Album: Autechre, Quaristice (Warp)

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The Independent Culture

Their ninth album finds the Autechre duo of Rob Brown and Sean Booth still searching vainly for structure and meaning among a largely impenetrable undergrowth of synthesized ticks and tones.

There are some interesting moments – the sleek ethereality of “Altibzz”, the chattering electro-beats of “bnc Castl” – but they’re so infrequent they seem like lucky accidents. It’s more like the synthesizer equivalent of Tourette’s, convulsive splutters of sound that sometimes form discernible phrases.

So for every “Simmm” (a gentle electronic gamelan), there’s a plethora of less interesting tracks like “Fol3” and “plyPhon”, whose titles reflect their ugliness and general reluctance to engage.

To do something new may be laudable, but to do something beautiful is a far rarer and more valuable achievement.

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