Radian

Chimeric

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Austrian synth-bass-drums trio Radian has been making austere, arty post-rock (remember when that was a thing?) music since the late '90s. But unlike Tortoise or other, related acts, Radian has never seemed particularly interested in human concepts of beauty. In a way, their stark instrumental tracks recall Autechre more than any ordinary band -- alienation is as much a goal as a consequence of their steadily pulsing, jagged music. This new album, their first in five years, begins with the quite noisy, ugly "Git Cut Noise," which combines their usual thick bass and clicking drums with almost Einst├╝rzende Neubauten-esque rattles, roars, and grinding sounds. This piece is revisited on "Git Cut Derivat," where it's reduced to quiet hums and ticking noises, almost perversely subtracting the very elements that seemed to define it in its first version. In between is the ten-minute "Feedbackmikro/City Lights," slightly less noisy than "Git Cut Noise" but even more trance-inducing and relentlessly restrained. The album's second half is more organic: "Chimera" features delicately plucked guitars and washes of cymbals, closer to electro-acoustic improvisation than post-rock, while "Kinetakt" offers barbed-wire guitar notes and scratchy bursts of noise over tribal/trash-can drumming that, combined, recalls Sonic Youth's Sister, a mood that's sustained on album closer "Subcolors," though that track adds vibe-like sounds and hissing drums for an almost jazzy feel. This is a unique if occasionally discomfiting album that finds great beauty in surprising places.

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