AUTECHRE: Quaristice (Warp Records)


Posted on Feb 20th 2008 01:36 am

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Autechre: Quaristice

Warp Records 2008
20 Tracks. 73mins16secs

Warm and soothing electronic waves crushing over textured beat-less soundscapes haven’t been the staple diet of Autechre for some time, but it is exactly the angle that Sean Booth and Rob Brown have chosen to open the festivities on Quaristice. Far from the infinitely detailed sonic displays of their last three albums, Booth and Brown, now well into their second decade of collaborative work, have deflected their trajectory just enough to shine a very different light on their past work and give their sound a surprisingly playful twist.

The result is a thoroughly eclectic and colourful palette of short tracks, most of which clocking between three and five minutes, which alternates between hectic rhythmic constructions (The Plc, Plyphon, fwzE, chenc9), elegant melodic pieces (Simmm, Theswere) and granular atmospheric, textural or isolationist formations (Altibzz, Notwo, Outh9X). While these have all inhabited their work in one form or another at some point, it is the first time they have all been juxtaposed with such urgency and effervescence, and contextualised in such a radical way. Here, the grinding organic textures of Chiastic Slide and the sparse rhythmic pulses of Confield cohabit with the fluid ascetic funk of Untilted and the dense electronic flourishes of Tri Repetae to form an intriguingly diverse sonic realm which plays on so many levels that it is difficult to grasp its full span, even after repeat listens. It is as if Quaristice had been designed to focus the mind on a single of its aspect at any one time, revealing in turn its exuberant, almost flamboyant, side, or its more subdued personality, characterised by vast sonic spaces and gentle sonic tides.

In many ways, Quaristice is a much more subtle and less self-conscious work than most of what Autechre have produced until now. While the energy level is much more controlled than what the band usually display when playing live, the tracks collected here are driven by a similar spontaneous and fluid approach. This is very much reflected in the length of the tracks and the way they are seemingly arranged to generate a distinct progression all the way through.

Autechre have developed their own lexicon away from trends and hypes, constantly revising their sound and refining it to the extreme. With Quaristice, their most eclectic record to date, they return to the spontaneity that informed their early work and apply it to their intricate sonic landscapes to develop a surprisingly playful hybrid. The result is a fresh and restless record which demonstrates that far from slowing down, Autechre are determined to continue to widen the scope of their work.


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5 Responses to “AUTECHRE: Quaristice (Warp Records)”

  1. mapsadaisicalon 20 Feb 2008 at 10:50 pm

    This had “milkman favourite” written all over it. Good stuff, I agree.

  2. themilkmanon 21 Feb 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Quite a surprise this album after the rather austere, at least at times, Confield, Draft 7.30 and Untilted, don’t you think?

  3. mapsadaisicalon 22 Feb 2008 at 10:08 am

    Absolutely. Maybe my attention span is getting shorter – too many hours spent flicking idly between Masterchef and Wife Swap – so I’m appreciating the shorter tracks more right now. And…oh look, a bee, a big dozy bumble bee slamming into the window ha ha ha…oh, where was I? Um, oh yes, whatever.

  4. […] from classic electronica textures to fractured soundscapes and arid rhythmic forms. In 2008, Quaristice denoted a clear step away from the beat-driven structures of the Confield-Draft 7.30-Untilted […]

  5. THE 2008 REVIEW | themilkfactoryon 03 Feb 2012 at 12:34 am

    […] Quaristice Warp […]