adequacy by Gary Jansz in adequacy
Dean Roberts continuously manages to effectively skate the perimeter of bare electronic abstraction and traditional, albeit skeletal composition. The first seeds of formal compositional structure were only hinted at on 2000s And the Black Moths Play the Grand Cinema, an album with the aspirations of glitch, post-rock flourishes, and Germanic abstraction. While compelling in random bursts, its immediacy was perhaps too fleeting and soon petered out before albums end. Roberts’ 2003 release on Kranky, Be Mine Tonight, swelled with the architecture of improvisation, vetted through hush rhythmic tones and brooding staccato guitar lines to create lateral sound portraits through linear means. That album also ushered in Roberts’ most declarative statement after several records that mined a more minimalist abstract terrain. Jealousy and Diamond, under the band name of Autistic Daughters, picks up the thread of Be Mine Tonight. It continues its characters’ rich development from Roberts’ rarefied oeuvre and coalesces with intent and vitality only hinted at on Be Mine Tonight.

Autistic Daughters is a trio comprised of Roberts, Werner Dafeldecker, and brilliant, loose-limbed percussionist Martin Brandlmayr. One of the biggest assets on almost all of Dean Roberts’ solo material is his choice of collaborators. Roberts wisely surrounds himself with European musicians who are slightly removed from the prosaic confines of post-rock. Subsequently, their influence infuses much of Dean Roberts’ work with a stately classicist and expressionist free-form stature. The contributions of Dafeldeker and Brandlmayr not only make Jealousy and Diamond a more focussed effort than Be Mine Tonight, but they also instil a confident and collaborative structure, that might explain this record's demarcation under a band name rather than just another Dean Roberts solo release.

Within the comparative context of familiar song structure, there is an ample amount of elasticity that permeates Jealousy and Diamond's seven tracks. Dafeldecker has lent his nimble fingers and nuanced pulses to the likes of Polwechsel, Christian Fennesz, Kevin Drumm, and Jim O’Rourke, while Brandlmayr’s fluid strokes are the metronomic heartbeat that makes Radian and Trapist such an enticing ride. Jealousy and Diamond is all about reconciling structure and free-form strategies through an intimate ebb and flow that thrusts and parry’s throughout the seven songs here. “The Glasshouse and the Gift-Horse” sways sinuously with a rhythmic shift that alternates between a blues-y German cabaret guitar line and a propulsive train-like snare backbeat. Roberts re-casts Ray Davies’ “Rainy Day in June” as a David Sylvian meets Scott Walker pastiche, complete with mesmerizing off-kilter percussion. And a whirling guitar line and looped drones introduce “Spend it on the Enemy” before Martin Brandlmayr’s percussion erupts and Roberts’ intense vocal delivery bring the song to a cathartic denouement.

Jealousy and Diamond, like Be Mine Tonight, sighs with the fragile damaged beauty reminiscent of the portraits of Diane Arbus. Although there are cracks that are naked, subtle, and sometimes harrowing, the fissures reveal a potent and compelling compound of thought, reflection, and emotion. Jealousy and Diamond is a perfect late-night accompaniment to a contemplative or ruminative state of being.

allaboutjazz by Enrico Bettinello in allaboutjazz
Dopo l'ottimo riscontro di Be Mine Tonight, Dean Roberts prosegue la propria personalissima ricerca sulla forma canzone con un nuovo disco in trio, attribuito collettivamente agli [alle?] Autistic Daughters, con il contrabbasso di Werner Dafeldecker e la batteria di Martin Brandlmayr [motore ritmico di gruppi come Radian e Trapist].

Chi conosce Roberts - e le tracce di Be Mine Tonight - sa bene che la direzione intrapresa dal musicista neozelandese è fatta di dilatazioni, testi sussurrati e a volte lamentosi, vortici di chitarre, sospensioni temporali, temporanee ipnosi dei sensi, bagliori lontani, piccole claustrofobie dei sentimenti, ma la dimensione di gruppo e la sensibile interazione sonora dei compagni di avventura rendono il percorso più nitido e vario.

A partire dall'iniziale "A Boxful of Birds", ma anche attraverso tracce mesmeriche come "The Glasshouse and the Gift-Horse" con le voci a rincorrersi in corridoi lontani, con lo scampanellio di un vibrafono qui e là, le canzoni si plasmano attorno a emozioni scarne e essenziali. Poi, quasi a segnare il "cuore" stesso del disco, spunta una cover sabbiosa di "Rainy Day in June" di Ray Davies.

