist Sasu Ripatti (a.k.a. Vladislav Delay). Ripatti notes “We cover various moods and atmospheres, from noise and hard stuff to ambient drone and a lot in between.” He explains that doing a solo album doesn’t allow for that much improvisation and freedom, “but with a Quartet, it feels natural.” The Quartet is rounded out by Lucio Capece’s reeds, Derek Shirleys double bass and Mika Vanio’s electronics.
At first glance one may think this is a jazz Quartet, but don’t get confused. This is dark ominous ambient music, not always a gloomy dark and not always a calming ambient. One should listen to this album with headphones to truly give oneself over to the layering of instruments that at times sounds like television static, or waves crashing or laser guns. They’re almost always accompanied by a deep low bass line that truly makes your skin crawl. Otherwise it’s decent background noise to be played low while being occupied by other tasks; this is not something you can listen to with friends over Sunday Brunch.
It begins by growling at the listener in “Minus Degrees, Bare Feet, Tickles”. The mix of rolling base and high pitched screeching truly made me feel like I was in a scary movie and it was night time and at any point the killer was going to jump out at me…hence why after listening I felt a sense of relief. The track I enjoyed most was “Louhos” as it sounds more like an Indian Bazaar than a scary movie soundtrack – very busy and upbeat, with high pitched reeds and laser beams. I’ll admit this music is alien to me not only because I haven’t listened to much else like it, but also because at points it sounded like Extraterrestrials were coming to take over earth. While I do appreciate creativity and open jamming and improvisation in music. The debut album by Vladislav Delay Quartet is definitely an acquired taste.