Album Review: Radian – Chimeric (Thrill Jockey)


Like many of the artists signed to the venerable Thrill Jockey label, the Austrian trio known as Radian have, since 1996, carved out a comfortable place for themselves in the music world. Their five albums, including this one, have found them cobbling together roughly constructed songs out of shards of sonic ephemera, with the end results starkly beautiful, gratingly noisy or some glorious combination of the two.

Their latest work is no exception, but it is an album that finds the group at their most stalwart and thrilling. The mere six tracks on Chimeric find that rare balance for a group of its kind where the live playing and the processed sounds mesh perfectly together. You can still hear the clips of edits and feel the ground drop out from underneath you when a wash of sound disappears, but you are just as quickly caught by the sturdy, minimal drumming of Martin Brandlmyr and the steady flow of ambience that underpins almost every song.

The finest moments here are the most bombastic ones, as on “Feedbackmikro/City Lights”. The song slowly fades in with bubbles of crowd chatter, the ringing of a ride cymbal and some wandering feedback, and over the course of its 10 minutes pushes forward and pull back alternately with loud brays of guitar (courtesy Stefan Nemeth), Brandlmyr’s cantering groove and various loops layered atop one another. Your first run through the track – and the album as a whole – might leave you muddled, but try it a few more times and it will reveal its secrets to you.

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