Review Summary: An album of musical opposites. Autechre force the listener to use its love/hate relationship within every track, and for the most part the love takes over.
Autechre have become increasingly difficult to describe these last few years. Their music hasn't stagnated or leaned toward a static composition, instead since Incunabula
and if not more evident in Amber
they've strived to become
ill-mannered in their fashion of electronic. Their latest works sound of a mix-mash of past albums, all the while adding increasingly cold and mundane minimalism within their music. Chiastic Slide
is a bit of a crossroads for Autechre. The group's 1997 release hints at the dark, harsh corridors that the new millennium bands would grab hold of.
Nonetheless, it still doesn't sound like a lost cause; the compositions are tightly knit in a heavy bass laden opening track "Cipater" that merges clicks and quick drum pacings exponentially. It drives eloquently - at 4:45 the creaks and clicks are an afterthought once the mood sets in, it's almost compulsive to sit through it and listen to the watery high-toned keyboard that heeds through. Chiastic Slide
bellows forward in its low voice and murky movements as shown by "Rettic AC". Its overly noticeable distortion of noise is, like the previous song, an afterthought - instead we focus on the serene backdrop. This evolution of sorts for Autechre is endearing, in the sense that we'll never see them in this type of form. They are molding their future albums off of Chiastic Slide
; gone are soft, simple electronic presence within Incunabula
or the dense warmth of synths within Amber
. This is a different animal and it shows itself to be something of an experimental project for Booth and Brown.
Thus this animal
is showcased in a harsh reality of hard break beats with a circus number keyboard in "Cichlii", something exceptionally telling. A pattern develops within the structure of Chiastic Slide
....it envelops in the polar opposites of musicality within every track. A insensitive, if not callous, repetitive drum break accompanied by a serene, concentrated, ethereal keyboard or tone(s) that eventually overtakes the entire song whole. It's something to be perceived and to be heard on their fourth release. Once a song lets go as it does in "Cichli" (you know that circus keyboard contrast to the hard repetition of drum breaks) it something that is utterly relaxing, in every sense of the word.
It would be easy to say Autechre have no sense of improving themselves, but album after album since their debut, they've mixed it up, to the point of uncomfortably for themselves. So what does Autechre bring here? A darker, colder overtone from Amber
. A super contrasted sound within every song that works in almost every accord. A serene, ethereal, or sometimes eerie backdrop within Chiastic Slide
. For something that seems to rub our ears the wrong way in every 6 minutes, there's another audio track of harmony infused within those every 6 minutes we hate.