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A deliberate step back from 20-minute algorithmic splatter-funk jam sessions, 'Sign' leans closer to the duo's ambient side with a well-rounded selection of pieces that generally prioritise fluid textures over rhythms.

Opener "M4 Lema" contains the album's most audacious sound design, with metallic flashes and explosions swooping over shivering synth pads, along with a rumbling beat that could conceivably be pounded on traditional wooden percussion instruments.

"F7" is filled with gauzy melodies resembling smeared, melted neon, while "si00" is an enchanting sequence of bubbles emerging from unsteady thumps. Both are a little too sinister to really be deemed fun, but they hint at a sense of playfulness not always evident in the duo's work.

The track "au14" is more alert, with prickly pulses at the centre of a rapidly fluctuating swirl of particles, while "sch.mefd 2" is the album's easy standout, with gliding bass and intricate yet approachable beats carrying a delicious mass of gelatinous, scattered tones.

A steady 4/4 kick drum underpins the melancholy wash of "psin AM," giving space to breathe and reflect.

A few of the album's tracks are somewhat formless and not distinctive enough to make a lasting impression, but overall, SIGN is one of the more approachable Autechre releases in quite some time, and an easier starting (or reentry) point for listeners who aren't committed enough to plunge into their headier works.

  1. M4 Lema
  2. F7 
  3. si00
  4. esc desc
  5. au14
  6. Metaz form8
  7. sch.mefd 2
  8. gr4 
  9. th red a
  10. psin AM 
  11. r cazt