Vladislav Delay - Isoviha Music Album Reviews

Vladislav Delay - Isoviha Music Album ReviewsVladislav Delay - Isoviha Music Album Reviews
Isoviha continues in the harsh, blistering vein of the Finnish producer’s 2020 album Rakka and its sequel. But while the sensory onslaught once felt purifying, the new LP is deliberately disruptive.

Vladislav Delay’s 2020 album Rakka and its sequel from last year were inspired by his trips into the Arctic wilderness north of Hailuoto, the Finnish island where he lives. Isoviha is inspired by the anxiety he feels when he returns, and curiously, they sound like two sides of the same coin. Though Sasu Ripatti has usually reserved the Delay moniker for spacious ambient dub, the music on the Rakka albums was harsh and blistering, burying his characteristic deep pads beneath stinging bursts of noise and percussion. This more or less describes Isoviha, but while the sensory onslaught previously seemed like it was meant to be purifying, like a strenuous walk or a cold shower, Isoviha is deliberately disruptive.

“Isovitutus” opens with a gorgeous chord that’d be at home on one of Ripatti’s sumptuous house-music albums as Luomo, but it’s continually interrupted by rhythmically irregular, violently distorted loops that see-saw back and forth like a severely overloaded printer. The track peters out after two minutes, but just when you think it’s over, the printer from hell comes back for a few seconds to remind us not to get too comfortable. This happens all the time on Isoviha. These tracks never build. We hear a blast of noise; it disappears and exposes the music’s ambient guts; the noise comes back. The irregularity of the rhythmic grid contributes to the sense of disorientation, as does Ripatti’s choice to keep the tracks to two or three minutes each.

Isoviha is Ripatti’s most abrasive album, but it’s also one of his most playful. The artist claims he was inspired by the “dangerous overwhelming potential of ordinary objects and events,” and he has as much fun creating ridiculous exaggerations of our overreliance on machines as Terry Gilliam in Brazil or Jacques Tati in Mon Oncle. “Isotv” keeps being interrupted by car horns. The voice on “Isomulkku” sounds like it’s being pulled apart through the telephone. “Isoteko” is a small masterpiece of sonic comedy, with a video-game synth buzzing maniacally as it’s overwhelmed by wet squiggles, pitch-shifted harmonica squawks, and something that sounds like a cuckoo clock––perhaps the most reliable symbol of mechanized madness in pop culture.

Finns will recognize many of the track titles as colorful vulgarities. They’ll also recognize the title of the album as a reference to the “Great Wrath,” when Russia invaded Finland during the Great Northern War of the 18th century and massacred 800 people in Ripatti's home of Hailuoto. It’s easy enough to connect Isoviha to Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine and its potentially nefarious plans for Finland, but those are big ideas for a small album—Delay’s shortest, in fact, shorter than some of his EPs. It feels personal rather than global, and as gnarly as it is, it’s not quite extreme enough to work as a visualization of the horrors of war. It works much better as a record of a man of the wild wandering through the modern world, anxious and a little amused.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

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Vladislav Delay - Isoviha Music Album Reviews Vladislav Delay - Isoviha Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, July 26, 2022 Rating: 5

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