Si continua fluttuando, con "Spend It on the Enemy (While It Was Raining)", incalzata splendidamente dalla batteria di Brandlmayr, per poi ripiegarsi nella riflessione malinconica e sussurrata di "In Your Absence from the Street" e nella conclusiva title-track, davvero bella.

Le atmosfere costruite dal trio sono suggestive e dal forte potere evocativo: Roberts ci aggiunge la sua peculiare vocalità, che a qualcuno potrebbe anche non piacere, quasi tesa a riportare a un alveo di intima crudezza la magia che certe textures strumentali sanno creare, ma non si può negare all'artista neozelandese il coraggio di parlare una lingua di dolente - e a tratti allucinata - sincerità.

Più o meno contemporaneamente giunge anche la ristampa Staubgold di uno dei lavori più riusciti di Roberts, quel And the Black Moths Play the Grand Cinema che era uscito originariamente per la Ritornell nel 2000 e che lo vedeva affiancato - ottimamente - dalla straordinaria sensibilità percussiva di Tim Barnes, oltre che dal basso di Matt Valentine e dal violoncello di Charles Curtis.

Qui le atmosfere sono striate di scorie elettroniche, e vibrano tra accensioni ritmiche e sonnolente iterazioni, con la voce trasfigurata come dietro un vetro e continui disturbi sonori a accenderne una luce tremante [si ascolti il passaggio meraviglioso tra "The Fake and Detached" e "Cindy Tells Me"].

In quella fase della propria carriera la meditazione di Roberts - che veniva dal pluricelebrato All Cracked Medias - stava gettando splendidi dubbi sulle fissità/fissazioni di un certo rock [che si metteva la veste post] e punteggiava di luminescenze elettriche la propria scrittura.

Riascoltato oggi, magari in coppia con il nuovo disco, Play the Grand Cinema è ancora più rivelatore della coerenza espressiva di Roberts e del suo ruolo di cantore fuori dagli schemi [alla fine non è rock, non è elettronica, non è contemporanea...] nella sempre più affannosa entropia sonora che ci circonda.

almostcool by nn in almostcool
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boomkat by nn in boomkat
Kranky manage to sieve through the muck and pluck out another breathtaking album, the debut from Autistic Daughters - a collaboration between Dean Roberts, Werner Dafeldecker and Martin Brandlmayr (Radian). Those of you out there (and there are many) who revere Talk Talk’s ascent into heavenly climes with their “Laughing Stock” and “Spirit of Eden” albums will immediately find themselves seduced by this project’s wondrous effervescence. Except whereas Talk Talk emerged from a pop-focused universe into more subdued, experimental surroundings, “Autistic Daughters” has as its protagonists three masters of minimalism and experimentation slowly discovering how to function as a band. “Jealousy and Diamond” is profoundly rich in texture and atmosphere – a delicate Jazz hover permeates the pores of each and every track, while Dean Roberts’ guitar grounds the music in an other-worldly folk amalgamation that shimmers with its extreme, hushed beauty. Breathtaking music.

dustedmagazine by Spencer Grady in dustedmagazine
Be Mine Tonight marked guitarist Dean Robert’s return from a lengthy period out of the spotlight, his first recording since the wonderous And the Black Moths Play the Grand Cinema in 2000 (recently reissued on Staubgold).

Starting with the post-punk group Thela, extending his wings amid the more experimental trappings of White Winged Moth, as well as being a part-time member of American avant-folk unit Tower Recordings, Roberts has gradually shifted his focus from abstract electronic soundscapes and texture-building to songwriting and arranging.

The tracks on the Autistic Daughters’ debut, Jealousy and Diamonds, sees the New Zealander (now operating from his base in Vienna) continuing his exploration of the boundaries of songcraft, patrolling territories previously and still inhabited by David Sylvian and Bark Psychosis.

Returning to the band format, playing alongside bassist Werner Dafeldecker and drummer Martin Brandlmayr (who perform in Polwechsel and Trapist/Radian, respectively), seems to have provided Roberts with renewed confidence and vigor. Certainly, Jealousy and Diamonds is a far bolder statement then its predecessor, and all the better for it. Where, previously, the songs have seemed like mere sonic fidgets and half-drawn sketches, they now possess a restrained definition that recalls Leeds based indie miserablists Hood at their most potent. Opener “A Boxful of Birds” suddenly bursts out of its sinewy tension and into sparks of life, with Brandlmayr especially upping the ante, whipping up a mini-state of emergency. Such dynamics could describe the album’s creation – live performance, followed by edits and enhancement in the studio.

