How Trump Happened

November 18th, 2016

gary

We've heard the blame shifting.  We've seen the finger pointing.  By now, you've no doubt heard the theory from the Left:  Donald Trump won the election because of uneducated white males, which is liberal codespeak for racists.  Apparently, there are 60 million or so of them.

When the last shred of an argument one has is a shockingly and unfeasibly large allegation of racism, it's time to reconsider strategy.  They were wrong, so wrong it cost the Democrats everything.  Hillary Clinton must be fuming that she not only lost–she lost to Donald Trump.

Just consider that.  He's the most ridiculous and inept Presidential candidate we've ever had.  Any one of his stupendous blunders or unearthed scandals would have been enough to destroy any other campaign.  How did he get this far?

The answer is simple: anger.  Not just the kind that makes people throw a vase and feel better, but the kind that gets deferred.  The kind that festers.

The people the Democrats wrote off as trailer-park hicks are the majority of this country, not the liberals in affluent, coastal (and overwhelmingly white) intellectual towns.  And they've been ignored and let down for too long.  They've endured decades of a Democratic party that abandoned them in the sixties, paid them only cursory lip-service when it needed to pad margins with the "bubba" vote, then mocked them for being too bourgeoisie and unimportant.

That's why Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania went to Trump.  I know. I'm in those places.  I talk to those people all the time.  They're sick of watching pensions dissipate and jobs disappear while all they get from Washington are empty promises.  They're so frustrated with the system they want someone, anyone, to come along and break it.

And they're not just white males.  I suppose nobody wants to actually travel to Montgomery, Shreveport, or Gary to work the exit polls.  If they did, they'd find the Trump coalition to be much broader than they imagined.  I've talked to black and hispanic Trump supporters, male and female, in those states.  They know Trump has a blind spot for race, and that he's got a reprehensible attitude towards the fairer sex.

The thing is this: they were willing to overlook that.  That's the ultimate indictment of the system as they see it.  They didn't elect Trump because they think he's a racist or a misogynist–they voted for him in spite of those things.

That's just how wretched of a candidate Clinton was.  That's just how wretched the Democratic party is at this point.

And yet, they refuse to see it.  They blame the Klan, the Russians, James Comey…oh, come on.

2016 was the year their complacency, their smugness, their illusion of inevitability came back to bite them.  But they're too arrogant, too assured of their own self-righteous correctness to admit it, much less accept it.  They ignored the people who actually work for a living, the people who have real struggles, in favor of spoiled brats who have to seek out conceptual struggles on Facebook and Tindr.  And now those people are rioting in the streets.  How charming.

They deserved to lose, and badly.  Still, I didn't expect it to be this much of a bloodletting.  The Clinton dynasty is done, having effectively aged out with a feeble whimper.  Their candidate hadn't even written her concession speech before all the sycophants, allies, and pundits turned on her and blamed her for the utter crash the party endured this week.

I almost pity her.  I almost pity the Democratic party.  But they created this situation.  Whether or not they'll learn from it depends on whether they have a shred of humility left.

In the meantime, let's hope President Trump doesn't get too frisky with the nuclear codes.

Y'all $#*%ers Need Talos

November 7th, 2016

11-6-2016_10-52-01_pm

So, the Skyrim Special Edition is out.  PC players have long had access to graphical upgrades and community mods, but the SE brings those to console players.

Some of the graphics updates are subtle, while others are still quite noticeable.  While the frame rate is still locked at 30fps, load times are drastically reduced.  That said, this is still Skyrim, so some of the character models are janky, and many of the glitches are still there.  Expect to see the occasional mammoth falling out of the sky and such.

The mods are an inexhaustible supply of novelty, though.  The unofficial patch fixes a great number of nagging issues.  Others offer everything from small tweaks (realistic weather effects, better companion dialogue) to entirely new quests and cities.

If you never played this game when it came out, this is a good chance to rectify that mistake. For those of us who did, the upgrades and mods certainly make it worth revisiting.

Here are the obligatory screenshots.  I decided to do something different and run them through the G'MIC filters to give them an oil-painted look.

Do Let's Shut Up

October 9th, 2016

clinton_trump

I'm sick of the manufactured outrage this election.  The American public was fully aware what kind of people both Presidential candidates were when we nominated them.  We have only ourselves to blame.

Let's be honest and stop with the fist-waving and name-calling.  We relinquished that right with an enthusiasm and abandon that should trigger nothing but shame in retrospect.

