These nine experiments with timing and timbre might've been more exciting with an added sense of melody—as it stands, Second Woman too often does little more than echo its forebears. Autechre's fragmenting MaxMSP patches loom over everything from "200601je6"'s chaotic hip-hop to the spacious "600249li9" and the percussive flurry of "700358bc5." The austere "800438ul8" and "900438an4" owe their stuttering cadences to Mark Fell and his duo SND. And the deconstructive ideas of computer musicians like Holly Herndon and Lorenzo Senni are ostensibly considered throughout. Given the elastic complexity achieved here, however, Dietrich and Eustis are compelling newcomers to this sphere. This is engaging, well-crafted electronic music no matter what apparent qualities it shares.
So it's the small handful of distinctive tracks that downplay the soundalikes, even as they make the album worthwhile for adventurous fans. "400425cc2" and "500609sp3" are set apart by their dubwise low-end and detailed atmospherics, sounds which convene in a bath of strangely synthetic mood. Despite their production approach falling in line with the rest of Second Woman, Dietrich and Eustis make more room for tuneful basslines, harmonic smears of synth and discernible structures on those two. (Ditto the stirring contortions of "100407jd7.") You can almost make out the shadows of Belong and Telefon Tel Aviv in the intoxicating murk. Dietrich has explained of Second Woman, "We were interested in tweaking the perception of time and space within the audio field using some of the newer software that is available." And they achieve that goal here. But while Dietrich and Eustis were busy trying their hand at amorphous, rhythmic soundscapes, they seldom included a sense of themselves.