But don’t expect a continual field of bombast – for the most part, understatement is the statement being made. Beautifully brushed percussion, tenderly plucked strings and softly spoken vocals conjure up a scene of fallen leaves on a damp Autumn morning. A version of the Ray Davies penned “Rainy Day in June,” is transformed into one of the best tracks The For Carnation never wrote and forms the clearest declaration of Robert’s intent. But all seven tracks here strike the right balance between rock and electronics, improvisation and composition – a great achievement.

echoes-online by Thomas Siebenborn in echoes-online
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fairmountfair by Michael Wehunt in fairmountfair
Considering that none of its watershed artists released any music in 2004, Kranky Records had one hell of a year. While its best-known act Low moved to Sub Pop and reportedly picked up the pace on their patented slow core, Stars of the Lid spent the year assembling their forthcoming drone opus. But it was a record-setting year for Kranky in sheer number of releases, and the Chicago label managed to uphold its reputation for consistent quality. Perhaps the most impressive record to bear the logo was that of Autistic Daughters, the latest incarnation of musician Dean Roberts.
On 2003's Be Mine Tonight, released under his own name, Roberts moved away from the abstract electronics of his past work and toward rock composition. His new project features Martin Brandlmayr (of Trapist and Radian) and Werner Dafeldecker; the full-band context bears immediate fruit. Jealousy and Diamond unfolds patiently yet wildly over its seven pieces, frequently building into full-on rock mode.
"Florence Crown, Last Replay" compresses at least five of your favorite indie rock songs into 11-plus minutes, more than once sounding like Fugazi's "Long Distance Runner." In fact, mix those DC punk legends with Low and Labradford and you have the right idea. "The Glasshouse and the Gift-Horse" is a stunning nearly-pop contraption: a gorgeous mourning melody is muted beneath droning horns that give way to bells before the rhythm section kicks in. Roberts had better slow down before he finds himself on Sub Pop as well; meanwhile, enjoy the brilliant shine of this one.

fileunder by Storm in fileunder
Sinterklaas schonk me een fijne dvd. Het ontbrak ons aan namelijk een open haard in huize Storm. Daar had de Sint wat op gevonden. De dvd bevatte schitterende beelden van een mooi nep haardvuurtje. Eén of andere malloot had de moeite genomen zijn haardvuur te filmen en voor ons te ehhh branden.. Helaas was de Sint vergeten het gezellige dierenvel er bij te leveren zodat we niet als tortelduifjes over de vloer konden krioelen en misschien wel de liefde bedrijven voor het haardvuur. Hoei! Ik had namelijk weer een cd-tje opgescharreld waar dat best wel goed op zou kunnen. Jealousy And Diamond van Autistic Daughters. Het schijnt dat niet iedereen het kan op Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock. Wij wel. Aangezien Autistic Daughters in alles lijkt op wat Talk Talk deed op die laatste platen van ze zag ik het al helemaal voor me. Maar goed, dat heb ik al snel. Eerst maar eens proberen dacht ik. Het kwam en komt er echter steeds maar niet van. Elke keer is er wel weer het één of het ander dat een situatie die er geknipt voor lijkt verstoord. Mijn betere helft weet immers nog niets van mijn sluwe plannetje. Dus het zorgt nogal voor wat frustratie mijnerzijds. Want nu zit ik elke keer weer naar het breekbare gitaarspel van Kiwi Dean Roberts te luisteren en krijg last van visioenen van kronkelende lichamen voor een haardvuur op een kleedje. Verdorie hoe kom ik er nu achter of het écht zo goed is als ik denk?

foxydigitalis by Lee Jackson in foxydigitalis
Autistic Daughters is Dean Roberts’ new art pop trio, which builds on the fractured melodic splendor of his solo debut “Be Mine Tonight” with vivid articulation. “Jealousy and Diamond” is in every way an improvement over that remarkable debut, with Martin Brandlmayr (drums, vibraphone and electronics) and Werner Dafeldecker (electric and contrabass) adding inspired counterpoints to Roberts’ expanding grasp of songwriting and guitar, almost always draped in a fine electro-acoustic haze here.

