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Radian: Juxtaposition

The Austrian trio Radian seemingly strives to make the most arid, sterile music of any group in recording history. I respect that kind of ambition. Radian deploys drums, vibes, bass and analog and digital synths to create attenuated, cantankerous instrumentals that eschew melody and sporadically settle into grooves with the stoic relentlessness of British post-punk experimentalists This Heat or the understated stealth of Tortoise. At other times, Radian’s music glowers and sputters, instilling a vague dread. It’s not easy to create music that makes the monochrome seem kaleidoscopic, but Radian’s minimalistic, poker-faced post-jazz achieves that rare feat. To be fair, Radian’s new album for Thrill Jockey, Juxtaposition, is less gnomic and more robust and colorful than past works. Perhaps Radian’s closest peer is Norway’s Supersilent: Both ensembles masterfully employ space, unexpected dynamics and visceral textures within meticulously constructed pieces that seem to be improvised. The shades of gray in Radian’s music are peculiarly engrossing.

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