It’s such a simple premise. One small room. Two entities: a central furnace of soft drones and tidal overtones, and a synthesised firecracker spitting and quivering across the ceiling. Malcolm Delaney adjusts the situation, gently guiding the firecracker one way and stoking the furnace from beneath, but his role feels largely observational. He allows these sounds to be left alone with eachother. Opening track “VOLCE” doesn’t change much, but the dialogue between these two elements starts to feel more significant and deliberate. The embers dripping from the erratic synthesiser start to rouse the soft loops into greater states of throbbing, microtonal complexity. Like a plant arcing gently toward the light, you’ll only notice the change if you’ve been watching things unfold for a while. I love that Delaney doesn’t wish for anything more, or try to wring artificial drama out of his setup. His sounds are never shocked or ripped or obliterated. Instead, they are teased, lured and quietly deceived; he misdirects their instincts and allows sabotage to occur of its own accord.
One notable constant is the duality between a softer base and a crunchy, crackling, clanging outer periphery. “Hay Dias que No Tengo Soda” places a gentle geothermal rumble underneath a spaghetti of broken engines, blistered electrical circuits and scrambled conversations. “Octa Tape” features a core of molten brass, sloshing back and forth over the same bleak harmonic shapes, while the outer edges of the soundscape crumble and melt away like polar ice caps, fracturing and dripping as heat tugs at the edges. Closing track “DAHL” comes perilously close to the type of visceral, panoramic drama from which the record is otherwise forbidden; struck metals and dangerous electrical surges start to turn the air volatile, glimmering and juddering, pushing toward a breaking point which, if reached, would undermine the record’s commitment to subtle tilts and quiet disturbances. As if sensing that the situation is starting to spiral out of his reach, Delaney shuts the power down. Imminent disaster disappears into wisps of feedback. Even during this near-climactic rush he is only quietly present, nudging the energy flow inward so that it escalates and self-destructs. Almost.