Sunday, May 18, 2008
AFTER 3 YEARS OF SILENCE THEY STILL HAVE IT. AND AGAIN IT SOUNDS GREAT.
My favourite album since Tri Repetae. If you are new to Autechre you will need some time to get used to their abstract sound.
"Unified" and "cohesive" would not be two of the first couple hundred words used to describe Quaristice, the first Autechre album since 2005's Untilted. The only aspect that prevents Quaristice from seeming open-ended, as a bunch of tracks splayed arbitrarily across a disc, is that it begins and ends with ambient (as in entirely beat-less) pieces; an arc might gradually become apparent, but that would only be the result of increased familiarity with the sequence of tracks. It's disparate, to say the very least, but that is not at the listener's expense. Just by glancing at the length of the track list, it's apparent the album is not standard-operating Autechre; at 73 minutes in length, most of the 20 tracks are more like vignettes, yet the ideas arrive fully formed, never appearing to be dashed off or loosely sketched.
The variety of ideas is nearly imposing, the best of which include the deadened chiming and clanging of "Simmm," the stealth jitter of "Tankakern," the Drexciya-worthy pitch-black neo-electro of "Rale," and the handful of stunning and duly swarthy ambient tracks -- especially the closing 12 minutes shared by the chilling "Notwo" and "Outh9x" tandem. A couple moments, unsurprisingly, border on the inscrutable, with "Fol3" sounding like a collage of car collisions and slammed doors smeared and backmasked for nearly four minutes, and "bnc Cstl" more like a hyper-speed gag of sound effects, its high hats and snares tucked deeply into the mix. While it can take some time to get a handle on its generous stream of components, Quaristice is far from just another Autechre album. Not since LP5 has being impressed been so obviously secondary to enjoyment.