With each of these seven tracks the trio thrives for a hidden chord of subdued harmonic bliss and even occasional emotional catharsis, and Autistic Daughters aren’t afraid to turn up the volume and tempo either. Opener “A Boxful of Birds” builds from a stunningly controlled backdrop of shuffling snare patter and detached jazz harmonies before opening up in a soaring vocal climax, complete with handclaps. This is an album of investigation, where every facet of a chosen melodic path is reworked and expanded with shakers, harmonium, percussive smears and dashes, voice and other subtler electronic flourishes.

Maybe it’s not what you’d expect from a guy who got his start making detuned guitar noise, but it makes some sense if the same fellow slowly diverted his energies towards a more minimal pop trajectory. Autistic Daughters take a tried and true formula and inject it with just enough invention and vitality to arrive somewhere new. “Jealousy and Diamond” is a minor masterpiece of understatement that exposes the many varied nuances of a unique sound portal that leads directly to the soul. Brings to mind Neil Young’s “On the Beach” and Nico’s “Desert Shore” in execution and mood, but ends up better suited for serious headphones dissection.A

idbox by filippo in idbox
Dean Roberts è alla perenne ricerca di sé. Smarrisce pezzi del suo ego in giro per il mondo. Lascia tracce indelebili al suo passaggio. Neozelandese d’origine, di stanza in Austria, trascorre la sua vita di musicista in Europa tra Vienna e Bologna. Autistic Daughters non è altro che l’ennesima trasfigurazione del Nostro, accompagnato per l’occasione da Martin Brandlmayr, percussionista di Trapist e Radian, e Werner Dafeldecker, in arte Polwechsel. Un sodalizio che batte strade radicalmente differenti da quelle del Dean Roberts solista. Meno ottuso e referenziale, più organico e meno intimista, frutto d’una sinergia collettiva che sublima in perfetta alchimia acustica. Scampoli di canzoni minimali che si schiudono in colorate suites dal sapore agrodolce con la voce sussurrata di Dean che fa da timido corredo, talvolta bissata da una sezione ritmica cupa e invadente, da fendenti accordi di chitarra elettrica (Spend it on the enemy, In your Absence…) o clangori metallici (A Boxful of Birds). La splendida “Rainy Day in June” è da pelle d’oca. Pensare che non è neppure un originale, ma la rilettura struggente e allo stesso tempo solare di un pezzo di Ray Davies e dei suoi Kinks.
Dean Roberts è l’interprete eccellente di un nuovo folk apocalittico sospeso tra avanguardia e tradizione. La colonna sonora di un angolo di mondo al proprio stato primigenio di cui il comune mortale non può che essere inerme ed attonito spettatore.

liberation by Par Didier PERON in liberation
Autistic daughters n'est pas un groupe de jeunes filles malades mais la nouvelle formation de Dean Roberts, chanteur musicien confidentiel né en Nouvelle-Zélande ayant participé à de nombreux projets à géométrie variable (notamment au sein du trio avant-gardiste Thela) avant de signer quelques albums solos «slow-core» sous influence répétitive-évolutive (Eno, Wyatt, Sylvian). Jealousy and Diamond est le résultat d'un aller-retour entre performances live et trafics de studios avec deux comparses viennois, le bassiste Werner Dafeldecker et le batteur Martin Brandlayr, duo rompu aux brassages des genres entre electro, jazz et rock. Les effets de mixage (voix en arrière plan, à-plats de guitares, nappes ambient...) et la lenteur déstructurée des morceaux rappellent l'ultime Talk Talk (Laughing Stock) avant le split, soit une livraison en sept titres de ragas occidentaux pour saison des pluies hypnotiques. La reprise d'une chanson des Kinks, Rainy days in June, fixe le climat de mousson rêveuse, menaçante et opiacée que cet album addictif installe, libérant à l'écoute comme un monde turnerien glissant dans le crépuscule avec une cohorte de pénitents au fond du paysage. Pour ceux que ce style de reptation sonore attire, il faut signaler le disque que le prolifique Dean Roberts avait publié, toujours chez Kranky records, l'an passé, et intitulé Be Mine tonight.

mundanesounds by Sean Padilla in mundanesounds
In late 2003, New Zealand expatriate Dean Roberts released Be Mine Tonight, an album that blurred the lines between composition and improvisation, between the electronic and the organic, and between the timeless and the endless. Roberts steadfastly refused to assert himself musically, opting instead to use his voice and guitar as a skeleton upon which his collaborators could do whatever they wished. “Real” instruments were manipulated through an array of DSP tricks, and musicians fell in and out of sync with one another at will. The songs didn’t end as much as they evaporated, disappearing into oblivion as soon as everyone decided they didn’t want to play anymore. It took Roberts and his collaborators 35 minutes to get through a mere four songs, and the transitions from one idea to the next were so slow and subtle that anything less than a listener’s total attention would have rendered them imperceptible.

