Vladislav Delay's Ele is played out in three monumental tracks. Because of their length, in the subtlest of ways, each piece attains an internal sense and complexity different from that developed between a sequence of shorter pieces.
Ele is replete with musical tradition even though no single lineage can be said to be taken up. In this recording, made on old analogue electronic equipment, one hears snare, kick drum and cymbals. Only this time, the rhythms contingent on the body, which plays a drum set, have been taken apart and reassembled in time and also in space. A sharp fore grounded cymbal tap falls almost immediately on top of a faraway distended, mesmerically slow drumbeat.
At times the layers of sample loops, single insertions, and continuous undulating chords start to settle into a discernable pattern, but these patterns are never quite stable enough to hold in one's mind. This, with the unusual length - by the time the end comes, the beginning is forgotten - means that each piece extends beyond the peripheries of our comprehension.
With the vigilance needed to keep the music from sliding out of our grasp, the music grows in us a kind of immersed attention. It is with this attention that the music finds its apotheosis (as opposed to the covert operations of ambient music).
A connection to dub is sensed in the way in which Delay uses studio equipment to 'play' music, in the way that the sounds flare at each end beyond the capacity of ones equipment, and in certain passages and motifs, like the fade out of delayed samples. It is in requiring the kind of immersed attention which one connects to the experience of listening to dub, that Ele hits on it most cogent distillation of dub. Where dub sounds evoke ideas of immersion, Ele's structures lead the listener directly to immersion. In ways like this, Delay has made with Ele what I.A. Richards perceived in the book, namely "a machine to think with."
- Anna Sanderson, 1999