Quaristice is a fecund joy that deserves your attention.
Colin Buttimer 2008-03-03
Autechre is a spiky and challenging word - perhaps in this case you really should judge something by its name. It's tempting to think of it as a mashup of the words autonomous, technical and research. The elephant in the room of that particular interpretation is the word 'music' - something that Quaristice is full of.
Beginning in billowing sheets of synthesis, the duo's ninth album progresses through twenty diverse stages before a sense of exhausted entropy sets in. Throughout its 73 minutes, Autechre convincingly wield radical abstraction with an impressive sense of emotional heft. Even at their most spectrally alien, there's something of the essence of functional, dancefloor thrill about their music. You'll also find brilliant alien landscapes, unexpected dramas, hyperspeed acceleration and much else here.
Melody - something Autechre have foresworn for some time now - is back in focus. On Simmm it's subsumed by metal insect clatter (in a miniature analog to the group's musical career) before becoming entering an impressive stretch of dramatic minimalism, perhaps presaging their next step.
Every one of these twenty pieces is a rigorous world, constructed according to its own rules. At this point in their development, Autechre don't so much negotiate limits as define boundaries as they progress.
Much has been written about how this new release, their first in three years, is comprised of shorter pieces, that this is somehow a consolidating gesture. It would be more accurate to remark upon how Quaristice is awash with music to scare you. In an age of genre-specific music they really do live up to their name by undertaking autonomous - and tremendously exciting - musical research. Quaristice is a fecund joy that deserves your attention.