Although Be Mine Tonight was billed as a solo record, the music on it had a malleability that could only come through truly democratic collaboration…which brings me to Jealousy and Diamond, the debut album by Roberts’ new band. The Autistic Daughters are a “power trio” in which Dean is backed by bassist Werner Dafeldecker and drummer Martin Brandlmayr. It is worth noting that Brandlmayr’s main band, Trapist, blurs the line between composition and improvisation in a similar manner (though they’re closer to jazz than they are to rock). The only other person who appears on both this album and Be Mine Tonight is composer/engineer Valerie Tricoli. Despite the lineup changes, there are only two main differences between Jealousy and Diamond and Roberts’ “solo” record. The songs tend to be shorter, and Roberts and his band actually get LOUD every once in a while. Otherwise, hindsight shows that Be Mine Tonight could’ve easily been the first Autistic Daughters record, as the songs on it are cut from the same cloth.

Most of the songs on Jealousy and Diamond begin the same way.
Roberts listlessly picks and strums at his out-of-tune guitar and “sings” in a soft, shaky mumble that sounds almost as if he’s weeping. His lyrics skirt around structure in a similar manner. For instance, “Florence Crown, Lost Replay” reads like an unfinished character sketch of a vulnerable girl (“She’s not made of steel/She tends to reveal too much/and they’re passing judgment”). “In Your Absence the Street” strings together seemingly disparate events to form a sad picture (“The windows are wet with condensation/The businessman has missed another flight/You run from the phone booth into a crowded station/Your heart’s broken too”). While Dean sings, Dafeldecker and Brandlmayr sketch out crawling rhythms on their instruments. Brandlmayr isn’t as creative a drummer as Be Mine Tonight’s Antonio Arrabbito, but he uses similar extended techniques (bowed cymbals, fancy brushwork, and even bouncing balls off of his snare) to turn his kit into more than a timekeeper. Everything is quiet, and so closely miked that you can hear every incidental noise. It’s a sound that is simultaneously indistinct and tactile.

These songs differentiate themselves by where they go next after said framework is established. Opener “A Boxful of Birds” ends with an uproar in which Roberts’ voice shifts into a throaty wail, as a series of disembodied voices and handclaps back him up. “The Glasshouse and the Gift-Horse” abruptly goes back and forth between two completely different riffs, and gets interrupted multiple times by a cacophony of off-key toy bells. “Spend it on the Enemy (While It Was Raining)” has a danceable mid-rhythm that is emphasized by a light coating of distortion that makes Brandlmayr’s drumming louder than everything else in the song. At one point, the rhythm section crashes hard on every upbeat while Roberts creates a morass of syrupy guitars, an effect that evokes Sonic Youth’s Branca-fied early work.

Even on the album’s loudest moments, Roberts and company pursue a sound so obtuse that if I hadn’t read the press kit, I wouldn’t have known that the fourth track, “Rainy Day in June,” was a Ray Davies cover! This band’s ability to stretch time and shift smoothly from torpor to torrent can turn almost anything into an Autistic Daughters song. Don’t come to this record expecting any hooks, melodies or volume. Jealousy and Diamond is only for listeners with a lot of time on their hands, who want to chill out and be propelled into another atmosphere.


obskure by nn in obskure
Dean Roberts, après ses escapades solos, revient au format d’un groupe rock : Autistic Daughters. Malgré leurs airs de « Virgin Suicides », ces fausses filles-là n’ont pas à effrayer le quidam. D’abord issus de session live, ces sept morceaux ont été repris et complétés en studio par le trio masculin. Dean s’est entouré du bassiste Werner Dafeldecker (du groupe Polwechsel) et du batteur Martin Brandlmayr (Trapist ; Radian) et a reçu par la suite l’assistance de quelques amis au gré de ses voyages.
On découvre une musique délicate, gris pastel, dans laquelle les vocaux murmurés sont soutenus ou couverts par des mélodies acidulées et calmes. Les titres prennent le temps d’installer une pop folk au caractère racé comme sur « Florence Crown » et ses onze minutes trente. La basse et la batterie donnent souvent une impulsion jazzy qui chaloupe l’ensemble Les compositions se suivent, manquent parfois d’une tension plus soutenue et glissent comme un après-midi automnal. Si on peut parfois sombrer dans du Herman Düne pour neurasthéniques (« The Glasshouse »), les multiples pistes de voix de « A Box Full Of Birds » évacuent cette sensation de vide. Bien composé, l’album surprend même avec le très attrayant « Spend It On The Enemy » dont le rythme plus soutenu, agressif, ramène irrésistiblement au « Crazy About Love » de Wire. On se souvient alors que Dean fit ses premières armes au sein d’un combo post-punk, Thela.
Hésitations entre structures simples et improvisations, recherches sonores et liberté de ton font de ce disque un bon représentant de la vague post-rock arty. Reste à aimer se plonger dans ces longues improvisations et à opérer un véritable tri pour une écoute répétée.

