To attempt to discuss the work of Georgia-born art collective Auto Chlor, listeners might have an easier time going back to the start. Forming in 1995 with the ever-secret and talented xx periscope in the leading seat, Auto Chlor is a band that has never given away their music easily.
With over 16 LPs since their birth, there’s plenty of soundscapes to swim within, and the music lends itself to such activities beautifully — with two new LPs arriving from the group in the form of Kid Gloves (said to serve as a portrait to xx periscope’s work life) and Crystal Math (said to capture xx periscope’s decaying home life), there’s still nothing quite like Auto Chlor out in the world, and even fans on the fence will find themselves enjoying a great deal of the ambient, spacey instrumentals from both new projects.
Kid Gloves carries itself at twelve tracks, and all of them line up against one another in a truly different fashion. “yaw joggle,” the album’s opening track, lends itself to a more cinematic pulse of strings and chimes. It’s a remarkable way to start the album off, and “foreshadowing boulder score” taps into a futuristic, ambient electronic sound next that feels like a perfect continuation of the sound.
Almost none of the tracks go over three minutes in length, which allows Auto Chlor to capture brief snapshots and musical textures without running things into the ground. Songs such as “chivvy” are a bit more aggressive in their production, with clashing electronic soundscapes fighting each other before getting into a catchy rhythm. Kid Gloves is an album that feels inimitable, and 100% a piece of the Auto Chlor mythos and world. It’s abrasive, yet welcoming overall.
Crystal Math shakes things up by featuring a couple of 4-minute-plus tracks amongst a lot of 1-minute or fewer interludes — by releasing the two albums together, listeners are given the sense that Kid Gloves and Crystal Math are companion pieces, and they play like that. Even with the fact that xx periscope uses a random word generator to come up with song titles, and then writes the songs based on the words that pop up, the songs feel more or less pieces of a larger whole. “jamb” is a dizzying cycle of sirens, “perplexing irreconcilable pressure” feels like wind chimes from a land long forgotten, and “help suggestion” actually lends itself to a Karen O-type of mood as it features vocals and guitars, albeit heavily distorted. “fernando,” on the other hand, taps directly into nightmarish soundscapes with its echoing vocals offering a cover of ABBA’s single of the same name; it’s less accessible than the Swedish group’s original, but it’s a welcome change of pace!
Auto Chlor clearly shows no signs of stopping, and two albums coming out so close to one another only hammers home the reignited artistic flame! Kid Gloves and Crystal Math might not be for everyone, but it will undoubtedly find its fans in no time — it’s not usually my cup of tea, but I can’t stop listening!