The most surprising thing about Qua when it came out was the wealth of material it looked like we were getting - 17 tracks, from a band who'd previously averaged something like six or seven per album. Largely composed of minatures that hang loosely together like a sketchbook - "a multicoloured picture book" in Asmus Tietchens' sleevenote - the beauty of Qua is in the small details. The missing beat in the rhythm track of No Ernel, resulting in an odd-legged time signature (can't remember enough of my music theory exams to know what it is), or the recording of a squeaky door in the perfectly named Putoil.
The longest track here is the six-minute Gissander, built around melancholic bell chimes, but my absolute favourite is Ymstrob - just a minute and a half of plaintive synth burble and fragments of brass. And yes, there's mild amusement value in the fact that the full tracklisting of Qua reads like an Autechre album - but we're miles away from any forbidding metallic glitchscapes here, just little drops of sheer gorgeousness.