Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 02:23:22 -0500
From: Michael Upton 
Subject: 'Kemikoski' - Conoco

I just received the latest 12" by Vladislav Delay, recording under the
name Conoco. It's called 'Kemikoski', out on the label Sigma Editions.
It's probably the initial buzz talking, but I'd say right now that this is
the best release by him that I've heard.

If you've heard Vladislav Delay material before, this is in a similar
style to 'Ele' or 'Entain', but gets more clattery and percussive. That
said, it never brings in a regular kick or does anything remotely
approaching techno.

One thing I love about his stuff is that it's minimalism, but in the sense
that the music is minimal in _movement_ not minimal in _material_. It's
not a whole series of loops going around and around, with just subtle
shifts in timbre. There are many different ideas coming and going in each
track, and sometimes it's actually quite busy, it just develops at an
incredibly slow pace.

In trying to write a track by track run down I've found that so many of
the sounds I wanted to describe couldn't be explained easily. Also, there
really is so much different stuff coming and going that it's hard to
encapsulate all that happens in any track. Oh well... here goes nothing.

'Koski' is one damn long track, probably somewhere around 20 minutes (I
wasn't timing) building around a weird, irregular bass tone and some very
distant pads. A lot of the percussive layers coming through sound to me
like echoes which then hiccup. Like if instead of an old tape-based echo
box there was somehow a vinyl one, and the needle was jumping.

Side B has the more percussive tracks, but the percussion is still a bunch
of twisted noises, nothing even approximating traditional drum kit sounds.
'Keppi' has a more explicit dub thing going on, with muted reverb drenched
clattering and very Pole-like echoing chords. I can definitely imagine
anyone who liked the Kit Clayton stuff on ~scape or Mimic and the Model
really enjoying this, without it really sounding like that at all.

'Ventola' is my fave. The lolloping percussion rolls around in the
background in a way that reminds me of 'Nautical Nuba' by Porter Ricks.
However, once again, it's way more rhythmically irregular than Chain
Reaction comparisons might suggest, and would never EVER be considered
techno. Even the percussion track I'm thinking of soon gets swamped by a
series of loud cracks and glitches, right up front. The track gives way to
big sustained synth chords, right up front, while a distorted wall of
delay feedback roars away in the background. Still, even the synth sounds
aren't safe from the glitch factor, and soon enough all the frequencies
are being wrenched all over the show before regaining some sanity for a
gentle fade out.


PS. I tried to avoid writing this review without the word "glitch", but

Jet Jaguar MP3s


(writer unknown:)

CONOCO: Kemikoski (SIGMA007) LP

The tracks Koski and Keppi, in particular, share many of the same
interests that Delay explored with 'Ele', from the length of the tracks,
20 and 16 minutes respectively, to their methods of construction. These
two tracks hint at consistent beats more than they hold them and when the
rhythm is allowed to solidify its deconstruction begins again almost

Delay's refusal to "ground" the music could be seen as an attempt to
evade the hypnotism of techno and the refusal to leave the music free
enough to float, an attempt to evade the dreamy and disinterested
listening state encouraged by ambient music. As with 'Ele' a strong dub
influence is evoked by the immersive quality of the delay soaked sounds.

With Ventola Delay's concerns shift towards those of 'The Kind of Blue
EP' and to a lesser extent his 1999 release on Chain Reaction. Here a
jaunty and jaundiced techno is experimented with. If techno has been
typified by a kind of health, an ease of production, listenability and
danceability (the proliferation of minimal techno in recent years would
seem to support this view) then it is only natural that some producers are
embracing an unhealthy state where even the most basic tenets of techno
are repeatedly attacked and weakened. Delay is certainly among the
"techno" producers who show little regard (or is it, in fact, the highest
regard?) for the tradition of techno. The tradition is used as the base
for formulating the parameters of an experimentalism that necessarily
calls for the negation of that tradition. An outright dismissal of
everything developed within the tradition would be as senseless as an
uncritical acceptance of it and it is for this reason that even in this
"impoverished" form it still resembles, and warrants the name, techno.