It is not just the musical fabric that collapses with the deletion of the vocal-subject, but genre itself. Genre isn’t just a symptom of production tools, nor is it primarily to do with reception (subcultures, listening contexts). Genre concerns an ordering of relations within the songworld; sometimes this is around a vocal-subject, sometimes a dancing-subject, sometimes some other focal point. Garden of Delete is all about the erosion of genre in the absence of an ordering musical subject. Musical landscapes recede, repetitive motifs or cycles lose their polarity and fall out of phase, distinctive timbres shrivel and rot, phrase boundaries and metrical cores crumble away.
There are more voices on this album than on previous records; on tracks like ‘Animals’, ‘Lift’ and ‘Sticky Drama’, it is as if we are arriving onto the scene of deletion a few seconds earlier than before, in time to witness the final death throes of the song. In each case, we hear the voices being crushed into digital signal: a fate that is established by the initial vocal convulsions of the ‘Intro’. The album’s extensive lyric sheet gestures towards a lead vocal that was once integral to these songs, but all that remains is a Morse code of staccato vowels and the trace of a melodic shape.
In this respect, the curiously soulful ‘No Good’ is a touching conclusion to Garden of Delete. The barely coherent voice, under erasure, seems nonetheless resigned to singing its final song, as it splinters into shards of digital noise. As such, the song seems to hold together, even if the lyrical and expressive intent behind it is totally incomprehensible. Looking at the lyrics sheet afterwards feels like rifling through a drawer of scribbled diaries, in a childhood bedroom long since vacated, yet still unchanged:
"A king? Nothing
You can die, fuck it