Donald Trump is, for lack of a more articulate adjective, an asshole.  He's the spoiled rich kid, the bully, the fraternity jock who hopes a comely cheerleader will get drunk enough not to remember who took advantage of her in the morning.  The evidence of his disdain for nonwhite elites is apparent to anyone who knows how to use Google, and it always has been.

Those who voted for him in the primaries should have known this.  The only explanation is that we're truly desperate or that we chose to disregard that in favor of bumper-sticker slogans.

The Left doesn't get a pass.  To them, Trump is a blessing.  Hillary Clinton should get on her knees every morning and thank whatever higher power she believes in that she has him for an opponent and not a competent politician.  Let's be honest: in their backrooms and meetings, her campaign staff celebrates every time some woeful piece of his past comes to light.

So does the press.  When a new bombshell drops, they high-five each other.  When the cameras roll, they smooth their jackets, put on an air of righteous indignation, and pretend to be appalled.  If they had a shred of integrity, they'd admit they are absolutely loving this.

The fireworks have an ancillary effect of distracting the public from what an awful politician and human being Hillary Clinton has been.  Is it really coincidence that Trump's soap opera comments fell into the hands of CNN the same day transcripts of Clinton's Wall Street speeches were leaked?  Really.  Come on.

I remember the 1990's.  I remember when Ms. Clinton did her best to discredit and slander the women her husband abused.

I remember when she urged him not to intervene in the Bosnian genocide because it was potentially "a Vietnam that would compromise health care reform," which was Ms. Clinton's pet project at the time.

I remember her full-throated support for the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which increased our minority prison population by 60%.  If there's a candidate who should be pilloried by criminal-justice reformers, it's not Trump.

Then there's the whole issue with the personal email server.  Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier could face up to thirty years in prison for mishandling classified information, even though there is no evidence he planned to share it with anyone outside the chain of command. Clinton did the exact same thing, but on a larger scale, and for a longer span of time.  She got a pass from the FBI because there was no evidence she meant any harm.

The double standard, and the obvious fact that the FBI investigation was managed by the administration, doesn't seem to bother anyone, least of all her supporters.

Why?  Because they believe her personal reinvention as a "progressive," or because they simply "want to see a woman President."   To this end, they voted for her despite the fact she's pretty much the monster Trump is.  His crime may be that he's an incompetent and awful person, but hers is naked corruption.

So, here we are.  Both choices are wretched, but let's at least show some sliver of honesty.  There were other candidates, but this is what we chose.  Voting has its consequences.  Not voting has its consequences.  We get the government we deserve, and in 2016, this is apparently it.

The Lonely World of No Man's Sky

August 21st, 2016

This may be one of the most hyped media properties of the last two years. There was no way the finished product would live up to expectations, especially when those were built on unrealistic assumptions.

This isn't an outer-space shoot 'em up. Players looking for a fast-paced action game are going to be disappointed. Is it the fault of the developers? No. They promised an exploration game built on a dynamic, procedurally-generated universe. On that score, they delivered.

What we do get is a haunting, quiet experience. It rewards, well, just walking around and enjoying the world it creates. There are no easy answers, and the player is expected to figure out the mechanics and lore himself. Its only presumption is that we simply live in it, which is a brave design choice on its own.

The Democrats don't care about gun violence

July 24th, 2016

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 18: Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., talks with reporters outside of the senate luncheons in the Capitol, November 18, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)  (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Oh, sure, they pretend to.  They make sure the media sees their crocodile tears following every public shooting.  They do their little sit-ins for measures that gut due process, and they push selective gun bans that do nothing about the underlying madness that grips our society.

But when it comes to initiatives that actually reduce violence, they clam up.  Case in point:  current Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine.  As Mayor of Richmond, he backed a program that actually reduced gun violence, and now he's taking flak for it.

That's not Alanis Morissette irony; it's the real thing.  Democrats don't really care about inner-city violence, which represents the vast majority of firearms-related homicides in this country.  They care about symbolic gestures that score them political points.

Among other things, Project Exile was notable for receiving the support of both the NRA and the Brady Campaign (then known as Handgun Control, Inc.).  It was hailed by law enforcement.  So, what happened?  Within four years, it withered away from a lack of funding and complaints that people who actually committed crimes with guns were receiving stiff prison sentences.

