The humble bonus track has long been part of the record companies’ artillery when it comes to attracting the poor suckers who still buy their music. Whether it was popping an extra B-side into a double 7” single package, or adding tracks to the CD version over the LP edition, it’s the go-to ploy to make us buy the labels’ preferred format. But we are not averse to a bit of clever marketing or creative approaches to presenting music here at ACL, and we’re certainly not going to pick up our cudgels and bash any new marketing idea that floats down the data stream.
So it’s time to doff the metaphorical cap to the efforts of G89 Records, based out of Santiago, Chile who have set up a Patreon part of their label, alongside their regular Bandcamp. Patreon is a monthly subscription model for creators, who offer different incentives for varying levels of payment. You may have seen it linked on your favourite webcomic before, but perhaps not from a record label. The essential point is that if you subscribe to G89 on Patreon and select the $6 level, you get access to a wealth of bonus items including the “White Edition” tracks which are otherwise unavailable – not on streaming, not on Bandcamp, not even to reviewers.
So apologies for only covering 80% of a new release, but we will stick to what’s on Bandcamp and leave it to your own judgement whether or not to opt-in for the full version of Terrain Reduction. All we can say is: don’t take the minute-long preview of “Terrain” on Bandcamp as an indication as the 60 seconds of silence may be misleading. The quartet of pieces on the easily accessible edition are definitely worth your time though, kicking off with the agreeable combination of soft tones, sinuous bass and metallic percussion on “Digital Elevation Model”. It’s a piece that is constantly evolving as the rhythm seems to shift continually up until the midway point when everything drops away aside from the synth chords – it’s very much a track of two halves although the tuned percussion makes a return on the other pieces, most effectively on “Remote Sensing”.
G89 mention the Mille Plateaux Clicks & Cuts series as a prime influence on Automatisme; I’d hazard that Autechre would be a familiar reference point as well, beyond the first 3 letters, as Terrain Reduction balances dense, rattling off-kilter rhythms with subtly traced melody, thus making the EP more accessible than first expected. William Jourdain (who records as Automatisme) has a distinct characteristic of switching direction within his compositions which adds a pleasing level of uncertainty; one is never quite sure what will happen next, or when. Several listens through Terrain Reduction, I must admit I’m intrigued by the possibility of the ‘missing’ track. Which surely counts as a win for G89. Chapeau! (Jeremy Bye)