Sasu Ripatti is the producer and head writer behind the project Luomo, his musical outfit that has redrawn the very boundaries of what "house music" can achieve.
Always a shy man, Ripatti returns into view to introduce to the world "Convivial"; his latest, and fourth, album as Luomo.
For his relief though, this time he doesn't have to arrive alone. In addition to a long-time collaborator Johanna Iivanainen (From Helsinki, Finland), this time he lands with a semi-underground star cast; Cassy (Panorama Bar), Sascha Ring (Apparat), Jake Shears (Scissor Sisters), Robert Owens, Sue-C and one anonymous singer who hides behind a name Chubbs.
The album in question is not so much of an assembly as a series of commentaries, interspersed with contemporaneous studio stylings and entries from travel diaries he kept while working on the album.
It is for the first time that there's a real collaboration between him and the singers; where he didn't write all the lyrics himself but left sometimes plenty of room for the collaborators to bring in the lyrics and musical ideas.
The title refers to rather convivial vibe and social atmosphere that surrounded the making-of the album; something new in Luomo's production history.
The main hub to record and create the album was again Berlin as is in so many cases today, but since then the artist has decided to relocate to his home country, Finland, where he finished the album and is currently living.
While beginning the production for "Convivial" Ripatti went back to recall thinking how fascinating and strange it was when he first begun making his version of Luomo's dance music, and how difficult it has sometimes been since then while trying to search for more and newer ways to lay down the seemingly simple formula of so-called house music.
With "Convivial" he wanted let go off the structures and rules, as well as the pressures and aims as to what one should create and instead just took a moment to enjoy making the kind of music he felt strongly about. Often together with other people.
The network of artists and singers he worked with for the album bring about strong song characteristics and wide range of electronic music to experience.
Cassy is participating on a dancefloor-friendly song "Have You Ever", while Sascha Ring makes a touching appearance singing a semi-ballad "Love You All".
Jake Shears does add a piece of glamour in "If I Can't" while a long-time friend from California, Sue-C does great lead vocals in "Nothing Goes Away", a song probably everyone can relate to.
Classic house vocalist Robert Owens gets treated and processed in soulful "Robert's Reason", while Johanna Iivanainen both brings back and takes further than before what vocals can do in experimental pop music.
As always in his productions the vocals rarely speak out on narrow or specific issues, preferring sweeping hyperbolic statements all about seasonless emotions and about transition and exchange, because that is what people have in their lives, and it is his wish to reflect on that in his music.
Aside from great production, the charm of listening to Luomo's music lies in his ability to put people at ease even when he doesn't share a common language or theme with them, with vocals becoming like instruments among synthesizers, effects and other machines.
For some people he might be irreverent for his lack of deep knowledge of house or club music and its history or how he creates his own style effortlessly mixing things up, as though he is willing to embody for the new world all the traits they so eagerly use to stereotype the old world: sensuality, knowingness, an alluring combination of earthiness and high culture.
But avoiding the genre-licking is almost meaningless as these days the dynamics have changed anyway and the fusion is about.
More than anything, his kafkaesque productions come with wonderful petulance about it bringing in more depth and certainly growing the meaning of the dance music in bigger picture.
His medium as Luomo is a little bit canned but also equally sincere. Indeed, if the lines sometimes sound vaguely pre-packaged, it's mostly because Sasu Ripatti, 31, has been proselytising like this for a decade now, jumping back and forth electronic and experimental works and each time he comes back to making Luomo productions he has no guilt going all the way to the medium he sees for him to explore; pop and everything it carries around.
He is nothing less than a great tragedian, holding a mirror before a music society that sometimes would like to hear less stories.
Nevertheless he finds the dance music medium most suitable for his pop explorations, which makes sense when you consider his heavy-hitting resume in the electronic and experimental music mediums.
He resists pigeonholing and is against market fundamentalism but still loves to cross over to pop worlds.
For him the fear is never an option and somewhat through all that he has a remarkable ability to endure, with a respectable and wide-ranging catalogue of unique no-frills releases, with "Convivial" certainly being no exception.