LUOMO: Convivial (Huume Recordings)


Posted on Oct 30th 2008 01:44 am

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Luomo: Convivial

Huume Recordings 2008
09 Tracks. 66mins47secs

Alongside running his own label, Huume Recordings, and crafting some of the finest minimal textural electronic music around as Vladislav Delay, Berlin-based Finnish musician Sasu Ripatti has also been busy on countless other fronts over the years, from the club-orientated Uusitalo and collaborations with the likes of AGF and Craig Armstrong (The Dolls) or with Mika Vainio, Derek Shirley and Lucio Capece as Vladislav Delay Quartet. As Luomo, his focus is on space-age pop/dance music infused with razor-sharp grooves and wonderfully warm melodies. The resulting disco-tech was first showcased on the album Vocalcity in 2000, which featured six minimal epic pieces, all clocking at around ten minutes or more and appear to combine the edgy touches of underground dance music and the density of his Vladislav Delay records. Subsequent released refined this original template, bringing the songs back to more common time frames and softening the stark techno grooves a tad. On The Present Lover, released in 2003, and Paper Tigers (2006), Ripatti opted for a more atmospheric sound which, while still relying on club forms, presented a more subtle angle, at times close to his work as Vladislav Delay.

With his latest delivery, Ripatti has teamed up with a wide array of vocalists, both known (Jake Shears, of New York’s über-kitsch fluffy disco crew Scissor Sisters, Sascha Ring, of Apparat fame, Robert Owens) and less known (Helsinki-based Johanna Iivanainen, audio visual artist and occasional AGF collaborator Sue-C and anonymous singer Chubbs). Convivial, referring to the vibe that reigned during the recording sessions, is a warm, elegant and inviting record, scintillating with exquisite melodies, warm soundscapes and vibrant beats. There is nothing quite as epic as Vocalcity, but the compositions have certainly regained some of the stamina that fuelled that album. Here though, Ripatti adopts a much poppier tone. But this is futuristic pop music with a clean cut dance edge. Songs like the wonderful opening piece, Have You Ever, or the uplifting and slightly haunting Love You All give an idea of the dimension in which Ripatti and his collaborators (here Cassy and Sascha Ring respectively) evolve. Each piece reaches well over the seven minute mark and balances vocal moments and instrumental sequences throughout. Nothing Goes Away, one of the four songs to feature Johanna Iivanainen on vocals, although here, Sue-C takes the lead, is a slightly sharper piece, with minimal electro strikes curved to sound like strangely linear dubstep, while Sleeps Tonight is given a funkier, if somewhat limited, vocal twist, Iivanainen operating alone.

The rather excellent If You Can’t, featuring Jake Shears, and Gets Along Fine, give this album its most infectious disco moment, but the melancholic Slow Dying Places is a more reflective piece, even as it progresses into a heavy electronic machinery, and takes Convivial into almost ethereal ground before turning more robotic toward the end. The album concludes with the somewhat peaceful and blessed-out stretches of Lonely Music Co., once again featuring Johanna Iivanainen on vocal duties.

With every Luomo album, Sasu Rapatti has brought something new to his template and pushed his music into surprising corners. Convivial is a truly enchanting record from start to finish, and one that keeps on growing and getting catchier with each listen. If charts were filled with cutting-edge pop music instead of run of the mill mono-dimensional wallpaper drool, Luomo would be leading the way.


Luomo | Huume Recordings
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