What does Autechre's new album sound like? Nothing like Barnsley, that's for sure, says Dave Marcia

By Dave Marcia

Melvin and Snodge had set out early for Quaristice in order to catch the best part of the day. At least, that's how Melvin had put it. Snodge was, frankly, amazed that Melvin knew in advance when the best part of the day would be, but seeing as he was a Snodge and Melvin was a person, he paid it no mind.

Melvin was from Barnsley. He wore his Barnsley-ness like a tattoo in the middle of his forehead. When he, for example, ate a boiled egg, he did it in a Barnsley-ish fashion. His socks were pure Barnsley. The man exuded South Yorkshire from every pore, but Snodge had got used to the smell now, and, in truth, sort of liked it.

“Where's Quaristice?” enquired Snodge as he bounded alongside Melvin, the latter's speedy gait clearly a challenge for the stumpy legs of his companion.

“It's over this way, towards Flingflong.”

“Flingflong,” sang Snodge. “Flingflong, flingflong, flingflong.” The word danced out of his drooly maw and tumbled onto the forest path behind him as he trod. “Kworrrr-isss-tissss... kworrrr-isssss-tissssssss... is it like Barnsley?”

“Like Barnsley? Like Barnsley? No it bloody well is not. For one thing, Barnsley hasn't got a great Altibzz sitting in the town centre to welcome you. Look, there it is now,” he pointed, motioning towards a metal structure, strong and solid looking despite the smooth curves of its edges. “It's like that picture I showed you of the Opera House in Australia, but with just one pointy bit instead of several.”

“In Siddinee?” asked Snodge.

“That's right” answered his companion. “And past that you can see the men working at The Plc.” Snodge followed the chipolata of his gesticulatory digit and saw grey-suited men in a pen moving around in a densely synchronised pattern, constantly looking as if they would collide with each other but managing to repulse at the last minute, not unlike repelling particles.

“So why do they live here?” queried the every-curious Snodgulus Minimus. “Wouldn't all the people that live here be better off in a normal village like Charty?”

“I suppose they like it here,” said Melvin. “They don't have to live where we want them to — it's up to them how they go about their business, and if that means living in Quaristice then that's fine by me.”

“I suppose so,” replied Snodge, “even if they do have funny ground here.”

“Funny ground?  Funny how?”

“It's all... squoinky” said Snodge. “Sometimes wibble-wobble, and the air is certainly tinkly, but mostly it's squoinky, with a bit of... jongle-bong too.”

“I see,” quoth the always-patient Melvin, “I can see what you mean.”

“That thing there, that, that...”

Perlence.” prompted his keeper.

“That Perlence sometimes looks like it's going to fall over, but it doesn't.”

“That's right. They've built it so it looks like that, but it'll never fall over, not in a million years.”

“Wow. That's clever.”

They had reached a Simmm, a free drinks dispenser operated entirely by mechanical insects, and gratefully accepted the libation. Melvin always brought a bowl so that Snodge could have a drink midway through their walks. Snodges could get dreadfully dehydrated, owing to their hyperactive saliva glands, and it was common knowledge that there was a causal link between the inquisitiveness of a particular animal and the amount of oral slush produced. Snodge, being a very interested type of a Snodge, was keenly prone to such a hazard.

They ambled on towards a field where Tankakerns hunted rabbits. “Ooh, this is the best part of the day” purred the quadruped as he watched the taut, lean tin animals dash after the hapless leverits, toying with them before pouncing for the kill.

Next came a Rale tree, with gelatinous dark green fronds and a sort of soggy appearance in both bark and leaf, a Fol3 factory where they crushed up old cars and made pretty picture frames from them, and later a kind of exercise bike which, when Melvin pedalled it, emitted the tinny sound which he called '90101-5l-l'.

The two bounced along a pathway made of Theswere (“You see? Squoinky!” cried Snodge in delight as he bobbed up and down) before eventually completing their circuit of the town via Outh9x, the wide street made entirely of old wooden shops, all of which had drips coming off them on the roof corners. They walked very slowly, as Melvin told Snodge that otherwise they risked upsetting the big toads that lived underneath each premise.


Once they had returned home, Mama served up a piping hot soup based loosely on the carrot. “Well then,” she broadcast in her northern brogue as Melvin noisily cleaned his boots in the background, “Did you have a good time in Quaristice?”

“Well,” replied Snodge, “I could answer your question, Mama, but really, just cause I like it doesn't mean you would have.”

“But still, you must have had a good time, or a right stinker, or summat?”

“I had a seer-eeeez of im-presh-unz, thank you Mama,” said Snodge, scooping the last of the soup from the foot of the bowl and scampering off to play.

“Did you indeed,” said Mama. “Sounds a bit bloody arsey to me, like.” 
Qris posted 4 March 2008 (16:05:18)
Sounds a bit bloody arsey to me too, like.
wtc posted 28 February 2008 (23:23:46)
good review = good story in indirectness nice one
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