Automatisme: Momentform Accumulations

Some genres—house and techno come to mind—are remarkably durable, somehow able to avoid the vagaries of the public's mercurial taste, whereas others rise and fall with stunning rapidity, dubstep a recent example. Of course, it will probably rise again, given the cyclical nature of trends, and so too might the clicks-and-cuts style that was so prevalent during the mid-‘90s when experimental producers discovered just how potentially musical the glitch could be.

Automatisme, the electronic brainchild of Quebec-based producer William Jourdain, would appear to be one of those most interested in seeing that happen, given the style of material featured on Momentform Accumulations, his first official full-length physical album release. Jourdain, one guesses, grew up voraciously absorbing the material issued by Oval, Pole, Alva Noto, and Pan Sonic, as well as countless others associated with the Mille Plateaux, ~scape, and Raster-Noton camps. Over the course of “Simultanéité 1,” he even appears to explicitly nod in Raster-Noton's direction when the pulsating dynamo morphs into a prototypical Alva Noto production before our very ears, and it's certainly possible to hear “Simultanéité 4” as something Deadbeat might have produced during his ~scape days as much as anything by Automatisme. Like his forebears, Jourdain threads elements of dub, electronica, and techno into high-intensity tracks that emphasize rhythm and texture over melody.

Even those not enamoured of the clicks-and-cuts style will have a hard time resisting the punch of the opener “Transport 1,” arguably the album's strongest track and certainly one capable of winning over naysayers. For five action-packed minutes, a dizzying array of gaseous emissions, pummeling kick drums, and ricocheting percussion combines to generate a rhythmically charged windstorm whose fury dazzles the ear and brain. As one might expect, Jourdain spins variations on the theme during the similarly titled “Transport 2” and “Transport 3,” both of which offer thunderous, noise-laden riffs on the clicks-and-cuts template.

Contrapuntal crosscurrents of bass-thudding beats and electronic bleeps give the forty-four-minute album a severe, lazer-focused character, and anyone wishing for music that feels spontaneous or improvised should probably look elsewhere. Jourdain's particular brand of metal machine music is marked by a kind of clinical control and rigour that renders it air-tight; one pictures the producer programming the material, activating it, and then stepping back, content to let the machinery fill in the musical details on its own.

August 2016