Another effective strategy was Operation Ceasefire, a deterrence program lauded by the DOJ for reducing Boston's juvenile homicide rate by 63%. The so-called Boston Miracle was empirically verifiable, and its results were repeatable.

So, where are we on that now?  Interest waned, and the money followed.  Then the Newtown shooting put guns back on the political radar.  The President said he wanted a "conversation" on gun violence, and that all the cards were supposedly on the table.

California pastor Michael McBride approached Vice President Biden with the idea of more funding for Operation Ceasefire on the premise that, well, it actually worked to reduce gun violence.  The response from the White House was a total lack of interest.  Apparently, the only cards on the table were limiting the amount of rounds someone can have in a magazine and a expanding a background check system that is routinely ignored by gang members.

This is the grim calculus of the gun-control lobby.  The vast majority of homicide victims are minorities in our inner cities, but Democrats only get their hackles up when it happens to suburban whites.

Black Lives Matter: We All Deserve Better

July 8th, 2016

1014182_187274628110457_946782098_n

This group has been a problem since its inception.  It is a leaderless, anarchical mess.  Their juvenile shock tactics have dismayed established civil rights leaders, and their constant drumbeat of hostility towards law enforcement has now inspired outright murder.

That's it.  We need to be done with them as a country.

It's hard to write that because I'm well aware of the sources of their anger.  The unconscionable killings of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and countless other black men by law enforcement are unacceptable.  The disproportionate prosecution, ridiculous mandatory sentences, and deficient legal representation black men receive in our justice system is a travesty, and it is utterly unAmerican.

Of course, to hear representatives of Black Lives Matter tell it, I don't get to have an opinion because I'm white.  That's preposterous and dishonest.  I don't need to be abused by a rogue police officer to tell that there are elements of our system that are terribly broken and in need of reform.  The implication that I somehow lack compassion because of the color of my skin is, succinctly, racist.

And that's the paradox.  Who's in charge of the movement?  Poor, inner-city folks?  Nope. Their founders are well-heeled, suburbanite intellectuals who probably enjoy a higher standard of living than I do.  They can shut the hell up about that.

In fact, they can shut the hell up, period.  They have screwed up in every possible way a fledgling activist group possibly could.  They came to prominence by hyping the "hands up, don't shoot" meme following the Michael Brown shooting.  That very slogan turned out to be an utter lie, the "eyewitnesses" supporting the narrative were shown to have perjured themselves, and the physical evidence overwhelmingly supported the officer's version of the event.

The result?  The officer's life is ruined, and Ferguson burned in subsequent riots.  And it only got worse from there.

Besides media attention and social media validation, exactly what is it they want?  I couldn't tell you.  Their message is muddled and seems only to unify around hatred of law enforcement.  They have no professional spokespeople in the media.  They have no competent litigators.  They have no lobbyists to propose or guide legislation.  They're a hashtag that inspires people to break things.

In short, they exist to gripe about the problem and assign blame, but they have no solutions.  The issues they're protesting are real, but these are not the right people to address them.

I would wholeheartedly support a professional, civilized group wishing to address these issues, but that isn't Black Lives Matter.  The brand is too tainted at this point.  They have only themselves to blame, and they deserve only our scorn.

Hollis, Again

July 7th, 2016

NTsOF

Less than two years ago, a guy named Jay Hollis brought a case to the Texas District Court challenging several aspects of the 1934 National Firearms Act and 1968 Gun Control Act. Long story short, he wanted to build a machine gun for personal use, and the ATF said no. He then filed a rambling, poorly argued case, despite knowing that his actions were illegal before he began this whole endeavor.

I predicted then that it would fail on the District level.  I was correct.  I predicted he would appeal to the 5th Circuit, where he would also lose.  I was correct on that as well.

Well, yay for me, I guess.

He needs to put a stop to this right now, before he causes us all serious harm.

If this case goes to the Supreme Court, Justice Breyer owns it.  He'll have Sotomayor, Kagan, and Ginsburg in his corner.  Without Scalia to act as a counterweight, Kennedy will swing to the other side.  Roberts will probably waffle since this involves machine guns, which are pretty much the third rail in the gun debate.

That leaves Thomas and Alito, who I'm sure will write eloquent (but futile) dissents.  Even if the world's most pro-gun associate Justice gets confirmed in time, he won't have the clout Scalia had.  That's the important part.

