Much of the music Vladislav Delay and Eivind Aarset produced together for Singles has a precisely calculated, threatening quality to it — which is why the track that stands out the least in fact stands out the most.
Track “13” (they’re all numbered), for example, could easily come from the climax of a hopped-up Ridley Scott movie. It’s all resounding clang and anxious atmosphere. The album opens, calmly enough, with “08” (they’re all numbered but they don’t appear in sequence), which then quickly shifts into pile-driver mode. Track “22” (while there are eight total, they appear to have beeen selected from a wider batch, based on the naming) is perhaps the brashest of the collection, the sort of full-body pile-on one experiences at noise shows. Throughout Singles, Delay’s electronics and Aarset’s heavily mediated guitar (the album sounds less expressly guitar-like than usual for him) work in exacting parallel with each other.
And then there is “10,” which is the track to spend time with, to spend time in. It is lulling, or at least seemingly so, like nothing else on the album. No, not like nothing else. Like instances elsewhere, instances that are fleeting, caught between fierce outbursts, inhuman aggressions. On “10,” much if not all of that is put to the side so the dubby ambience can come to the fore. The placidity, of course, is contextual. It’s purely relative. In fact, the air in “10” is clipped and fraught. Toward the end, a mechanical rhythm pierces the fragility, but never so much that the fragility is ever in doubt.