Release Date: Nov 10, 2009
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative, Experimental
Austrian synth-bass-drums trio Radian has been making austere, arty post-rock (remember when that was a thing?) music since the late '90s. But unlike Tortoise or other, related acts, Radian has never seemed particularly interested in human concepts of beauty. In a way, their stark instrumental tracks recall Autechre more than any ordinary band -- alienation is as much a goal as a consequence of their steadily pulsing, jagged music.
The cobbled-together beast from Greek mythology known as a chimera should be a recognizable concept for fans of electronic music, a genre that has evolved via the repurposing, re-contextualizing, and splicing together of sounds and samples. The instrumental, electro-acoustic Austrian trio Radian has spent more than a decade as a seemingly contradictory hybrid itself. Perched between precise composition and improvisational creation, members Martin Brandlmayr, Stefan Németh, and John Norman wear their glitch-heavy, avant-garde pedigrees on their collective sleeve, making sure their songs are sculpted and pockmarked just so.
There aren’t a ton of incentives when approaching records like Chimeric. Firstly, post-rock’s chameleon-like ability to channel every influence in the world from jazz to electronica to ambient doesn’t justify omitting its best feature: those pummeling moments of catharsis that Mogwai built-up and Godspeed You! Black Emperor stretched out. Still, despite the genre’s stagnancy in recent years, there remains much room to grow outward and Radian (Stefan Nemeth, Martin Brandlmayr and John Norman) sound intent on wandering post-rock’s darker, untraveled boundaries.