The US noise act sever their ties to techno with a fearless, mind-melting LP.
This is because acts as freewheeling as Metasplice were always going to be hemmed in by techno's steady beat. As time passed, their awe-inspiring live shows moved further away from regular rhythm, but they still used it in small doses to devastating effect. (I remember seeing them in an Austrian church in 2014 and scribbling down the line, "Jeff Mills burning up on reentry.") That they ever had anything to do with dance music at all seems like a dream.
Mirvariates does away with the connection entirely, which is key to it being Metasplice's most significant work yet. It arrives courtesy of The Trilogy Tapes, a label with considerable experimental pedigree that is nevertheless intimately associated with club music. The owner, Will Bankhead, has presented a record that will confound many of the label's listeners but greatly please those willing to follow Metasplice's increasingly abstract inclinations. He's performed a public service by giving a record like this a platform.
While removing any trace of dance music from their sound may have limited Metasplice's appeal, it has freed them to follow their strengths. Mirvariates places the duo's keen knack for the uncanny front and centre. This feeling is often marked by jumbled microscopic textures. Some are bright and glinting like trickling trails of water ("Subaltic Render"). Others resemble shifting granules of earth, held down by some mighty downward pressure ("Irindicnt"). "Aridtaq" calls to mind a dog stuffing its snout in an ant nest. On "Vase Weight Re-Route" and "Subaltic Render," deteriorated objects are struck and distressed, as if a presence is feeling out their contours and properties.
Each track resembles a shifting, unstable topography. It's hard to tell whether the surface is crumbling beneath your feet or reconfiguring new paths. These tremors grow as the record progresses. On "Irindicnt" we're steadily buried under an apocalyptic avalanche of gravel. The closer, "Speculen," takes us away from Earth altogether, dropping us on a barren planet with a toxic atmosphere. A clear sense of threat is heightened by an inability to figure out exactly what we're meant to be afraid of. Mirvariates is a rugged and occasionally disturbing world, but one of stark beauty, too. It might not earn Metasplice hordes of new fans, but it's a record that commands respect.