Automatisme is the recording moniker for Canadian electronic musician, producer and record store employee, William Jourdain. His fourth physical album release, Transit, is his second for Constellation. The album is informed by organic time signatures such as heart rate and ocean waves as well as the more mechanical, albeit twisted and warped, like the clocks in Salvadore Dali’s Persistence Of Memory. 180g vinyl LP on Constellation.
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Apparently William Jourdain, chief architect of this whole Automatisme thing, works at one of Canada’s most renowned and respected record stores. Well, buddy, I can relate: from one critically acclaimed clerk to another, I give ‘Transit’ the thumbs up it deserves. On his second LP for lovely Constellation he takes his electronic project into a season of digitized hibernation, offering a quieter and more ruminative suite. Fear not, though: he later comes out kicking and screaming as his hardware goes into out and out meltdown.
Using generative musical practices and replicating the every day rhythms and rates of clocks (including our own physical bodyclocks), Jourdain’s music becomes one of chance. Like many artists toying with their modular, his work sometimes sounds beyond him, the music slightly out of his reach as his synth reaches its own unpredictable conclusions. But Jourdain seems to thrive in this liminal space: his four-part cycle “Bureau” is a soft ambient meditation with the reserve to match its busy selection of sounds. With sounds that replicate dialing and scanning, recordings of conversation and sterile drone tones, an environment of labor starts mapping itself, taking over in little swathes, the work mundanity becoming its own architecture. Jourdain explodes the setting he’s created on the record’s third song, his synth suddenly squelching into new, frenzied dynamics.
It’s a harshing environment. Despite sounding clean and warm, environmental and natural, our 9-5 lives are imprinted into “Bureau”. The record’s flip is the catharsis we all need, its tunes squirming out of the world of filtered, numbed noise, with the pounding drumwork of “Registraiat” coming across like a retort to the quiet of dub techno, and the one-two punch of “Bataeu” offering synths rejoicing in their own bizarre autonomy. Here’s where the soundscapes of the worst part of our lives go to die. For its flick of the switch, ‘Transit’ is an endlessly listenable record, a tone poem for the full of our life.
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- Transit by Automatisme
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