Chiastic Slide was released on 24 February 1997. It did not receive a release in the United States until Warp Records began distributing its own releases there in 2001. Autechre produced five remixes of the fourth track, "Cichli", on their subsequent EPCichlisuite (1997). The sleeve was designed by Sheffield-based design agency The Designers Republic.
Allmusic critic John Bush panned Chiastic Slide as being an underwhelming follow-up to 1995's groundbreaking Tri Repetae, saying it was too repetitive and lacked ideas. Of course, with music as radical and experimental as Autechre's, for a critic to lambaste an entire album because it was "too repetitive" borders on the absurd. Experimental music (even more so than standard music) can be judged only by the listener, and Allmusic has done a fine job of turning many a potential listener off from this unique, heartbreaking, and devastatingly human album in a few short sentences. Tim Barr's 'review' is much more neutral. Rather than attempting to objectively qualify the subjective experience of listening to experimental music, Barr simply describes the sound of the album - and in doing so, provides a much more worthwhile reference to the potential listener. Quite simply: does Barr's description sound intriguing? If so, then listen to this underrated gem of an album.
Finally, the point is that Autechre is the cream of the crop of experimental music (not just experimental electronic music). Every album is a harvest reaped from a field every bit as fecund (if a bit more warped) than that of Lennon and McCartney. Tim Barr in Techno: the Rough Guide called Chiastic Slide "The aural equivalent of being at the bottom of the sea." He went on to say the album was "Dark, claustrophobic... yet full of strange beauty". Chiastic Slide could be regarded as "transitional" in that it does not closely resemble the sound of its predecessor (Tri Repetae) or its successor (LP5). However, the term "transitional" only applies if the nature of the material is logically contiguous or continuous with the material that comes before or after it. This is not the case with Chiastic Slide. It is more of a stutter-step - a tentative beginning of a walk down a path that Autechre would, finally, come to tread with much success and gusto - but only after first returning to the more standard path of IDM for one last album (LP5). After LP5, however, Autechre seemed to have realized the stylistic dead end that they had arrived at. They gathered their gear, and with a single sigh, turned back around to the fork in the road. There they conjured, and through means unknown (how could one man's mind compass the creative monolith that is generated with Booth and Brown convene)created Confield, an album that was to experimental electronic music as Sun Ra was for jazz. Quite simply, from Confield on, Autechre ruthlessly interrogated every single parameter, every single genre signifier of electronic music. And yet somehow, during all this relentless experimentation, they conjured not just innovation but tremendous beauty as well. It is for this reason, the fact that Chiastic Slide, with its emphasis on textural exploration and musical deconstruction, represents the beginning of Autechre's slide from well-regarded electro/techno/IDM act to a beast entirely Other, a force of Alterity that robbed other electronic musicians of their barest ontological sufficiency. Quite simply, in the wake of Autechre's post Chiastic-Slide run of albums, electronic musicians were revealed for what they were: naked heirs-to-be for the emperor - but the Emperor not only has clothes, he rids the kingdom of Monarchy and in its place puts the monolithic government of pure aural mind-expansion.