We'll be stuck with a majority opinion that machine guns are "dangerous and unusual," and that "weapons of war" or somesuch do not deserve constitutional protection because public safety and think of the children.  That leaves the door open to the constitutionality of bans on high-capacity magazines and semiautomatic "assault weapons."

This is the sort of case Breyer and Ginsburg have been waiting for.  They've both gone on record extensively, saying that Heller was deficient and they'd like to see it rolled back.  The Hollis case doesn't quite do that, but it does let them box the right to keep and bear arms into exactly what Heller said and not one bit more.

Does Hollis care?  No.  Judging from his statements on the matter, his only concern is that he be allowed to build a machine gun.  He seems to be under the impression that if he loses, the only thing that'll happen is that he can't do that.  He doesn't understand, or he just doesn't care, about the horrific long-term consequences he could leave us stuck with.

The aspect that bothers me the most?  The younger generation of gun owners won't listen to our warnings.  They think the courts work like a retail transaction, and the only reason the NFA is still in existence is that us old fogeys haven't bothered to challenge it.  They have no sense of scale or history, and this is where that naivety and unwillingness to listen to reason becomes a real problem.

False Flags, Part 641

June 27th, 2016

peewee

There's a website up today asking that gun buyers "share the safety" by sharing guns with people in "impoverished" areas. The shared guns will supposedly go to "locations with highest incidences of police, security guard, and vigilante violence against unarmed citizens."

Yes, it apes the NRA's website design. Yes, the links all take you to legitimate sites. No, it's not real.

Both the NRA and Smith & Wesson have denied knowledge of it. I don't see how it doesn't constitute libel.

The bigger question is, why stoop to this? That site cost money and effort. It isn't a weekend project by some college student. It's obviously fronted by one of the major groups, but the whois information for the site is redacted.

This isn't the first time they've done something like this, even in the recent past. The question remains: if the arguments of gun-control advocates are so compelling and (they claim) resonate with a vast majority of the public, why do they have to resort to these sorts of deceptions?

EDIT: Fake spokesman Hensley Cocker is actually Jacques Servin in a fake Santa beard. No, really. Among Servin's many endeavors was the fake gunshop ad starring an actor from Grand Theft Auto, which he did in cooperation with States United.

Lies, More Lies, and the Liars Who Tell Them

June 24th, 2016

CllNJrJWEAAhD0S

This has been a tough week for gun-control advocates.  We had the worst mass shooting in American history, and they just couldn't seem to exploit it.  They had a cute filibuster in the Senate, and they got the vote they wanted.  Problem is, it didn't go the way they wanted.

The plain fact is, the general public doesn't consider gun control a pressing issue.  We all grieve at the horrors of Newtown, Aurora, and Orlando, but gun-control advocates would have us believe they grieve even more.  The rest of us just don't feel it as much as they do, and anyone who suggests their hasty "solutions" might be defective gets labeled as stupid, bigoted, or lacking in conscience.

And let me tell you, nobody has more conscience than a bunch of progressives craving attention.  So, this week, John Lewis decided to stage a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives.

This isn't a soda counter in Montgomery in the 1950's.  We're not talking about the dehumanization and marginalization of a whole race of people.  No, Mr. Lewis feels slighted that he hasn't had enough of a chance to show us how much he cares about gun control.  So, he and his friends parked their butts on the floor, had Starbucks and catered food delivered, and took a bunch of selfies.  Look how much fun he's having with Elizabeth Warren and some guy who looks like Andy Warhol.

Oh, and they also used the event as a fundraiser, because it's expensive to care more about things than the common folk.  That doesn't diminish it at all.  They promise.

There's an underlying irony that can't be overstated.  They law they want?  The source of all this angst?

Oh, this is good.  It would make people on secret government watchlists ineligible to own firearms.  They want to exploit one of the most vile aspects of the PATRIOT Act, a law they claim to abhor, signed by a President they despise, in order to abrogate the exercise of an enumerated constitutional right.  I guess it's copacetic as long as it suits their agenda at the time.

But that's not all, folks.  There are cakelike layers of irony here.  The crumbs at the bottom?  The fact that John Lewis himself is on the no-fly list, as was the late Edward (Ted) Kennedy.  Who else is on it?  Who cares!  It's something they can use to get what they want.

After all, the logical endpoint of the gun-control agenda is a total ban on civilian gun ownership.  They can't get that through legislation, at least not directly.  However, this works even better.  Consider:

  • make a secret list, over which nobody has oversight
  • ban people on the list from owning guns
  • put everybody on the list
  • profit!

