Vladislav Delay, a.k.a. Luomo, must be coming up on 30, but he continues to appear cutting-edge with his heavy, fractured dub. All the fuss over the re-release of Vocalcity last year—you know, words like “seminal,” phrases like “father of minimalism”—left his second album, The Present Lover, somewhat in its wake. Paper Tigers feels like the third in a series; moving in a certain direction in miniscule steps, it’s a big sister to his previous album and, though it’s a perfectly accomplished piece of electronica, leaves the listener wondering just what this musician could do if he ever returns to the paradigm-breaking mindset of his debut. So this album is warm, then. It’s sexy, usually encompassing some form of fractured female vocal. And it brings in bits of extraneous sound to complexify its roots in a dub sound. The artist gives us enough variety, though. “Really Don’t Mind”, the single, approaches a pop dance cut from one of those chill-out compilations, but its effects save it. Luomo shows he can still stretch things out on “Good to Be With”, which splinters and stutters with a miniaturized, relaxed techno influence, a welcome change from atmospheric dub. And “Wanna Tell” surrounds its warm synth pulses with dub beats, stuttering percussion effects and a shattered vocal. There’s plenty to like, just not the revelation we still hope for from this artist.
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