Vladislav Delay – Isoviha
Two years ago, Sasu Ripatti started from scratch. The noise producer, also known as Vladislav Delay, threw out all his old equipment and took a near six year hiatus before reemerging with 2020’s Raka and a footwork album under his own name. Raka, and its sequel released last year, introduced us to a new sort of Vladislav Delay, more turbulent in sound but drawing inspiration from Ripatti’s newfound solitude living in the arctic wilderness. The two albums marked an evolution in the artist’s practice; a sense of uncontrolled chaos directly informed by the harsh power of the elements. Isoviha, his latest album, is a work that exists outside of this sphere. More an archive than an album, Isoviha was recorded four years ago and finds its sound rooted in a different sort of harshness; the imposing and desolate landscape of man-made civilisation.
Named after a moment in history; the Russian occupation of Finland, to be exact, Isoviha is a tightly wound and intense experience. Its title translates back to “The Great Wrath,” and for Ripatti, this idea echoes his own feelings of anxiety and oppression when returning to the city from the wilderness. The album is thus rooted in disruption, each track more intrusive than the next. The sound here takes shape as oppressive colleges of urban decay and congestion. The razor-sharp, corrosive grind of machinery makes up the guillotine of Isonhua, while waves of static contort and deform on Isopaska into something monstrous.
On tracks like Isovihane, the elements combust into overdrive; loops of distorted, domineering vocals crash into loops of chugging and plodding industrial noise over relentless drums. The clusterfuck of Isoteko twists the sound of dial-up internet together with clipped bits of farcical flute and computer sounds to emulate the energy of a scanner pumping out copies at hyperspeed. There’s little reprieve from the onslaught. iS is the only oasis; a sparse, buzzing soundscape that’s ambient by way of dissonance. Mostly Isoviha is occupied with the gargantuan and our reverence thereof, a reason why the track titles translate back to crass phrases like “big dick” or “big shit.”
The commentary of Isoviha is clear; there is an abject horror inherent to our way of life and urbanisation, a fight for survival that is not dissimilar to, but in direct contrast with, the fight for survival Ripatti witnessed in the arctic tundra. Ours is less about chaos, and more about control. It’s impossible not to consider how a work like Isoviha, right down to its nomenclature, fits into our current socio-political zeitgeist. The nature of humans to oppress each other into submission is the sort of violence that Ripatti is fixated on here, a morbid but necessary reminder that despite all our efforts to shelter ourselves from the elements and distinguish us from animals, the true horror is, and will always be, ourselves.
Listen to Isoteko from Isoviha below.
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