Vladislav Delay-Anima

November 24, 2008

Vladislav Delay

Anima (Mille Plateaux 2001)


Growing up in Philadelphia, I was lucky to have a duo of excellent college radio stations to introduce me to a cavalcade of strange and wonderful sounds that my meager paycheck could never quite afford. My teenage years as well as college breaks were spent glued to Princeton’s WPRB and Drexel’s WKDU because you truly heard the good, the bad and the ugly of what independent labels and assorted oddballs had to offer. One the internet was introduced to my measly existence, WFMU also swooped in to sink me further into a crippling addiction to music.

However, there is a distance or apathy that can arise once you’ve digested the major food groups and the airwaves seem to introduce to old friends instead of exciting new flames. Thankfully, life constantly provides sudden inspiration and spark because one lonely night brought Vladislav Delay’s Anima to my car radio.

It was a mundane evening filled with such highlights as shopping for clothing and toiletries when a WKDU DJ played Anima in its entirety and I literally took the longest route possible to the humdrum mall in order to soak in every single note. I’m a big fan of ambient music that can whisk me off to my own little world and the gentle, stuttering beats, synthesized whooshes and echo of their aftermath gripped me by the collar immediately. That isn’t to say that there aren’t hundreds of other albums that traverse the same byways and highways, but this one clicked with the cold air and sunset on my horizon. It was a perfect intersection of moment and music and I still associate with lonely drives to aimless destinations in the dead of winter. Although Delay’s music has made great stylistic strides since this early release, I always find myself nostalgic for the first moment that his music utterly bewitched me and summed up all I love about gazing at a starry sky and pondering the quieter moments in life.


Basictonalvocabulary (tresor 1997)


Named after the method used to contact aliens in Close Encounters of the Third, Basictonalvocabulary is Surgeon’s second album, but he made a name for himself via his early singles. His earliest efforts were highly indebted to Detroit techno, especially Jeff Mills, whose influence is strongly felt on this record. In addition, Surgeon’s trance-inducing sounds hearken back to Kraftwerk and YMO who both had a strong impact on the earliest efforts in the Motor City. Add in a love of trance and electro and you get a big picture of what he attempts here. However, I find it funny that Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris was the one who pushed him to lock himself in a studio and actually make his first record.

Basictonalvocabulary is best heard on a pair of headphones or in a club since there is a lot burbling underneath the surface of these tracks. His strength lies in his ability to layer complex rhythms in the foreground and background while laying the bleeps and bloops on pretty thick. Repetition is a powerful thing and Surgeon drives each sequence of beats into the ground while inserting all sorts of ambient whooshes in the background to create a subtly psychedelic effect. It has been twelve years since it was released but much of Basictonalvocabulary wouldn’t sound out of place on a Kompakt or Perlon compilation.

M83-Don’t Save Us From the Flames (Superpitcher remix)


Well, this is the other fine example of Kompakt shoegazing discussed in the earlier post. This one may actually best the M83 remix below. Maybe it is because it lasts for 12 minutes. Just look at the man. If that doesn’t look like a man who is ready to pounce on your bones, then I’m a eunuch. To quote a certain belligerent canine puppet, “I kid, I kid.” This one has it all: repetitive, throbbing beats, ethereal crescendos, fey vocals and a slinky vibe that I could listen to all day. It’s only one track, but what a doozie it is!


Run Into Flowers(Remixed by Jackson and his Computer Band)


It is uncommon to find a track that oozes sensuality. I don’t mean sleaze or cheap thrills, but the pulsating, fuzzy kind of sensuality where each drugged beat pulsates and recreates the awkward moments before a first kiss. This track somehow takes the Kompakt label’s narcotic beats and melds it to the amniotic sac of the best shoegaze and ambient circa early 90s and the result is a track which I have listened to incessantly. This songs cries out for a genre that hasn’t yet been fully explored and I hope some warped soul starts specializing in shoegaze via Kompakt by was of Basic Channel.