sasu ripatti

Album Review: Convivial - Luomo

Ever since Sasu Ripatti's first album under his Luomo pseudonym, Vocalcity, came out in 2000 it has always received high praise within certain circles. A blogger's favourite, the album's minimalist design and sophisticated textures gained it favour with those prepared to put in the effort. Sadly the cost of this was an album without much mass appeal and so, whilst those that know it generally love it, you are unlikely to find a copy in Tesco.

Several Luomo projects on (Ripatti has several other alter egos) and Convivial could just change all that: it features vocals recorded by a series of guests. Combined with, in places at least, the cold yet organic sound of Ripatti's production you get a mature album that neatly sidesteps any of the issues house (or in this case, minimal / tech-house) albums usually have by just making an album full off those crossover tracks that are gold in the clubs but have vocals good enough to make them work at home.

And so you have Apparat's vocals combined with a pretty ferocious percussion backing on the spooky 'Love You All' and Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears on 'If I Can't'. Robert Owens also guests on 'Robert's Reason', a nice deep-tech-house track, full of funky bleeps and stabs that would be one of Owens' finest pieces in recent memory if only his turn on Layo & Bushwacka!'s debut album, 'Low Life', weren't so damn good that it sticks in your head like your first kiss. The rest of the album's guests may not be as high profile but the music itself shines just as consistently.

But maybe, in some respects, that is a problem. Convivial is, much like Morgan Geist's Double Night Time, undoubtedly a labour of love. It has been less 'recorded', more carved, like something a carpenter might make out of a block of wood. Yet the result is an album that is so consistent and singular in its sound and vision that, in reality, each track sounds best when separated from the surroundings of the rest of the album so it has room to breath.

Having said which Convivial is still a good album. It takes the the foundations of previous Luomo albums and builds on these and the level of sophistication never drops below a dinner-party-for-people-in-their-late-twenties level. BlackPlastic just craves for a few bolder moves that stray a bit further from the comfort zone.

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