pitchforkmedia by Chris Dahlen in pitchforkmedia
When an artist tackles the idea of the search, it's not even necessary to explain what they're searching for. To take one example, the narrator of Walker Percy's The Moviegoer is maddeningly vague about what he's after or how he'll find it, but the intention-- and the pull of his progress-- is clear. In music, it's easier to express that urge to look past your normal surroundings to find something new, and to satisfy a need you can barely articulate. It can feel "spiritual," but it's not satisfied by easy answers or dogmas, and if nothing specific comes from the search, you still recognize it by the motion-- momentum is compelling even when it leads nowhere.

You could compare the latest work of New Zealand's Dean Roberts to a band like Talk Talk, but not for the arrangements-- Roberts works with guitar and staticky laptop textures, a vaguer and more evasive medium than the chamber instruments of late Talk Talk-- or for his singing, although the rough vulnerability in his vocals may evoke Mark Hollis. The quality they share is that search for a spark in the darkness, where even repetetitive or abstract passages reveal a drive toward answers. It distinguishes Roberts' work and it illuminates the familiar materials that he employs.

After starting his career in the noise-punk Thela, Roberts has evolved into a laptop and guitar improviser, a fixture in the New Zealand noise scene who travels the world to play art music festivals or to record for labels like Erstwhile and Staubgold; if you're a fan of Loren Connors, Oren Ambarchi, or Christian Fennesz, Roberts' work is up your alley. Reissued from its 2000 release, Roberts' And the Black Moths Play the Grand Cinema may be his strongest laptop work.

Recorded in New York, it combines loops and staticky textures with live instruments, including contributions by Tim Barnes, Matt Valentine, and Charles Curtis. Roberts starts the record with a lo-fi buzzing that yields to Barnes' opening percussion and fragmentary vocals. From there, he intersperses brief songs-- including a stoically morbid cover of Brian Eno's "Cindy Tells Me"-- with hypnotic clouds of loops that hover like lullabies for baby cyborgs. And while the first half of the record drifts in that vein, the second is fast and anxious, propelled by Barnes' percussion. The combination of live and electronic elements, the range of tones from distant to piercing and the significant shifts in tempo give a full expressiveness to a limited and potentially obtuse palette. (This is also a terrific soundtrack to play behind Half Life 2.)

In the last two years, Roberts has cut two records for the American indie label Kranky that focus on his songcraft and increasingly eschew the laptop for live instrumentation. 2003's Be Mine Tonight was a moody warm-up for Jealousy and Diamond, which he recorded in Vienna with Werner Dafeldecker on bass and drummer Martin Brandlmayr of Trapist and Radian. Working under the name Autistic Daughters, the group is a spare cooperative trio, where every breath or brush of wire and wood makes an impact.

Moody, beautiful, and meticulous, Jealousy and Diamond is divided into seven slow songs, with Roberts murmering above the close interaction of its players: this is slowcore played with the attention of improvisers, and it's completely engrossing. Yet its main shortcoming is its mood. Even when the band crashes into higher volumes, the prevailing atmosphere's bleak, and Roberts sings the skeletal lyrics like the blankets are too heavy to get out of bed. Like Grand Cinema, they include a pop cover, but their take on the Kinks' "Rainy Day in June" is dismal, and the end of the record almost peters out. Every thudded note on the bass still feels like a small step toward a goal, but the album could use more revelations to hold its fragile pieces together: though the search is the whole point, the audience could use signs that we're getting there.~

