Chiastic Slide é um disco sensacional e não deixa a desejar em nada aos três primeiros lançamentos clássicos do grupo, mas segue em uma nova direção a partir do Tri Repetae de uma forma muito inteligente e desprovida de amarras. Em 1997 as pessoas queriam ouvir a maçaroca pop de Come To Daddy ou os malabarismo do senhor Jenkinson, sim, este último muito impressionante mas acredito que os paralelos não deveriam ter desmerecido este trabalho em seu ano de lançamento. 'Cipater' delimita um novo território a ser explorado e abre espaço para a sequência de sons pouco usuais até então. 'Rettic Ac' e 'Cichli' apresentam direções absurdas em termos de processamento, enquanto 'Nuane' resume e encerra de uma vez por todas a era iniciada com o Tri Repetae. É difícil? É sim, mas se você quiser facilidades basta deixar uma playlist genérica de um DJ qualquer rolando que não vai fazer muita diferença no fim das contas, o lance aqui é outro e a audição exigem máxima atenção para ser contemplada de todo.
From my perspective, "Amber" took a radical shift from their prior work towards the ambient and organic, like the grains of sand tumbling down the Turkish dunes on the cover. "Amber" featured a different kind of intensity, with stripped down arrangements and less focus on percussion. "Tri Repetae," on the other hand, took a radical shift back towards the mechanical, sterile. I like "Tri Repetae," but I'm in the minority that does not view it as the watershed moment in their 90's catalog; it's an album of one step forward, two steps back.
For me, "Chiastic Slide" initiates the exponential growth that characterized the rest of their career, fusing the organic with the mechanical. Even better, the mechanical elements sometimes feel as if they're being slowly torn apart, sound spilling through space. Time signatures shift, the machines rasp and protest. Images of decaying radioactive elements, shattered crystals, amorphous lights in ambiguous spaces flash by. Which isn't to say the whole album is characterized by extremity or violence; there are genuine moments of tenderness. The spirit in the machine is at times deeply moving.
"Chiastic Slide" is filled with novel detail, nuance and suggestion. It no longer sounds like music made by humans with synths; it sounds like a series of natural processes becoming conscious and exploring a world of sound. While "LP5" somehow managed to transcend all of this, "Chiastic Slide" is the crucible that made "LP5" possible. And "Chiastic Slide" is the first album in the Ae catalog that defined Autechre as something unique, almost apart from all other popular music.
on this record, the noise becomes more melodic and the melodies become more noisy. there is no longer any reason why polyrhythms need to be composed of anything at all that sound anything at all like a drum, although sometimes it is decided that they should, and there is further no reason that synths need to sound like synths or deep melodic parts need to sound like analog bass synths. everything has been thrown out the window.
however, autechre's journey is an evolution of increasing complexity, and we see that present here as well. the complexity began to become interesting on the last record; on this record, it's actually become mesmerizing. they have taken richard d. james' challenge; these are not songs, they are compositions, fully written upwards and nitpicked as closely as any other composer would nitpick their own scores. yet, they are often compositions of noise, where the computer has become the orchestra; and the computer is of course able to turn any conceivable sound into a melody. perhaps the part that would have been played by a flute last century should be played by a noise generator during this century, perhaps the ambience of a stringed instrument is now represented by the ambience of a pad; yet, the process is the same as it has always been, and this is no less serious a piece of music as a whole than anything by any composer in the past.
the primary improvement over tri repetae on this disc is the incomparably higher level of horizontal composition. on tri repetae, there are generally only a few lines moving at any one time and the writing is, in general, based largely around repetitive loops. this record is much more written in an academic sense and much less loop-oriented, regardless of what the reviews incorrectly suggested at the time. you can hear a huge influence from the minimalist school - particularly steve reich - in the evolving, subtly changing repetitions. almost all of the tracks are built around counterpoint. if you're not listening closely, that may come off as repetitive, but the solution is to listen more closely. indeed, like most abstract and revolutionary pieces of music, this was initially panned by the critics, who labelled it as redundant; they appear to have misunderstood it. they will eventually understand it. i would request a more careful listening, which will inevitably be followed by a serious re-evaluation.
tewe and cichli are great examples of this. on first listen, they sound like simple loops repeated over and over again. however, if you listen a little bit more closely, you can hear a very subtle evolution within each repetition. reich called this process and made it to the central motif of his career.
the fifth track is, again, an anti-climax; it splits the record in half. nuane is probably my personal favourite autechre track of all time and an excellent closer to the disc, the band's first true moving, sweeping, changing epic.
Like every release of Autechre, starting from Tri Repetae, this is not only music for the years, but also music for the mind. Ae can transport us to completely different states of mind and Chiastic slide is no exception. I returned to this record today and I just realized again how good it is. With Cipater I really started to move to the music, really dancing, but soon it turned to a claustrophobic underwater beauty with Rettic Ac. I travelled through different states of mind during the listening of the album and if sometimes I felt like in the middle of a sonic dream, it soon could change to a nightmare. This is music for the humans that we are... full of senses. I already pre-ordered Oversteps and I think that a new big change will happen, until then I am re-exploring every bit that Ae produced. Until then...
This is where Booth and Brown said goodbye to easy listening. Imagine Tri Repetae with even less organic sounds and even more machine clanks... I'll give them credit for wanting to re-invent themselves with this album, but it just kept getting more and more crazy with each release. They used to release several CDs a year (album and EPs) and now look at them, as of this date (june 2006) they release 1 album every 2 years. Its clear they are running out of ideas and the boundaries of complex IDM they produce have been breached. I'd say its high time for them to begin making more accessible music again.
This album is worth listening to if you liked their first 3 albums, as hints of those works are still here.. withing the machinery.