Boomkat Product Review:
Sasu Ripatti (Vladislav Delay, Luomo et al) drops his most satisfying set in ages, folding rap and footwork influences into buzzing, rhythmic fog banks of chopped vocals, rattling snares and wobbling subs. "Fun Is Not A Straight Line" is to hip-hop what "Vocalcity" was to house >> proper.
Since the mid-1990s, the Finnish producer has been dissecting dub, ambient, jazz and techno and mutating the component parts into visionary experimental music that's transcended genre fads. But while hip-hop has been an obsession for Ripatti since he bought Nas's "Illmatic" in 1994, he's never attempted to allow that influence to shine through, until now.
'Fun Is Not A Straight Line' uses an arsenal of rap microsamples to create chattering flurries of words and rhythms; the backbone of hip-hop is present but the sounds are absorbed into Ripatti's undulating grain clouds. It's the most unashamedly upfront material he's produced since the Luomo days, and where that project created a whirlpool of shimmering dub from deep house's trace elements, these tracks manage to shuttle rap and bass music fragments into similarly disparate places.
From the opening snare rushes of 'filthyfresh', it's clear that Ripatti has reached similar creative conclusions as a generation of footwork producers in Chicago and beyond. Footwork succeeded by creating a dance music template that was equal parts juke joint pressure and pure rap groove; Ripatti varies the rhythm wildly but by working with tiny samples and harmonic source material ends up creating a familiar flurry. It's not fully footwork by any means, but slips into that mode almost without intending to.
'monolith' is a hiccuping, bass fwd lurcher that sounds closer to Ripatti's Chain Reaction material, but builds around booming TR-808 kicks and gasping vocal syllables. 'speedmemories' is even better, sounding almost like SND at their most manic, but with a heaving, narcotic textural push that lands it firmly in Ripatti's sonic territory. With "Fun Is Not A Straight Line", Ripatti unleashes his most dancefloor-friendly material in ages, linking decades of sonic experimentation with one crucial component: bass.