popmatters by Jason MacNeil in popmatters
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sands-zine by nn in sands-zine
Ho letto che questo disco rappresenta il ritorno di Roberts ad una dimensione di gruppo, cosa fin troppo ovvia – il disco esce a nome Autistic Daughters – quanto falsa: “Jealousy And Diamond” è, in tutto e per tutto, il nuovo disco solista di Dean Roberts, suoi sono i brani e suo il succo, la sostanza, che li anima, caso mai si può dire che i due accompagnatori rappresentano quanto di meglio si potesse trovare per la rappresentazione di un testo così personale. Quindi Autistic Daughters è il gruppo di Dean Roberts, o ancor meglio è una delle manifestazioni di Dean Roberts, e non ha nulla a che fare con quel fuoco realmente collettivo che furono i Thela.
Un’altra cosa che ho letto è il ricorrente paragone con i Talk Talk: nulla di più fuorviante, mentre il gruppo inglese era fautore di una musica volutamente orchestrata questo è un disco scarno e sostanzialmente rock. Caso mai ci trovo le pigre progressioni di Slint e Low, nelle loro espressioni più felici, in quel borbottare sonnolento che fa pensare ad un vulcano assopito ma pronto al risveglio e alla deflagrazione, o al fuoco che cova sotto la cenere.
“Jealousy And Diamond” sono le rasoiate della chitarra e la timida voce che si nasconde dietro ad esse, staffilate lente, sussurrate e sornione che di colpo si impennano e ti azzannano. Ho sempre pensato che la voce fosse il punto debole della più recente produzione del neozelandese, ma nell’occasione la falla è stata riparata attraverso l’utilizzo di un sussurro indistinguibile, un geremiade semirecitata che quasi scompare in quest’oasi di suoni tutt’altro che stipata.
Gli interventi del basso di Dafeldecker e della batteria di Brandlmayr toccano la perfezione, così privi di sbavature da non sembrare veri, in un lavoro da diligenti comprimari come non se ne ottiene neppure pagando in oro (cosa che non credo Roberts abbia fatto).
Il disco è uscito sia in vinile, in Europa, sia in cd, negli USA, con la seconda opzione che contiene un brano in più (la cover di Rainy Day in June dei Kinks).
Ricapitolando: classico triangolo strumentale, tensione macerata da una lenta indolenza, incredibile precisione strumentale, fantastica produzione (alla quale ha preso parte il genietto Tricoli), in assoluto il miglior disco di Roberts dai tempi di “All Cracked Medias”.

splendidezin by Walt Miller in splendidezin
Autistic Daughters marks the return of New Zealander Dean Roberts to the avant garde trio format. Previously seen landing Dead C-styled art/noise chops in Thela (a three piece that peaked in the mid '90s), the guitarist has teamed up with Werner Dafeldecker (electric and contrabass) and drummer/electroniker Martin Brandlmayr (who also pounds skins for Radian and Trapist) for this semi-permanent project following Roberts' brief solo stint in 2003. It sounds like a winner on paper: all three members come highly experienced in the realms of improv and experimentalism and bring a fistful of influences -- jazz, noise, electronica, post rock -- to stir and season the pot. Each of Jealousy and Diamond's seven songs unfolds over the languid throes of John Fahey-style open chords and leftfield melodies (sometimes in tune, sometimes not), giving the music hints of lyrical message and pop sensibility. But just hints. Where "A Box Of Birds" is a jarring rabble rouser that takes a page or two from Roberts' earlier, brawnier repertoire, "Florence Crown, Last Replay" and the title cut are wispy, barely-there vignettes that seem more anchored in the netherworld. Roberts' vocals are stripped down and mixed as a dying man's last gasp; the other two members, for their part, sometimes add interesting electronic and instrumental garnish but mostly work to keep up the hopeless gray pace underneath. It's all very off-putting at first, and you'll need a few listens to get in tune with it. However, listeners who can get their psyche to subscribe to this sort of cowpunk slo-core for goths (there's something vaguely western about it -- think tumbleweeds and ghost towns) will delight in Autistic Daughter's stoic desperation, which is often funeral pyre beautiful.

