Review Summary: This extremely inaccessible release has some very interesting, intriguing and rewarding results.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
First off, let me make this perfectly clear: this album has nothing that will drag you in or have any effect on you at first listen or if you are the typical conventional listener. This can only be enjoyed if you either a) are a fan of experimental electronic music b) music with no real meaning (or meaning that you will have to make up) c) listen to this album a number of times.
I don't remember how I exactly found this album. I think I was listening to the last.fm radio and I heard "The Third Quarter" and it implored me to get the album. Vladislav Delay is one of the many aliases of Sasu Ripatti who is also in the bands Luomo, Uusitalo and Moritz Von Oswald Trio. Out of all of his aliases, Vladislav Delay makes the most deep, interesting and unique ambient/dub/techno albums known on the face of the earth and with his album "The Four Quarters", it is no exception. So let me get right to the review (the only Vladislav Delay review on this site I might add). There are a total of 4 tracks on here all well over the time span of 14 minutes.
It's almost impossible to tell when 1 song transitions to the next song because the whole album seems like 1 huge song (like he did with Anima, I might add) and every song doesn't follow any sort of rhythmic structure or melodic structure. Sounds and melodies come and go as songs start up and end. After you hear the sound you wonder where it went to or if or not it will return (most of the time they don't and just move on to a new thing). As for the sound on this album it could only be described as ambient/broken beat/drone/glitch(?) (I honestly don't know) because there are beats on this album, but, unlike normal beats which stay in one rhythm and tempo, this album takes a leap of faith and scatters the beats everywhere making them jumbled and broken as they don't follow any sort of rhythm or pattern at all (exception: there are some rhythms, but they only appear for less than a minute in certain songs for them to actually be recognizable in the grand scheme of the album). The placement of the beats is completely random and it's as if you're the one trying to build the song out of the rubble of broken sounds. This makes the album very intriguing in a confusing sort of way and the unconventional and random sound of the album just make this extremely hard to get into, but holy cow does it sound so interesting. Certain elements of the sound just end up in a cacophony of clustered sounds but make up for it a few seconds later with a relaxing melody which brings me to the melody of the album.
In the background of the broken/scattered beats is a warm and relaxing synthesizer sound on each track which plays the most agoraphobic and anthemic notes on the planet (jazz and new age bass harmonies and melodies). This makes the album a very relaxing listen and the relaxation of it makes it easier to focus on the beats and try to make sense of the album. If this was just entirely melody, it would probably be the most relaxing/sleep inducing album on the planet.
The production on this album is incredible. The beats sound crisp and beefy and you can compare the sound of the beats to sounds in nature like sticks cracking or rocks clacking against eachother etc.
Listen carefully to this album and pay close attention to the sounds coming in and out of the music. One element of the music leads to another so quick and it's easy to forget after 1 listen which is why it deserves multiple listens to fully understand and digest and can only really be enjoyed by listening to it the whole way through without breaks (I've listened to this album about 16 times and I'm on to my 17th time. Out of all the Vladislav Delay's albums, this was the hardest one to get into).
So, in conclusion, this is a very hard album to first get into, but once you really dig into it and start to understand the odd and unorthodox style of music this album has to offer, it becomes an extremely interesting, relaxing, intriguing and unique listen. My suggestion when listening to this album, to further enjoy it, is to imagine for once that you are hovering over a giant landscape in a bubble on a cloudy day. No other sound but this album is what you can hear and you are just there floating in the air looking at whether it'd be a mountain range or ocean etc. In my opinion this is a really weird album that kind of deserves to be in the same category with the likes of Autechre's Confield or something like that.
I encourage anyone on here to listen to this and get a firm grasp on the complex nature of this album.