10 years ago today, Autechre released Quaristice. I know that the old Quaristice thread has been recently resurrected, but considering the major landmark I felt justified creating an entirely new thread (if not, feel free to delete this). I have a few thoughts I wanted to share...
First of all, this was the first "new" Autechre album to be released since I had become a fan. I started listening in late '06 or early '07, wearing out my CD of EP7 before delving into LP5, Incunabula, Confield, Amber, ect. Along with the fact that it came out on my 17th birthday, I've always felt a bit of a special connection with Quaristice.
Second, I don't think there's been a single album that I've gone back and forth on more between passionately loving, being mystified over, dismissing as one of their "lesser works," listening to bits and pieces of again, loving as an album, ect. I think though since listening to tons of Elseq over the past year I've begun to "understand" Quaristice more and it will probably now permanently stay one of the ae albums that I love.
Third, I completely reject the idea that "Versions" or "Quadrange" is unilaterally better. It is fascinating to hear the alternate versions, but they absolutely do not flow better as actual albums and they omit so many of the best tracks. No Simmm? No thanks. Speaking of Simmm, absolutely one of the greatest tracks Autechre has ever created. I can never believe that they fit so many amazing ideas into just five compact minutes. Some of the best beats, melodies, and ambience they've ever layered together.
Fourth, it took me until just about this year to realize that Paralel Suns is an absolute ambient masterpiece. I don't know how, but I had never listened closely enough before and realized that it contains one of the most beautiful and simple melodies they've ever composed. I'd never heard the subtle synths in the background that sound almost like digital wind chimes. Proof that they are unparalleled masters of ambient music, and not just in amber's style.
Fifth, Theswere is one of the only times outside of Gescom that they've completely embraced their love of hip-hop, which makes me kind of wish that they produced more often. Also, elyc6 onset now makes fwzE and bnc Castl sound completely normal by comparison.
Overall, Quaristice is and has always been a beautiful mess, a sampling of some of the best ideas they've ever had. I know that a lot of people consider this the beginning of the Exai/Elseq style of album, releasing massive amounts of whatever they're working on at the moment, but almost everything here is far more composed than the much jammier Exai and Elseq. To me, Quaristice sits completely alone in their discography both stylistically and in terms of the album's composition, and it's aged incredibly well in the ten years since its release.
Anyway, that's it for my not very original or particularly interesting thoughts about ae's glorious ninth album. Happy tenth.