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Quaristice

Autechre

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Album Review

"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.

Biography

Formed: 1987 in Rochdale, Lancashire, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Like Aphex Twin, Autechre were about as close to being experimental techno superstars as the tenets of their genre and the limitations of their audience allowed. Through a series of full-length works and a smattering of EPs on Warp, Clear, and their own Skam label, Autechre consistently garnered the praise of press and public alike. Unlike many of their more club-bound colleagues, however, Autechre's Sean Booth and Rob Brown had roots planted firmly in American electro, and though the more mood-based,...
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