The first impression, marinated slowly over the years (it's been 15 since we've had him among us, delivering records with Swiss regularity, building an impressive body of work), is that Sasu Ripatti goes by the law of the pendulum, going from one extreme to the next. From calm to agitated, from deep to open, like a water or crystal surface, the Finn has been alternating club releases (especially those signed as Luomo) with wildly experimental material. However, the cadence seemed to have slowed down lately: he plays the drums in the Moritz Von Oswald Trio and has his jazz-noise improv project, the Vladislav Delay Quartet, and - save his last album as Luomo, and the short-lived reactivation of Sistol - his music has always be closer to the ambient and amorphous than to the rhythmic and hedonist. Even “Vantaa” (2011), his first album on Raster-Noton, put out the rhythmic fires with generous doses of electro-acoustic ice. But “Espoo” is something else: never before has Ripatti sounded so violent, so volcanic, so hard, as on this 12” on Alva Noto's platform.
Two tracks, one on each side, forming a tremendous, 15-minute outburst of techno with up-tempo, iron beats (on the B-side he flirts with gabber), echoes coming from the deepest of metallic abysses. It's a symbolic record in his extended career, as, save the aforementioned fragments on “Vantaa”, this piece of vinyl is as techno as Vladislav Delay has ever been. It was an unresolved issue, or a subject he had deliberately avoided until now (he hadn't done that with dub nor house), but he reaches an extremely interesting level, and I'm sure he's about to make a decisive modification in his sound. Where his previous efforts were soft waves in a Nordic lake, these are eruptions of boiling water, both on “Olari” (very much in the vein of the compressed and viscous techno of Andy Stott and Monolake) and on the faster, blacker, and harder flipside, “Kolari”. The album was a foretaste, and the jazz projects a distraction: Delay has his eye on techno now, his way of understanding techno, anyway, and judging from these pieces, he's going to bring some fresh air. Fresh as in: frozen and putrid, but most of all different.