The artist name I-LP-O In Dub is actually just a convoluted way of saying that this is the work of Ilpo Väisänen of Pan Sonic, working in an especially dub-organised framework. Communist Dub strips out certain frequencies altogether and lands others in pools of reverb: so far so dub, but when the sounds are as abstract as this, that makes for a (happily) disorientating listen.
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- Communist Dub by I-LP-O IN DUB
8/10 Jim Staff review, 08 May 2015
While he’s certainly nowhere near as prolific as his Pan Sonic partner Mika Vainio, Ilpo Väisänen’s solo work is just as distinctive and will hit all the right spots for anyone who misses that Finnish duo’s particularly terse electronic minimalism. Like his previous solo release for Mego and his vinyl releases as Piiri and Liima, which all came out around 14 years ago, this new album continues Väisänen’s exploration of layering industrial-strength rhythms and employing disorienting, dub-inspired spatial effects to create tracks of pulsating complexity.
A big part of Ilpo's sound is how he manages to mine the basic elements of his sound to extract maximal results. There are no melodic and hardly any tonal embellishments to these tracks, but by using gated reverbs and short and long delay trails on his percussive patterns, he somehow manages to generate a constantly evolving series of austerely evocative soundscapes; taking us through cavernous depths, flooded labyrinthine chambers, across frozen tundra and into besieged desert cities across the course of the album.
Sometimes the intricacies of the percussive layers bring to mind the polyrhythmic complexity of free jazz, with tracks like ‘Uncle Ho Sticks’ sounding like a genetically modified Rashied Ali literally heading into interstellar space, perhaps flying too close to the sun and starting to melt. Elsewhere we get some brutalist bangers recalling later Pan Sonic tracks, like closer ‘Benghazi affair’, which squeezes every nuance of pulsating phase and distortion imaginable from a gnarly one-note synth riff that tears around a speaker-busting beat, everything eventually drowned in hissing cymbals and blasts of reverb drenched atonal shrapnel. Exhilarating stuff.
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