Automacité is firmly rooted in two sound worlds: Bouchard’s gestural language speaks of Montréal’s vital acousmatic scene, and the album’s silvery abstract dynamism recalls the later work of so-called IDM (intelligent dance music) pioneers Autechre.
Attracted to robust impacts, acute pin pricks of sound, and jittery crawls across glistening aural surfaces, Bouchard still creates the impression of a beat, even in the absence of a metric pulse. This bit of percussive punctuation serves his work well. Amidst the storm of stammering vocal reminiscences, thick serrated tones, crystalline trickles of noise, and bright pixelated beams, these temporal markers provide some welcome beacons.
The scope of the disc, though, is much wider than this dense metallic foliage. Things also slow down and thin out into sleek fluorescent ribbons and other longer, smoother shapes. While still maintaining almost unmanageably high fidelity, and perforated with little glitchy spurts, Parcelles 21 has the surface texture of an ice sculpture — cold, reflective, and transparent.
Striking — without compromise — a fascinating balance between traits of numerous electronic musical styles, Automacité is very rich and engrossing—albeit a somewhat brazen sonic experience.