Review Summary: curiouser and curiouser
Ever had the feeling that the book you were reading or the album you were listening to had its moments of astonishing power and beauty but, like a precious artefact in a crate, was so was padded with styrene filler that it turned into an voluminous mess? You could fill a dozen shelves with black and white albums that suffer from this affliction – too many ideas or too few, too much recycling (or not enough).
In the past even Autechre have been guilty, albeit rarely.
Which is why it is so refreshing to hear Quaristice
– a deliberate selection of musical moments extracted from protracted jam sessions. Deep, rhythmic bass lines and hard-hitting beats feature prominently, neatly sidestepping the knifelike synths that slice through the mix. The maelstrom is, as always, topped off with the usual irresistible icing of bleeps, sweeps and creeps that only Booth and Brown can pull off so well. Making their appearance for the first time are sliced and diced vocal samples that lend the album a swaggering air surprisingly reminiscent of hip hop, but for robots; one could almost imagine an automaton emcee spitting bits over the beats.
There’s no need to fear however, as Autechre haven’t gone all black on us; this is still ferociously IDM and anomalous and abnormal remain the reviewer’s adjectives of choice. Awkward rhythms, bizarre squelches and no doubt a fair amount of Max/MSP programming ensure that these tunes will never top the charts.
Despite the updated sound, Autechre are still the same manic geniuses who gave us Tri Repetae
; now, however, they sound more confident and discerning in their compositions than ever. Instead of being overly lengthy, the tracks here appear to be the aural manifestations of both idle and calculated trains of thought deliberately derailed. The effect is quite unsettling; imagine picking up a book, opening to a random page, consuming a paragraph and then throwing it away. Well, repeat this with your entire bookshelf, and you have Quaristice
The only difference is that Autechre don’t read *** like Twilight