There are Autechre fans who, apparently, believe that Thom Yorke’s favourite electronica act record with military hardware. Such rumours are indicative of how Autechre obsessives see the duo: as shadowy secret agents working at the outer reaches of sound. In truth, while often hard work, Autechre albums have never been that forbidding. Their ninth album contains several genuinely beautiful, if deeply odd, moments as songs like ‘Altibzz’ and ‘Notwo’ are more ambient sound art than songs. Equally, ‘Plyphon’, which could be an old ska tune brutally reconfigured, sounds audaciously playful. There are ideas here that could have been developed into a stunning 10-track album. Unfortunately, ‘Quaristice’ contains 20 ‘tunes’, many of them elusively experimental ear-tormenters. Still waiting for Autechre’s feel-good pop crossover album? Don’t hold your breath.

Tony Naylor