The Austrian experimental trio Radian initially sounds as if they're some sort of abstract post-rock group. Drums, synthesizer, bass; you can queue up "Git Cut Noise" and it sounds a bit like legendary UK post-punk/noise/industrial group This Heat rather than anything overtly electronic. Except that the track keeps sputtering and stuttering, wrenching itself off its own rails in surprisingly compelling fashion. What makes Chimeric interesting, and a change of tack for Radian, is that this time the band played live in their rehearsal space and then used a computer to "re-organize" what they had. As "Git Cut Noise" lurches and stumbles its way through volleys of noise and sudden lashings of what sounds like a completely different track breaking through, it's suddenly clear that this was the unfulfilled promise of the bands, like Mission of Burma, that tried adding a tape operator to their rock setup.
The rest of Chimeric is much further from anything that could honestly be considered rock, but a lot of the album's interest lies in the way it never really belongs to any one genre or sound from minute to minute. You try and pin it down, and it slips away: First "Feedback Mikro/City Lights" is a quietly menacing Tortoise-style nocturnal city scene, then gnarled streams of distortion cover over the slowly blooming tones still pulsing away; but soon that too clears to make way for the almost Fuck Buttons-esque upward progression that swallows the end of the track.
"Git Cut Derivat" takes what sounds like fragments of the briefly quiescent middle eight from the first track and traps them in digital recursion. "Kinetakt" veers from a booming, hollow beat to full-on free jazz atonality. Only the closing "Subcolors" follows a path that's at all linear, and even then the subtly propulsive groove Radian lock into has as much time for found sounds as it does the trio's compellingly intricate instrumental interplay (the closest they come to something you could dance to, it's also the one time you might wish they'd opted to go for maximal appeal rather than purposefully obtuse inner voyaging).
The result is an album that feels like it's as much an interrogation into the band's own methods as it is music in any conventional sense. But while things can occasionally get too academic for their own good (particularly on the too-lengthy "Chimera"), for the most part Radian show a keen awareness of the thin line between a bracingly experimental edge and disappearing up their own backsides. Taken on its own terms Chimeric is a largely thrilling exploration of the area where experimental electronics, post-rock, improvisation and noise melt together.
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Tracklist: Radian - Chimeric 01. Git Cut Noise
02. Feedback Mikro/City Lights
03. Git Cut Derivat