Thursday, October 1, 2009

i love sasu ripatti !

a couple of years ago, i came across a few albums that helped steer my head into the world of danceable electronic music. one of those was luomo's vocalcity, originally from 2000. only after some time did i realize that this was one of several aliases used by sasu ripatti. the finnish producer has recently released two new albums: one under his 'vladislav delay' moniker, as well as one as part of the moritz von oswald trio. i can't wait to check out those works, but after recently re-visiting the smooth sexy house of vocalcity, i figured it was worthy of discussion here on my blahg. vocalcity is a collection of six seductive, slow-burning tracks, each clocking in over 10 minutes. the formula is basically the same throughout: put together some skittery microhouse beats, and combine them with atmospheric synths and simple, repeated vocal lines. while the album may suffer from a bit of sameness, the quality of vocalcity should become apparent with patient listening. 'market' starts off with a slightly-stuttered but still funky, soulful rhythm before dropping in a female verse about six minutes in. the transition into the following track, 'class,' is seamless, but this time around, at the half-way point, a sinister synth melody takes control. 'synkro' is the highlight for me. deep, steady-going, with shards of dubbed-out sounds--most of which seem sourced from both male and female vocals--swirling off into space under a repetitive rhythm that runs for fourteen minutes, this track is further proof of sasu's ability to ride out a groove to maximum effectiveness.

in my opinion, 'tessio' is the weakest track, but only because it's the only track that introduces vocals before filling out the rhythm, and i find the lyrical content a bit annoying after a while; it's also bound to stop dancers, especially because the last 5 minutes or so of the previous track is given over to beatless vocal samples and swirling synths. luckily, the album ends on a strong-note with 'she-center,' which drops a few bpm's to really let the funk-inflected melancholy dig in one last time.

vocalcity is all about the rhythm and feel, with little in the way of melody. i usually object to vocals in dance music, but this album is generally good at keeping the vocals as mesmerizing as the beats they're embedded in. i think what i've always liked most about it is that it's very low-key: it's sleek and stylish, it can work as sexy background music, but it should satisfy both headphone listeners and dancers who can let themselves be taken away by the rhythm.

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