If I have any of this wrong so far, by all means correct me.

The Sanders Con

June 9th, 2016

bernie-fans-1-760x428

Bernie Sanders has made history, but not in the way the media tells it.  In short, he's committed what may be the largest and most brazen piece of fraud in, well, ever.  He managed to raise $208 million, and he did so by convincing a huge number of gullible children that politics is a retail transaction.

They actually believed his promises of a $15 minimum wage, single-payer healthcare, and free college education.  They deserve to be parted from their money.

Let's start with the minimum wage thing.  It's not going to happen.  The last time it was raised was in 2009.  Even that was the product of a very contentious process that had begun in earnest two years earlier.  Despite having an unassailable majority in Congress, Democrats still had to shoehorn it into the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act.

And that was only to get it to $7.25/hour.  Doubling it in a Congress dominated by Republicans?  Really?  It was never going to happen.  Anyone with the most cursory grasp on political reality would know that.

And Sanders has been in politics for almost three decades.  He certainly knows that.

Repeat after me, kids:  the President isn't a god-emperor.  He can't wave a magic wand and make legislation happen.

(Unless that's what the Millennials want, in which case we have cause to be truly afraid for this country's future.)

Second, single-payer healthcare.  How was he supposed to get that?  Progressives have been pushing for it since the 1930's, and it's never come close to happening.

What's that?  The Affordable Care Act?  Nope.  In fact, the PPACA is the exact opposite.  The whole idea of single-payer care is that the government foots the bill, eliminating the need for expensive, predatory private insurance.  What is the core tenet of the PPACA?  A mandate that we have to buy private insurance.

You know, I'm not even going to bother with the idea of free college.  There's simply no way the logistics could be made to work.

At this point, I'm going to throw temperance to the wind.  How utterly stupid are his supporters?  Do we not have civics classes in our schools anymore?  How did nobody see through this?

So, here it is.  They wasted the party's chance to get someone nominated who might have actually gotten something done while they threw their money at a man who was all too happy to take it and tell them what they wanted to hear.  Now they're left with a scary lady who is most likely one of those lizard aliens from V in human makeup.

Well, they deserve it.  Hopefully, they'll either get smarter or just not participate in the political process in the future.

One last thing:  there won't be refunds.  People actually believe they're going to get their money back because they didn't get what they wanted.  How adorable.  How unsettling.

Unless Sanders wants to declare the remainder of the donations as income, he'll be shoveling it over to the DNC.  That means it goes into a war chest to be used by Clinton and Wasserman-Shultz.

(I will resist the temptation to use the pun "you got Berned."  That would be petty.  Besides, look at what Republicans have representing their interests.)

Even the Libertarians Are a Sideshow

May 30th, 2016

LP wallpaper 5

If I were to sum up my personal politics, I hew most closely to the Libertarian platform.  The problem is, they can't put forth a candidate worthy (or likely) to be elected dog catcher.

Gary Johnson is this year's nominee for President, same as 2012.  Failing to secure the Republican nomination, he went to the Libertarian ticket as a consolation prize.  Johnson isn't bad; he's just uninspiring.  Still, he has more mainstream name recognition than anyone else in the party, so they might as well nominate him in 2016.

The big problem is his pick for Vice President.  William Weld was governor of Massachusetts for two terms in the 1990's.  During his tenure, he supported very strict gun-control measures and government seizure of private property under eminent domain.  Both of those positions run absolutely counter to Libertarian ideology.

Weld claims to have dialed back on some of those positions, but when pressed on his support for gun control, he gave Jake Tapper a response I find far less than convincing.

I'm a lifelong hunter and gun owner (…) I distinguish between, you know, hunting guns and guns that don't seem to have any hunting purpose or potential purpose.  That's an area where Gary and I can find common ground.

The "hunting purposes" rhetoric has long been a strategy of the gun-control lobby.  The idea is to drive a wedge into the gun-rights camp, separating the "hunters" from the supposed nutjobs who don't want to give up their "military" weapons.  Advocates of this approach usually resort to craven emotional manipulation about "compromise."

Notice that Weld spoke in the present tense in those comments.  He hasn't changed, and if Johnson can find "common ground" with that, he'll be selling out one of the central planks of the Libertarian platform.

