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Autism in Love (Mac Quayle)

July 27, 2016

Cover_AustismInLoveAUTISM IN LOVE

Mac Quayle, 2016, Lakeshore Records
15 tracks, 44:29

Autism in Love is a feature length documentary that explores the lives of four autistic adults as they pursue and manage romantic relationships. The hypnotic score comes courtesy of Mac Quayle.

Review by Pete Simons

What is it?

Autism in Love follows the story of four adults with autism spectrum disorders as they search for and manage romantic relationships. When it comes to romantic relationships, people with autism have a distinct disadvantage. Being plagued by this developmental disorder jeopardizes the core characteristics of a relationship – communication and social interaction. Ostensibly it seems that some may never truly experience romantic love, or at least love by a typical definition. However, we know this to be false. We have innumerable instances of people with autism falling in love and having meaningful romantic relationships.

What does it sound like?

As the album opens with the titular cue “Autism in Love”, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re listening to Cliff Martinez. Soft strings and ambient pads are accompanied by a pan drum-like arpeggio. It’s rather soothing and hypnotic; and it sets the tone for what’s to come.

A laid-back melody for acoustic guitar emerges in “Lenny”. It does return a few times, but I’d struggle to really call this a melodic score. It has melodic elements, but it’s really all about sound and textures. That said, it is a coherent album as certain elements (sounds, arpeggios) do recur throughout the album. And whilst it’s not always melodic, it does aim to be harmonic most of the time.

During “All the Way Down Here” a heavily reverberating piano pierces through the layers of synths; and the piano returns in “A Remarkably Journey” which is easily the most poignant cue on the album, courtesy of its simple but effective melody. Its repetitiveness gives it a trance-like momentum. Piano, pan drums and pads all come together in “It Starts Here”, which makes for a satisfying finale.

The album concludes with a ‘guitar remix’ of “All the Way Down Here”, which is even more ambient than the original; and a Jul remix of “A Kiss and a Hug”. Jul adds exotic beats, some more sparkly colours and soft vocal samples. The result is a very classy sounding dance track, which I found myself enjoying a lot.

Is it any good?

Mac Quayle’s Autism in Love is a lovely, ambient score for synth pads, pan drums, guitar and piano. Stylistically it will remind of Cliff Martinez courtesy of those soft metallic arpeggios. That’s not entirely surprising when you realise that Quayle has worked with Martinez on scores like Drive, Contagion and The Normal Heart. There are a lot of ambient synth scores around at the moment, but but I feel myself drawn to this one a bit more than others. I think it’s because Quayle has applied a particularly pleasing set of sounds here. It’s very smooth; in fact I want to use words like ‘velvet’ and ‘pastel’ to describe the soundscape. Also, whilst it’s not an overly melodic work, Quayle does inject his music with melodic elements and plenty of harmony to give it some emotional weight. It’s not just a collection of pretty sounds; there is a story here. A love story, told in an understated way.

Rating [3.5/5]

Tracklist:

01. Autism In Love (2.33)
02. Social Antenna (2.12)
03. Lenny (3.29)
04. A Kiss and a Hug (2.10)
05. I Look OK Today (2.33)
06. A Certain Way (2.53)
07. Probably Say Yes (2.09)
08. Firm and Formal (2.56)
09. My Apartment with Gita (1.50)
10. All The Way Down Here (3.01)
11. Laid To Rest (1.39)
12. A Remarkable Journey (4.32)
13. It Starts Here (4.44)
14. All the Way Down Here (Guitar Mix) (2.51)
15. A Kiss and a Hug (Jul Remix) (4.57)


Review (C) 2016 Synchrotones

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