Album: AUTECHRE – Quaristice (Warp WARPCD333 2008)

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It seems like there has been a deluge of articles and reviews analysing Quaristice already, and it’s only been out a little over 24 hours (on CD at any rate). Although the press has been unanimously positive (at least what I’ve read has), there have been as many interpretations of the music as there have been reviews of it. The fact that the tracks are shorter and that there are twice as many of them is deemed to be of great significance, as is the presence of three beatless, broadly ambient pieces. Some have hailed it as a return to the listener friendly Autechre of the Amber era, a stepping back, a taking stock. Is it hell a taking stock.

Autechre’s progress is frequently portrayed as a linear movement from melodic electronica to impenetrable, boffin-like mathematics as music. While this stereotype is broadly true up to Confield, since then, Booth and Brown have really been forging outward rather than onward. Both Draft 3.0 and Untilted were warmer and more diverse works and Quaristice really only continues this process of diversification. It certainly it isn’t a retrenchment, or a retreat into the cosy havens of the comfortable.

One thing that they do seem to have consciously done is to distill their ideas into more concise forms, and in doing so have taken three minutes to say what they may have previously said in seven. The fact that they no longer have to deliver an album every eighteen months just to put bread on the table really shows. Every beat, every pulse, every note feels like it’s exactly where its creators intended it to be. This is gleaming, precision-tooled music. But paradoxically it is also very human.

To be honest, Autechre’s music is best reviewed after a year, not three listens. Like Scott Walker’s latter works, it’s not easy to assimilate and appreciate in one go. It needs familiarity. This is especially true of a collection of twenty, very different, pieces (immensely varied, but still coherently a whole). “Rale” is my favourite at the moment, but that’s really beside the point. Quaristice has all the hallmarks of a benchmark record, combining mathematical aesthetics with melodic ones, precision tooling with human emotion. It opens the doors to so many different possible directions that they could take their music. I feel that I’ve barely begun to get to grips with it yet. I know this much, though. It’s pretty fucking amazing.

Tracks
1 Altibzz (2:53)
2 The Plc (4:17)
3 Io (3:08)
4 PlyPhon (2:33)
5 Perlence (3:25)
6 SonDEremawe (1:21)
7 Simmm (5:00)
8 Paralel Suns (3:03)
9 Steels (2:56)
10 Tankakern (3:39)
11 Rale (3:43)
12 Fol3 (3:47)
13 FwzE (2:39)
14 90101-5l-l (3:11)
15 Bnc Castl (2:52)
16 Theswere (2:12)
17 Wnsn (4:57)
18 Chenc9 (4:57)
19 Notwo (5:34)
20 Outh9X (7:15)

Website
www.autechre.ws

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2 responses to “Album: AUTECHRE – Quaristice (Warp WARPCD333 2008)

  1. Yes! I really think you make a good point here. I hear Untilted the same way, it’s as if their scope is becoming wider, and their direction is harder to determine.
    I think that in a few years everyone will understand this.
    that is, if there is anything to understand ; )

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