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"Quaristice"

28 February 2008, 10:30 Written by Ro Cemm
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autechre_albumcover.jpg Earlier this month, the bods up at Myspace HQ did some number crunching, analysing various visitor data and coming up with various trends that will be ‘hot for 2008’. Apparently a new trend to hit the streets will be ‘double dressing’: the act of dressing identically to your friends. With regards to music, the frankly made up sounding genres of toystep/joystick jungle (that will be DJ Scotch Egg then), Bassline and Tapemusic will all be big this year. Somewhat surprisingly IDM or ‘intelligent dance music’ (basically a euphemism for dance music that you can listen to without having beer tipped over you are being leered at in a hideous high street disease-pit/nightclub) also featured in this list. Although it isn’t likely that Rob Brown and Sean Booth have ever indulged in double dressing, a resurgent interest in IDM would be good news for them, as Autechre are seen by many as pioneers of the movement. 15 years into their recording career, Quaristice sees Brown and Booth still able to bring something new to the table.The album is bookended by two slow burning, contemplative pieces, which use drones and strings to create a sense of calm within the listener. Closing piece ‘Notwo’, features looping distorted key drones and dispenses with beats altogether, calling to mind the work done by Buddha Machine pioneers FM3. The 18 tracks that make up the rest of Quaristice find Autechre as unpigeonholeable as ever, providing slow soundscapes with electronic burbles on ‘Palalel Suns’, metallic gamelan on ‘Simmm’, glitch-ridden acid on ‘Plyphon’ and scattershot dub-techno on ‘Perlence’. The tracks on Quaristice are uncharacteristically short for an Autechre record, a fact which allows perfectly for Brown and Booth’s playful genre-hopping. It has allowed them to create an album which is in equal parts reflective and chaotic, with phases of noise suddenly giving way to bursts of minimalistic beauty, and then fading out again. Autechre prove themselves able to control both the fragile and chaotic here, while for the most part staying away from the nob-twiddling pitfalls that often dog acid and techno records. However, this control comes at a price, and at times the record can feel too clean, and too in control, making the record seem a little sterile in places. While many will find Autechre’s unique blend of sounds and experimental nature hard to get into, Quaristice reveals more of its subtle intricacies on repeated listening. 71%Links Autechre [official site] [myspace]
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