This is the fourth album for Sasu Ripatti (a.k.a. Luomo) under the Vladislav Delay moniker. "Whistleblower" represents an experimental departure from the more pop-oriented Luomo material. Ripatti does still rely on a few of the genre conventions of his other work, but he still manages to deconstruct electronic music sounds to create a challenging, but ultimately absorbing album.
While this Vladislav Delay album does its best to turn electronic music on its ear, the keyboards, in particular, come across as the most familiar genre element and at times manage to sound quite beautiful. This is especially noticeable on tracks like "Stop Talking" and "He Lived Deeply" where the keyboards creates warm atmospheres in the background. The keyboards, however, are hardly the main event.
The most noticeable features are the fractured, glitch-like sound elements that seem to bounce into the mix randomly, particularly the percussion. However, it would be wrong to refer to the sounds on this disc simply as percussion. They do have a percussive quality, but do not sound like run-of-the-mill drum machine beats. On "Recovery IDea" in particular, it sounds like Ripatti formed the ripping, tearing, and smashing of actual objects into rhythms and patterns. Much like Matmos, these sounds seem like they come from the materials of daily life, rather than anything pre-programmed.
Dub reggae is the other important piece of "Whistleblower," most obviously in the deep, rumbling bass rhythms flowing in background. From the outset, the bass leaves its throbbing dinosaur footprint on the speakers. Also typical to dub, sounds rise, fall, and echo from the mix leaving small tastes of larger sounds that could be hide or reappear at any moment. It's a relatively simple idea with a powerful result, as it focuses attention on whatever element Ripatti deems most important for that moment in the music.
There is a lot to take into account on this album and on the surface some of it can seem random and a bit difficult. However, on each trip through "Whistleblower" you get a better idea of the big idea behind it all, as rhythms and structures emerge that were once easily missed. It can be both soothing and jarring at that same time, but without a doubt, worth the effort to unwrap. 8/10 -- Matt Blackall (22 May, 2007)