Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Luomo "Paper Tigers" (Huume, 2006)

Artist: Luomo
Album:"Paper Tigers"
Release Date: October 24, 2006
Label: Huume
Genre: Microhouse, Minimal-Techno, Experimental-Techno
Mood: Trippy, Sexy, Lush, Detached
Reminds Of: Superpitcher, Vladislav Delay, Herbert
What People Think: DustedMagazine, AllMusicGuide
Definitely Worth Buying: CdUniverse, Amazon

1. Paper Tigers
2. Really Don't Mind
3. Let You Know
4. The Tease Is Over
5. Cowgirls
6. Good To Be With
7. Dirt Me
8. Wanna Tell
9. Make Believe

Finland's Sasu Ripatti is a man of many aliases-- Uusitalo, Vladislav Delay, Sistol-- but his best-known project is undoubtedly Luomo. With the 2000 debut of that alias Ripatti surprised the world-- or, at least, the world of techno-shut-ins and internet obsessives-- with the deeply resonant, unabashedly romantic Vocalcity. Until then, Ripatti's work had been marked by its drift, nuance, and noncommittal stance-- it was all haze and no solid edge. With Vocalcity, an album true to its name, Ripatti revealed a vision of deep house shot through with swoons and aloof, seductive female voices; for many fans of his previous, greyscale work, hearing Vocalcity was like seeing in color for the first time. Ripatti's next Luomo album, 2003's The Present Lover, was even more upfront; every song packed to the gills with shivering harmonics, breathy vocals, and digital goosebumps. At the time, bedroom producers were discovering not just rave but pop music, and vice versa-- when Kylie's Body Language emerged shortly thereafter, some critics alleged that the pop diva was taking after Luomo, whose star seemed on the rise. But somehow, nothing went the way it was supposed to. Caught up in contractual disputes, The Present Lover's U.S. release was delayed for months after its European release, and what should have been Luomo's big, splashy entrance onto the pop stage turned out to be a lukewarm wading-in. What's more, critics didn't fall all over The Present Lover the way they had Vocalcity. Who knows why-- maybe it was too poppy for their tastes, or maybe their enthusiasm flagged while they waited to be given the green light to write about the disc: American writers wishing not to alienate the album's publicists were forced to sit on the sidelines while the album came and went in Europe. Another three years on, and Ripatti's world has changed considerably. Force Inc., the label that first brought Luomo to fame, has gone under, and he no longer has ties with BMG, the major that fumbled The Present Lover. So far, so sobering. But the surprise twist to this workaday story is that Paper Tigers, Ripatti's new Luomo album, released without much fanfare a few weeks back, is a glorious, outsized triumph of a record. On the one hand, it remains true to the diehard Luomo sound-- indeed, it bears more than a passing resemblance to this year's surprising Uusitalo disc Tulenkantaja, which sounded more like Luomo than the more ambient Uusitalo project. The same tricks are in play-- brittle, overbright synths that shed pixel-dandruff with every riff; convoluted digital effects that treat sounds as though a great, robotic hand were scrunching them up into a ball like so much waste-paper; breathy vocals playing peekaboo across the soundfield, cooing and whispering, disappearing and turning up somewhere else when you turn your head to catch them in action. (Call it the "whack-a-mole" school of vocal processing.) And of course, there's that bassline: Listners waiting for Ripatti to do something new with his low end should stop holding their breaths, because once again, we're treated to that same dubby underpinning, bouncing like a Bungee cord that stretches by fifths. But Paper Tigers is also, in its own way, a total curveball. It's the most cohesive of any of Luomo's albums, by which I mean you can listen over and over again until you have no idea whether it's just beginning, or wrapping up, or pumping steadily through its middlemost densities. The hooks are less pronounced than on The Present Lover, but every track is very much its own song; Ripatti infuses traditional verse/chorus structures with his horizontal sense of sprawl until his tracks roll out like an endless, head-over-heels tumble. The whole record seems wrapped up with the very act of pop listening; the songs are at once hook-heavy and just out of reach. Hearing them feels a little like trying to rescue the memory of a melody that lingers on the tip of your tongue, a teasing wisp of a lick. The songs are as solid-- and as sticky-- as cotton candy. Rhythmically, Ripatti has never been better; in songs like the staggering "Wanna Tell" it sounds like he's trying to tell the story of a stop-start career in the stuttering advance of faltering house programming. And while for the most part the female voices Ripatti employs sound as they always have-- multitracked and harmonized six ways from Sunday-- they're more convoluted than ever, with one exception: "The Tease Is Over", whose simple, girlish vocals recall the Cardigans, of all people. "The Tease Is Over", of course, could well be the title of the album: Luomo is back, familiar and yet somehow freakier than ever.

(source: PitchforkMedia)

“Equivalent to watching a malfunctioning remote control vehicle bump repeatedly into one spot on a wall.”


myrkursoli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

tried to d/l this file via the link provided. got this message as result

Using sendspace through lix.in is prohibited. Please access sendspace directly.

phil said...

hi there - would love to hear this - but sendspace is being a pain: [Using sendspace through lix.in is prohibited. Please access sendspace directly.] so any chance of a direct link, please?!

Anonymous said...

Using sendspace through lix.in is prohibited. Please access sendspace directly.

myrkursoli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phil said...

many thanks for the direct link!!!

Anonymous said...

i find sendspace doesn't work when directed thru another site like sharebee.

thanks for the direct link!

Anonymous said...

Please take off the download link. Thanks. Peter @ Office Vladislav Delay.

death.of.the.left.unfinished said...

Download link has been removed as per requested...Stretch out your hands, buy the works of Luomo and Vladislav Delay, support independent artists...
Be well...

Death Of The Left Unfinished