4/5 Dj mag
5/5 Dmc Update
RIPPERTON „Niwa“ (GREEN)
Ripperton is a delicate kind of guy. A lot of the sounds out there don´t get him. Those who think that there is no arguing about taste should be well prepared to think otherwise. He knows exactly what suits him right. Though not everything incompatible to his stylistic preferences is necessarily facing harsh criticism. Music doesn´t have to be reinvented to be authentic. To Ripperton originality is more about a certain signature, a unique gesture emerging as the affirmation of a well known grammar and in the repetition of this framework something new gets unveiled. It is about a small shift in the daily routine opening up one’s mind to unfamiliar views on new symmetries and hidden patterns.
This Ripperton guy is a truly reflective fellow. None of his tracks are cobbled together just like that in one go. Not if one’s standard is to meet the claim of completeness, the claim to drop a consistent expression of personality with his debut album. An album doesn´t behave like a captured moment in a photograph. It has the potential for growth. In Japanese „Niwa“ stands for garden... Ripperton`s garden! An idealized fragment of nature. His private space, blooming and withering with him. His daughter Leonor, his family life, the park over the road – The world according to Ripperton – observed from his personal perspective, synthesizing all those varied processes of growth and progress, capturing them in a euphonic sound of the seasons. A window is opening! Two years... eight seasons... one album.
The concept of an album is really taken seriously here. What we lay our hands and ears on isn´t just another loose bundle of tracks. For God’s sake, not another dance-album. On Niwa all the single stories, element by element are constantly fusing together into a greater whole: Ripperton´s Universe. An album in the truest sense of the word. An album illustrated by numerous field recordings from Ripperton´s personal surroundings, charming songwriter-electronica and a wide spectrum of intensely reflective traditionalisms from Chicago to Detroit. Of course Ripperton did his homework. After all, on his album he´s treating all the influences that once lead him on the hard and dusty road of life as a passionate musician. At the same time, those moments far beyond Warehouse-traditions occur, conjuring up vivid images of dewy Lausanne sunsets. Folky downbeat experiments peacefully coexist with deliciously detouched pop-blueprints and overflowing sublime ambient-soundscapes as if the fall of man had never happened. We stay in a garden of perfect self-sufficiency. As much contemplative as luminous; filled with beauty and mystery.
The first track, A simple thing, already points to the new direction and chooses quite a delicate mood instead of kicking in with massive basslines and fat synths. An accordion, a gentle tinkling, stripped down beats and the longing wordless song of a siren, ... At Peace, with Christina Wheeler´s vocals on top reveals itself as a bittersweet 4/4-popsong, whose warm melancholy is nurtured by the confidence of a better tomorrow. Ecotone is the album's first track aiming at the dancefloor. With an energetically forward-pressing Detroitish bassline that constantly pushes to the front and without any need for a brutal kickdrum raises the blood pressure to the limit, tasting like both sweat and madness. The Sandbox is arranged around an African children´s choir and features a funny and unoiled, squeaky rhythm pattern that, combined with the summery guitar theme, forms a visionary blueprint for future electronic folk-interpretations. After this he drops some Old School House reminiscences as a manifesto against a pretty critical presence. Ripperton´s garden blossoms into all kinds of colours and shapes: Ambient soundscapes, synthie-soul, rave unplugged; complex beat-structures, fragments of piano-melodies, guitar picks, finger clicking beats, and those overwhelming mighty string-arrangements that deeply touch you again and again over the entire album. Between ecstasy and animation, compression and decomposition, between the darkness of the deepest night and the sunrays of the early morning... These cinemascopic moments in which all those subliminally transported emotions accumulate to one colossal endorphine-peak have enough power to amalgamate everything, the club, the family, the house, the garden, the past, the future, the here and the now into one ephemeral glow. One glimpse into the light is by far enough to recognise the order of things in time.
The time Ripperton invested in the production of his debut-album, the growth process of each and every idea, is deeply engraved in each of these compositions. Spring, summer, autumn, winter. Every season appears to synthesize in it’s own particular sound. Starting off in summer 2007 each song represents a period of life, each sound is a child of his age. Years written in music as a harmonical whole, wherein beginning and end by nature recover each other and intermingle. In Solastalgia, the last song, Christina Wheeler is asking for an uncertain tomorrow, the piano fades to finally clear away in one last field recording, one last moment of unfiltered reality. The clicking of a record button. A closing window. A garden that keeps on growing.
It's turned out to be an exceptional album. An album that hasn´t got to do a single bit with the uniformity of the ongoing house revival. It is an album for the warm-hearted raver prefering to spend his afterhours outside with daisies in his hair, for the Rousseaus of techno, yearning for a recovery of man’s natural state, for the sweepers of Detroit, for the herdsmen of Lausanne, for the urban naturalist, for the nostalgic that could never forget about Jack, for the lonesome guitar boy realising that everything he'd been missing was a decent beat. This is an album for all the cultural pessimists believing that minimal marked the very the end of the road, for botanists knowing exactly what sounds their plants need to grow to. An album of whose kind there are far too few around. Even more audible on CD. Even more danceable on vinyl. Ripperton sets himself to music here and he´s sounding damn good! Who would want to devote oneself to ephemeral trends while eternity lies just one chord farther? Only dead fish swim with the stream, by deciding to release Niwa on his Green imprint, might Joris Voorn also have been thinking to have it grow on completely unconsumed and fertile breeding ground.
A wise decision ...
released February 4, 2021
Mastered by Oliver Lieb
All visuals by Paul Swagerman
Written, produced, recorded and mixed by Ripperton.
Vocals and Lyrics by Christina Wheeler
Guitar by Germain Umdenstock
Percussion By Daniel Ciccone
Guest Vocal by Masaya
Originally released on Green