stylusmagazine by Ron Schepper in stylusmagazine
if the name Autistic Daughters is unfamiliar, its personnel—Dean Roberts on guitars and vocals, bassist Werner Dafeldecker (Polwechsel), and drummer Martin Brandlmayr (Trapist and Radian)—certainly isn’t. Jealousy and Diamond finds Roberts continuing his movement away from the abstract electronics of All Cracked Medias to a greater emphasis on vocal-based song structures which emerged with the 2000 Ritornell release And the Black Moths Play the Grand Cinema (newly reissued on Staubgold) and carried on wit h last year’s Be Mine Tonight. Even though Autistic Daughters presents a collective vision, Roberts is the natural focal point, given his dominant guitar and vocals, yet it’s hardly a solo work as his colleagues shape the sound in key ways. That’s not sur prising, given that the album was created by live performance; the trio laid down basic tracks in April 2003 at Amann studios in Vienna, and Roberts recorded more voices, guitars and miscellaneous instruments with Valerie Tricoli in Italy in the fall of 2003.
Certainly the live feel is evident immediately. The opening song, “A Boxful of Birds”, oozes ambiance, the music slowly emerging like some awakening organism, Roberts’ hushed singing heard amidst electric guitar and tom toms. A radical shift occurs midway through when the music explodes into dissonant, acerbic clatter of breathless vocal yells, guitar scrapings, and percussive bangings. There’s a definite song structure but it’s presented loosely enough to allow for unpredictable and spontaneous moments. The group favours timeless, funereal dirges rooted in blues and folk traditions, with a curdling, slow-to-medium tempo dominating most songs; admittedly the creeping pace is somewhat wearying by the time the last song arrives. A late-night ambiance of portent and dread permeates the music, deepened by the combustible dimension of the band’s playing, a tense containment that threatens to explode at any moment. Naturally, Roberts’ fragile, quavering voice adds to the unease, as there’s a constant undercurrent of desperation, even controlled hysteria, to his music that perpetually simmers below the surface. His distorted vocal and raw guitar stabs give the hard-edged “Spend it on the Enemy (While it was Raining),” for instance, a hallucinatory quality.
At eleven minutes, “Florence Crown, Last Relay” offers the best example of the band’s live approach as the trio, led by Dafeldecker’s quiet contrabass and Roberts’ quivering, ghostly vocal, unhurriedly and organically nurtures the song’s development thr oughout. Ray Davies’ “Rainy Day in June” is an inspired cover choice, though the song’s incantatory, dirge feel hardly recalls The Kinks. While the trio’s elastic treatment of tempo is generally well-handled throughout, here’s the rare instance where perc ussion tempo variations prove distracting. Finally, in contrast to the overall dark mood, Roberts’ harmonium on the title track ends the album with some modestly stirring uplift.
While Jealousy and Diamond is uncompromising music that makes little conces sion to commerciality or accessibility, fans of Roberts’ previous work should find this latest chapter a satisfying developmental step. Rather than his work becoming increasingly hermetic, Dafeldecker and Brandlmayr help expand the vistas of Roberts’ music and breathe into it a palpable sense of spontaneity.

subjectivisten by jan willern broek in subjectivisten
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tinymixtapes by jspicer in tinymixtapes
Dean Roberts has been a part of the freeform, post-punk scene for quite sometime. He's bounced from nation to nation, band-to-band, dabbling in anything from in your face guitar, to spatial drones, to the sweet tones of the harmonium. All three make an appearance on Jealousy and Diamond, the debut from the Autistic Daughters, Roberts' new brainchild. Continuing down a path of experimentation of sound with the help of Martin Brandlmayr and Werner Dafeldecker, Roberts has seemed to expand on his presentation of noise-through-song structure much like his last solo album, Be Mine Tonight, but with little variance.

Jealousy and Diamond doesn't really hit its stride until the second track, "Florence Crown, Last Relay," -- only after eight minutes of tinkering and repetition have elapsed. On the edge of falling asleep to what amounts to a rock lullaby, a Robert Plant The Principle of Moments-era guitar riff slowly arouses your interest, just to tease you enough to keep listening. Unfortunately, the love affair quickly evaporates. Each song starts out slow and monotonous, and by the time it's ready to peak and crescendo, you are ready to skip ahead to the next track; and when it peaks, it's like a teenage orgasm -- quick and unsatisfying.

The one sole highlight, "Spend it on the Enemy (While it was Raining)," is filled to the brim with angst and fully explores the themes the Autistic Daughters have been dancing around most of the album. The punctuated guitar is brought to life by the quiet droning of feedback and a quick taste of sloppy harmonica playing. It's too bad all this is packed into one track.

If you're ready to tackle something experimental and free of restrictions outside of "mainstream" experimentation, this is not the band to start off your journey. There is nothing to grasp onto, and though the effort deserves high marks, the results don't measure up.