self released, 2011, DD album, 53m 19s

£name your price

Deletia opens with ‘Lunchbox D’, which begins with an obviously electronic backbeat; this is joined a bar later by a saturated, analogue sounding synth melody, and simultaneously by a guitar. This sets the pattern for the album: it is a predominantly electronic construction, but it is a highly organic one, and stylistically it looks toward guitar music at least as much as it does toward electronic music.

The music moves mainly in slow and undramatic gestures of harmonic and melodic content, with the main focus of activity resting on timbral developments and transformations. It grooves heavily but simply, with an emphasis on straightforward kinesis, although there are some subtle syncopations. Guitar figures, vocal phrases and synthetic sounds (and even what sounds like melodeon on ‘A Final Paddle’) are layered, removed, replaced, reinforced  and generally fooled around with to develop a series of textures and atmospheres. A sense of narrative is generated by the succession of dynamic levels and textural densities.

The simplicity and restraint of the chords and tunes doesn’t make them any less effective of course: it simply gives all the other elements room to breathe,  and those other elements enhance the sparse repetition of the melodies in turn, with each component of the music finding its level in relation to the others. To my ear, lextrical achieves the perfect balance in the complexity of all these different forms of content, giving the listener the opportunity to enjoy each of them equally, or simply to ignore the detail and let the music work its magic.

It’s full of rhythm and incident, but I experienced Deletia as a kind of ambient album: this is not to say that it drifted past unnoticed, but that it trades in the currency of ambience and atmosphere, and that this is where its principal meanings are to be found. The lextrical web is woven in a complex way, but the effect is beautifully simple.

The other major element in this set of lucid and shimmering atmospheres is humour. This is not just to be found in the song titles, but some of them are very funny: ‘Monstergeddon’ (cut from the same cloth as Big Block 454’s title ‘Pyjamageddon’), ‘What Ever Happened To Boredom?’, ‘Penguins Intact’ and others express a wry and quirky humour, that like the music, doesn’t get right up in your face, but sets a mood. Humour is also evident in the way some of the album’s electronic material is assembled, as with the funny noises that go off in the funky section of ‘Lunchbox D’.

This is not music to dance to, although it may well induce swaying. It is gentle music that, if it plays while your attention is elsewhere, will probably just put you in a good mood, but if you give it some scrutiny you will be rewarded with a lot of detail and texture. Deletia has enough twists and turns to keep me rapt from start to finish, but it never once rears up and demands your attention. It’s just there, and if you want to pay it a visit, you will find it a hospitable host.