In that sense, the album travels further down the trajectory Van Hoesen and De May began with singles like 2009's System Policy and continued through their 2012 album Geotope, leading them through the same dystopian terrain explored by artists like Kerridge and These Hidden Hands. Though they were hardly peak-time bangers, "System Policy" and parts of Geotope at least had something resembling conventional rhythms, which have here been almost entirely jettisoned in favour of low drones and industrial rumbles. The album is also the first full-length on Archives Interieures, Van Hoesen and De May's new experimental label.
The Belgian duo made a A Smaller Divide by swapping digital files online, with Van Hoesen in Berlin and De May in Antwerp, but they still sound very much like a single unit. The album dissects electronic music on an almost molecular level, splitting and recombining hums and crackles into new and unexpected structures. By breaking everything down to tiny fragments, Sendai have created something that needs to be appreciated as a whole: listen to "Self-Adjoint" in isolation and it sounds like someone on a trampoline in a wind-tunnel, but sandwiched between "Sequential Convex" and "Kanton3," it's the eye of a storm. A Smaller Divide is hard work at times, but if you can pick up the pieces Sendai leave scattered behind them, it's possible to build something stunning from the ruins.