Ukkonen – Erriapo

Ukkonen – Erriapo

12” vinyl/digital release, Uncharted Audio, 2011
www.myspace.com/ukkonen

Ukkonen’s “Erriapo” is an extremely limited white label vinyl that has internationally renowned DJs and labels taking notice, creating a flurry of ‘must-have’ criticism that will likely leave the majority of those interested in obtaining a copy high and dry.
Comprised of three lengthy and mesmerizing tracks, the sound here is uncompromising in its expansive, inevitable qualities, yet softened both musically and texturally from what that might lead one might expect. Instead of cold, minimal techno and crisp, robotic 4/4 beats, Ukkonen creates rounded, mellifluous and pulsing ambience structured (or deconstructed) with understated anomalies. “Erriapo” thaws the gap between minimal techno and deep house, swaying occasionally one direction or the other, but always maintaining a delicate fluidity, nurturing the in-between space it establishes.
The title track runs a sprawling seventeen minutes, its fundamental deep house beat and rotating synth throb gradually allowing other elements to drop in. As polarity to the defining synth a bell tone emerges, which later becomes the prominent rhythmic marker when the bass withdraws. Shortly afterwards, other sounds in the track fall into faint background mutations, eventually to be silenced completely in a lingering fade-out.
On the b-side are the seven-minute ambient counterpoint, “Kaksi”, and a ten-minute salve for the senses called “Thrym”. The former sees quiet bass tones and a soft 4/4 beat accented by ticks structuring the track as various rhythmic devices (hi-hat, cymbal, tapping) enter in sequence. The melodious ambience of the outset resolves beautifully into a melodic cascade during its course. “Thrym”, on the other hand, will appeal to more darkly discerning tastes, its ruminative, dreamy drones and easy handclap backbeat flecked with tiny clicks and blips, all braced by deeper bass pulses filling out the low end.
Warmer, not colder, is the emphasis here, however much the liberating, spacious minimalism holds strong as Ukkonen’s defining point. As a whole, “Erriapo” is laid-back and introverted, a cushioned and indistinct microcosm in which to nestle down and hide away from the world.

[8.5/10]

— Dutton Hauhart