It's sad to see the party decline from largely irrelevant to utterly surreal, especially when the mainstream choices are a dangerous blowhard with impulse-control issues, a serial liar who may find herself under indictment, and a socialist progressive whose own rhetoric makes him incompatible with the current political landscape.  With better nominees, Libertarians might have actually had a chance this election.

Autechre: elseq

May 28th, 2016

55233-elseq-15

The last couple of years have been busy ones for Autechre.  Exai was an album of staggering scope, made even more audacious by the fact that it was uniformly good.  Not many musical acts in any genre can still turn out solid material with such consistency three decades into their career.

The group has always been known for its live shows, but they've never seemed keen on releasing recordings of them.  Then, without notice or fanfare, they released nine different live sets on the same day.

The marketing and distribution were interesting.  No physical copies are available.  The music can be downloaded off their website.  Grab whichever sets you want; they've said there's no specific order in which they're to be digested, and the sum of them is 8 hours of listening.

Needless to say, it was a huge surfeit of material.  Most artists would be content to sit back a couple of years while the audience digests that much.

Now they've released another dump of what is essentially five studio albums.  I really have no idea how or why they're suddenly working at such a pace, but the biggest surprise is how consistent it all is.

Essentially, elseq is broken down into five records.  Each one has its own character, but they all fit together as a whole.

I suppose going in numerical order is the best way to start.  The first record opens with "feed1," which sounds a bit timeless for them.  It could have fit in well on 1997's Chiastic Slide just as well as 2001's Confield.  It's grimy and largely amelodic without being abrasive.  Having set the tone, "c16 deep tread" flies in the other direction, feeling like a more playful track from the hip-hop influenced Untilted.  Ever wonder what the fractured melodies of Oversteps would sound like over the skittery beats of Quaristice?  "13×0 step" is just that.

"pendulu hv moda" may be the most melodic and openly emotional thing they've done in ages.  Sure, things are glitched out and smeared, but there's a real sense of drama and beauty.

The second and third records each contain three tracks, several of which are over 20 minutes long.  I still think "Sublimit" is the best long-form track they've done, and none of these quite matches it in terms of structure.  Still, "c7b2" is a fun romp in 6/8, and "mesh cinereaL" is a gorgeous track that makes excellent use of its 25-minute run time.

The fourth record is my favorite so far.  "acdwn2" starts a bit like Richard James doing acid house, but where James would play it straight, Autechre completely destabilize it and tear it apart.  It reminds me of L-Event a bit, and I'm pretty sure that's the bassline from "Calbruc."

"foldfree casual" is actually pretty.  It sounds a bit like Eno's work with Cluster in the 1970's, but with asymmetrical percussion towards the end.  The way the melody in "latentcall" turns melancholy and disintegrates makes me think they've been listening to Tim Hecker lately. Not a bad thing at all.

"7th slip" got on my nerves until it didn't.  I had to listen to it twice before I got what they were doing. It's like a broadcast of a 1930's swing radio station, intercepted and remixed by aliens.  Or Philip Jeck.

"freulaeux" is, I kid you not, an almost straightforward house track with a 4/4 beat.  The overlying textures sound like something from Draft 7.30, but there's no denying how…well, it's optimistic and sunny in a way that doesn't seem the least bit out of character.

I could go on, but it would defeat the point.  I get two impressions from the record(s).  The first is that there's a certain syncretism going on here.  I'm hearing elements from just about every period in their history.  Listen closely and you'll hear a bassline that wouldn't have been out of place on one of their Basscadet remixes.  In other spots, the melodic framework feels like something from Tri Repetae.  Structures and rhythmic elements from Chiastic Slide and Confield pop up from time to time.

That brings me to the second impression.  This feels like an improvised set.  Sure, it's obvious these tracks all had a general plan, but there's also a very loose feel to everything.  Despite its broad sprawl, Exai still felt tight and controlled.  This time around, things are much less formal.  I don't think I'd ever accuse Autechre of being sloppy, but I get a playful, relaxed feeling from this batch of material that's never really been apparent before.

I can't confirm it, but this all feels like they've taken the methods and software they use for their live shows and used it to create material in the studio.  I've always held the view that every Autechre record has a theme of sorts, and I'm going to venture that the theme for this one was studio improvisation.

So, is it good?  Yes, very.

Should you drop the money for 4 hours' material?  If you're a fan, yes.  There are a few so-so tracks, but this is solid work overall, with more than a few pleasant surprises.  If you're not, I'd suggest the first or fourth records to start.

Next Page »