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Luomo
THE PRESENT LOVER
(Kinetic)
Stars graphics

Few songs have made the words "feta cheese" sound sexy, but Finnish producer Vladislav Delay does so on "Visitor," the opening track on his second album as Luomo. Working under other aliases (Uusitalo, Sistol), Delay has been a staunch minimalist, rarely offering anything above the purr of a dial tone. But his first Luomo record, the throbbing, dubby Vocal City, broke him of that habit back in 2000.

This follow-up is a sleeker, more glamorous affair that finds Delay getting in touch with his deep-house side. Many of the tracks benefit from the crisp but restrained vocals of Johanna Niemela and Watkinson. They resemble would-be club classics gone awry: the drums are small and dubby, the synths rarely play easy melodies, and the mechanical vocals are never inviting. The title track pulses, arches, and drops with an alluring splendor, but a shiny, hollow vocal refrain steals away any attendant sense of romance or glory. "Body Speaking" and "So You" rinse all trace of houseís trademark hedonism from their beautifully spare, melodic frames. This doesnít mean you canít dance to The Present Lover ó it would be hard not to. But unlike most electronic producers, Delay succeeds through a delicate balance of glamor and melancholy, ecstasy and agony.

BY HUA HSU


Issue Date: April 23 - 29, 2004
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