In the time it took Vladislav Delay to produce another record under the Uusitalo guise, he released a full-length album of material with his partner AGF under the guise AGF/DLAY, collaborated with AGF and Craig Armstrong for the Dolls project, released several remixes and a full-length under the Luomo moniker as well as a solo album under his own name. So you can't exactly say he was slacking or taking a creative sabbatical. Released on his Huume imprint (oh yeah, he also started a record label during this period), Tulenkantaja is very similar to Vapaa Muurari, but also leans toward the textures of Luomo's Vocal City with its dancefloor-friendly rhythms and straightforward melodic basslines. Many of his signature moves are also involved in Tulenkantaja's creations: lengthy passages with ethereal minor key synth lines, field recordings and improvisational noises, and moments where the drum machines fade into the background and let the almost incidental movement of all of the melodic elements carry the tune. However, unlike anything he's done in the past, this album also weaves a narrative of his family's involvement with the literary arts: his father is an accomplished author and his grandmother was a crucial member of a Finnish radical literary group in the '40s. With photos taken from his home in Finland and literary excerpts from his family's work, this may be the most personal and intimate look at Delay's life to date. Fans of any of his earlier releases will no doubt have an easy time enjoying this, as there's something here for everyone to enjoy, regardless of alter ego preference. It's focused, well produced, and warrants repeated listening, for there's something going on with every bar and beat that could easily be missed with a first-time casual listen.
AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston