Although it features no location recordings, Rakka clearly imparts its theme through a riveting palette of weathered textures, unyielding rhythms and the kind of reverberating, widescreen sound design that’s defined his catalogue of cult, contemporary music since the late ‘90s. While Vladislav Delay has been notably absent from release schedules in recent years - aside from working on the soundtrack to The Revenant (2015) recording with Sly & Robbie (more of that to come) in 2018 - this new album is a bracing reminder of his deadly knack for creating utterly immersive environments at the poles of ambient, dub, and noise.
Inspired by the struggle to survive in unforgiving conditions, the music patently resembles a number of styles associated with music from northerly latitudes. Elemental traces of Scandinavian black metal, Pan Sonic or Deathprod-like power electronics and Thomas Köner-esque ambient isolationism are all detectable in the album’s brutal panoramas, and evidently speak to a shared conception of the extreme arctic’s uncontrolled and uncorrupted wilds, and their frighteningly magnetic sort of push/pull on the senses.
Titled in Vladislav’s typically alliterative style, the tracks cascade in aggressive iterations of gravel-swilled rhythm and tonal attrition. The barely-harnessed might of opener, Rakka triggers a chain reaction on events that follows into a sort of blast-beaten ambience in Raajat, and what sounds like throttled blvck metvl vocals meshed with flashcore in Rakkine, whilst Rampa hammers home a martial noise techno tattoo, and the final couplet take this sound to its logical end-of-earth degrees with breathtaking form.