Everything travels in circles. 8 Quadrants is built on overlain repetitions running at disparate speeds. Percussive sounds spin through tight-knit delays, while melodies repeat after extended exchanges between sweeping synth chords or chopped-up piano. At points there are even “beats”, manifest as skeletal trip hop of thuds and claps and silences, or something resembling cannonballs being metronomically launched into the water; always in a discernible pattern, yet slow enough to verge on arhythmic. There’s no single tempo, and thus the perception of pace fluctuates depending on where one applies focus. Concentrate on those somersaulting delays and the music appears to hurtle at some speed; settle on the intersecting tidal ambiences and 8 Quadrants isn’t moving at all – the motions cancel eachother out and leaving just a back-and-forth tilt, like a small boat in restless harbour.
Amidst the flux of contradictory signals, the dominant feeling is that things aren’t quite connecting. The loops are misaligned. The textures, evoking both dreamt hazy gardens and clattering eroded junk, fail to find a midpoint between their disparate atmospheres. Like a hypothesis haunted by small pockets of incoherence, or a committee suspended in eternal deliberation, the album just hangs in the margin between the attempt and its fulfilment. It never gets there. Aptly, the half-hour duration feels just a fraction too short (and thus perfect), emulating the record’s lush spatial absences by making the post-runtime yearning apart of the experience itself – negation, and what does not occur, is rendered as vividly as that which positively manifests.