A few days ago, art rock collective Auto Chlor released their album, Crystal Math, a 12-track collection of avant-garde/dark ambient music explained as a portrait of xx periscope’s decaying home life.

xx periscope, who believes art has a place in music, is the core member of Auto Chlor, which, since its formation in 1995, has included more than 70 unique collaborators, releasing 16 long players, a multitude of EPs, and myriad singles.

All of the song titles arrived through a random word generator. xx periscope then sat down and wrote to the song titles, with the album being completed in less than a day. Auto Chlor allows minuscule amounts of overthinking and overproduction. They apologize for almost nothing.

Crystal Math opens with “Narcotic Gawk,” travelling on emerging, swirling tones topped by filtered, vocalized remnants. Similar to oscillating, ozone-coloured mists, the harmonics project eerie, enigmatic surfaces.

Suggested entry points include “Luxuriant Coo,” akin to a whispering Gregorian chant full of cycling, mechanized abrasions topped by dreamy incantations. Short and drenched in jangling wind-chime-like rustlings, “Perplexing Irreconcilable Pressure” ebbs and rises on washes of dynamic stasis.

“Tootle Disturb” amalgamates industrial drones, echoing thumps, and strident tinkling notes with fluctuating vocals, imbuing the tune with a rictus of desperation. And then there’s “Fernando,” rolling out on shimmering dirge-like leitmotifs as a ghostly voice relays the recognizable lyrics and melody of ABBA’s famous song.

“If I had to do the same again / I would, my friend, Fernando / If I had to do the same again / I would, my friend, Fernando.”

Auto Chlor

Humming with spine-chilling, rebounding textures, “Baptism Bar” delivers ethereal thrumming veneers vaguely reminiscent of the mystical singing tones of the Monolith in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

At once brooding and portentous, Crystal Math doesn’t appeal to everyone yet conveys entirely new sonic vistas for speculation.

Crystal Math Track Listing:

1. Narcotic Gawk
2. Luxuriant Coo
3. Handshake for Break Planning
4. Over What Team?
5. Jamb
6. Perplexing Irreconcilable Pressure
7. Insubstantial
8. Help Suggestion
9. Besides
10. Tootle Disturb
11. Fernando
12. Baptism Bar

Run Time: 23:11
Release Date: December 9, 2022
Record Label: Self-Release