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Vladislav Delay
(Mille Plateaux)

When looking at the packaging for this release by Vladislav Delay, one gets the feeling that it may be taking something from the old generic food items that one used to see all over in the 80's. I remember biking through my small hometown and finding white cans with black writing on them that simply said "Beer" and laughing like it was some kind of joke, even though I wasn't old enough to drink at the time (and know that most of these items were in fact a joke in their shoddy quality). The theory behind this sort of simple design was that there was no money spent on packaging, so all the savings were passed on to the consumer, or something like that.

In regards to Vladislav Delay, I don't think that same rule quite applies. First off, this release came out on Mille Plateaux, which many releases are still hard to find in the states at domestic prices. Secondly, it seems that the design may be more of a reflection of the music itself, which is super stripped-down (something we've grown to know from many MP artists), yet surprisingly layered. Another thing about the release (that has really nothing to do with the packaging at all) is that the tracks are very long. In fact, with only 6 tracks (2 of the tracks don't even have names and run only 1 and a half minutes each), the CD is almost filled to capacity at over 76 minutes. What that means for you is that the main tracks average out to about 18 minutes each.

As one might imagine, this is a repetitive release. Sure, there are artists that can churn out 18 minute tracks and keep things changing up (most notibly is the 40-minute version of "Blue Room" by the Orb), but when one is discussing minimal electronic music, more often than not it's going to involve some serious repetition. Delay creates tracks that are unsuspecting in a way. "Kohde" and "Poiko" start out with throbbling, gurgling low end pulses with drones drifting above them, and before you know it they've rumbled along for 10 minutes without doing anything too different. It's like walking into water that you think is going to ankle deep and before you know it you're in up to your shoulders.

Of course, it would be remiss of me to say that nothing at all is going on in the course of these long tracks. Little fragments come and go, meandering in and out of through the very liquid tracks, and if you listen closely there are moments that will catch your ear and pull you into things deeper. By the halfway mark on the aforementioned "Kohde," there are all kinds of seemingly random elements wandering through the thick backbone of the track. Hisses and pops turn up every now and again and parts that border on melody creep through.

As sort of a loose description, imagine if music by Pole were melted down and stretched out into longer pieces, with the dubby basslines so strung out that they no longer resemble dub at all. There's still sort of a groove, but you'd have to speed up the tempo for it to resemble anything other than a murky drift. It's repetitive and slightly maddening if you're having any sort of short attention span at all, but if you're content to simply drift about as it ebbs and flows around you, it can be quite nice.

Rating: 6