Autechre: Quaristice

Warp, 2008

Quaristice cover

Autechre’s first album in nearly three years will probably take nearly that long to sink in, but my first impression is pure pleasure. The opening track, “Altibzz,” teases with warm synths seemingly played live. I liken it to the first sip of hot tea—very satisfying. “The Plc” is electro on speed. Each note is quirky in some way. About two-thirds of the way through it breaks down into digitized laughter, then snippets of a familiar hip-hop sample. “IO” crunches what sounds like a news reporter through robotic processing.

A few of the tracks seem more experimental than musical. At first, “Simmm” reminds me of a gamelan. The sounds ride a razor’s edge between pluck and percussion. Then more and more of them build, almost randomly until the inevitable break-down, in this case chunks of panning bass. The notes on “paralel Suns” sink as reverb increases, dragging the hapless listener into whale-song depths. Listening to “Fol3,” I imagine a video game where players throw huge, crumbling, blocks of pixels at each other.

Other cuts remind me of an earlier era. On “rale,” electronics groan like branches rubbing together over a boom-chick beat. I know I’ve heard those chords before. On “90101-5l-l,” Autechre construct a glitchy groover from squelches and phasers. “Theswere” is wonderfully melodic but painfully brief, while “chenc9” evokes the style of LP 5. “Notwo” is lovely deep ambience. “Outh9X” builds slowly and beat-lessly with fascinating bass.

Even after nine albums and an equal number of EPs, Autechre’s Brown and Booth are full of fresh ideas. It feels like the varied electronic sounds here grew into place just so. Each part is perfectly placed, like a flower arrangement that would be ruined with even the slightest change.

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  1. Ae never cease to surprise me with their originality. Really looking forward to seeing them live this April in NY. Great album, but yes, it will take awhile to sink in.

  2. ae,ae,ae, very difficult for me! But what a great tracks. It will take some time to really kick in! Like “plyPhon”, “theswere”, “simmm”, “The PLC” and “FOL 3”.

  3. Most boring Ae record ever. Nothing new to the electronic genre. Im a biggest Autechre fan in the world and all this waiting for nothing…have to stay listening all the old records 🙁

  4. I second you, vilbel. It feels like a moderately ambitious fanboy product, a spiritless self-parody. If it were not for their name, nobody would care. (And I’m their greatest fan, too, Draft is my all-time fave record.)

  5. This album is terrible. I’ve given it lots and lots of chances, listened in many places – even on various drugs! It’s absolute dross. It feels like they released it as a joke on their loyal fans. However, they still have a great back catalogue to listen too so I’m not too sad!

  6. I’ve noticed that EVERYONE who gives it good reviews always says something like “it will take awhile to sink in” or “It will take some time to really kick in!”. It seems that they, like me are hoping it will get better with repeated listens. It doesn’t. There are some good ideas and some interesting sounds, but it’s a painful and boring listen overall.

  7. this album is fantastic
    Tankakern is simply incredible

  8. After a second listen today, I’ll concur that this record isn’t all that exciting, but still worth a listen. It’s more minimal, straightforward and incorporates ambience more than anything they’ve done in a very long time. It’s a change of pace that, while not exactly groundbreaking, still has some merit. The 5-star rating here is a bit of a stretch, as I personally prefer Untitled, but Quaristice still kills Confield, which while not entirely inaccessible was more of a bore IMO.

  9. So much negativity on here!
    What were you expecting?! Yes, Draft was amazing, but that does not mean that they will, at some stage, follow with something so immense that upon first play it will crush your speakers into a black hole and end all of humanity!
    I’ve given it 3 listens and have enjoyed each more and more – it’s a really good electronica album – it this were a debut from a new artist you’d probably all be raving about it now for it’s ‘originality’!
    It’s a maturing – a movement with time. 8/10 🙂

  10. I have just replaced Ae’s 1995 Peel Session with Quaristice in my CD player.
    Having dutifully studied the last 3 albums, this is right back in the zone for me, 15 minutes is plenty for it to settle in.
    To those who don’t like it – beware of cheap hi-fi and earwax, but there’s nothing you can do about growing old.

  11. I personally give it 4/5, after maybe I listened to them at least more than 5 times. It really makes difference that you listen through headphone or amp. Sadly that this wasn’t even get into our new music, rotation, and directly was buried into the shelf.

  12. This album has exceeded my expectations. ae keeps delivering again and again. there’s nothing to bitch about unless you’re stuck in the past. *****

  13. I’m an old ae fan since the very beginning of warp; lfo, rdj, ae, the greatest. Chiastic slide to me was the golden Ae era, confield their last innovation. I admired lentic catachresis from it. RDJ died for me after windowlicker.
    After Ae Untilted, I permanently listened to classical and rather rarely idm. I discovered new worlds of “intelligent music”.
    Even forgot the whole idm scene which I liked, the mu-forum, the soulseek forum.
    Found out about the new ae quaristice today. Ooooh, THAT late!
    I listened to it once now. I must say: nothing new. Some deconstruction, some more acid, no really consistent ideas, just stuff any fanboy would create with his fl studio etc.
    Really, if you break down the music on what it is, if you’d replay it with classical instruments, basically there’d be nothing but some boring loops left.
    I’m really really disappointed. It’s just boring. Not even complex (and I’m not comparing with gantz graf!).
    Time to return to Sibelius “Tapiola” again. Open your eyes.

  14. Tri repetae is what I record at mixe for friends.
    quarastice & untilted is that what I prefer to hear with headphones on.
    amazing sounds. be there for 30 minutes refreshes yourself.
    after that play some soul, its beautiful.

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