Author Topic: Autechre - is it worth it?  (Read 14992 times)

Scott M2

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2008, 08:11:58 PM »
I learned about Autechre from the days when rec.music.ambient was happening and
there was lots of talk about them and other loosely-related-to-topic but interesting artists.
Bought my first CD (maybe LP5) and got enthusiastically hooked on their current and
back catalogue. Then, about the time of Untilted or Confeld, I went to see them
play in Toronto with a friend who was also very enthusiastic and we were both
sorely disappointed. I began to realize before long during the set that the beats were
now predictable in that they were always unpredictable and that whatever the
heck it was in AE's music that connected with me was missing now. I've rarely
played their CDs since. I really must give the older/middle CDs a spin again for perhaps
a drunken reconnection (ala Alan) with that careening chatter and clatter that once
excited me. (I enjoyed their visual aesthetic too.)

Mark Mushet

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2008, 10:03:25 PM »
Then, about the time of Untilted or Confeld, I went to see them
play in Toronto with a friend who was also very enthusiastic and we were both
sorely disappointed.

I saw them here on that tour too. It was compelling for the first 10 minutes...

Anyway, just threw Amber on for a listen. I must say, they were cold from the getgo.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2008, 10:07:17 PM by Mark Mushet »

Robert Logan

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2008, 02:01:22 AM »
Wow, what an interesting thread. I don't know who these Autechre guys are, or what their music is like,  but seldom have I read such consistently vitriolic criticism of a band's style of music (or non-music?) You guys really do sound like scorned lovers!

However, someone out there must enjoy their music, right?

I disagree wholeheartedly with all the posts here and I do like their new music. A lot. :P

I just find a lot of their new stuff very intense, complex, alien, and yes, emotional. Not all of it hits the mark, but when it does, it makes for a very exciting listen. If you want melodies, pretty harmonies, or beautiful atmospherics, there's plenty of other musicians covering that ground quite nicely. If you want some very odd, skittery, edge-of-the-dancefloor (and beyond), daring, original sounding music, then go for them with an open mind.  I actually like "Confield", strange as it might sound; listening to that loud with all the lights off is a potent experience. I can see why people would find their music difficult, but I just can't help but love it. I didn't even really need to "make" myself enjoy it, either - it was was like finding something I had always been looking for. Maybe I'm just insane....

I do love melodic and harmonic elements in music, and my favorite composers explore these elements in ways I love, but who says they have to be there? Why should Autechre compromise when there's plenty of music with less dissonance (including their own early stuff) out there? I'm quite happy with them concentrating on the splutters, gurgles, and weird, unpredictable track morphings, and I look forward to them becoming even more unpredictable, intricate and experimental yet. For me, what they're doing isn't random; it's involving, logical, music - it's just that they're a bit more playful with the rules than others might be. Like I said, I appreciate less "deranged" music, too, and I personally wouldn't ever go as "out there" and difficult as Autechre with my own music, but when you're in the mood, Autechre provide something quite special. I understand why people are upset with their new direction, but my bizarre brain seems to enjoy it.

I think they are still pretty popular - the special 2cd edition of Quaristice (priced at a ridiculous £25) sold out within a day. There were a thousand copies of it...
« Last Edit: February 01, 2008, 06:05:36 AM by Robert Logan »

Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2008, 07:21:01 AM »
I lost track of Autechre with the Gantz Graf ep.  I don't hold their new sound against them, though—it  felt to me that, with Confield they went down a road I'm just unwilling to follow.  I think of their music as more academic, like a lot of what I've heard on Line and Raster Noton.  I'm just not that into "sound," I guess.

I always felt them to be a patchy group.  I don't think I have ever liked one of their albums all the way through!

If you ask me, the logical successor to their original minimal/environmental/isolation sound is Loess.  Those guys are incredible.

jkn

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2008, 07:34:59 AM »
I love everything up through about ep7 or so...   tri repetae is great.   I had chiastic slide on yesterday.  cichle suite is very good, as is envane.   I really like the garbage and anvil vapre ep's and consider those the sort of pinnacle for me.   amber is also good.

getting too far beyond ep7 - I started not buying them as much.  Too me it seemed they dropped writing songs to writing experiments (which is fine in the studio to improve your writing and production skills - but not was a release...)   I have confield and gantz graf - they're merely ok - good for a listen every year or so.   I wouldn't have minded never buying them and instead picking up something better.   I don't regret buying any of the earlier catalog.   
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Somnia

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2008, 09:52:35 AM »
I think I made it through sampling 3 or 4 tracks of suck, before I decided I didnt need to preview the rest and waste my time.
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Mark Mushet

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2008, 09:58:52 AM »
I just find a lot of their new stuff very intense, complex, alien, and yes, emotional. Not all of it hits the mark, but when it does, it makes for a very exciting listen.

That's fair...up to the "emotional" part. I can't sense that at all in Autechre's music (though I find the new work interesting-ish for a short period) But I definitely can with Xenakis' music (and he was an architect by training!) I think the problem of the "complexity" for many is that in Autechre's case it does not stem as much from their minds (as with Xenakis et al) but from the technology taking its cue from their minds and being too much of an intermediary in the process. Which reminds me to listen to Xenakis' works for harpsichord tonight! Intense, complex and emotional precisely because he scored it to push the limitis of a particularly adept and capable human player. There is a more direct connection through to the listener there. Paul Dolden's music works in a similar way; dense, intense and much more engaging largely because there is a sharper mind at work that is not in thrall to technological solutions and sound sources to carry an idea.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 10:02:09 AM by Mark Mushet »

Robert Logan

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2008, 10:43:58 AM »
I have to respectfully disagree (although I'm listening to Quaristice and it's pretty disappointing at the moment, to be honest...)

I mean, I know it's subjective thing, but I do find their music emotional - but not in the same way more traditional music might make me emotional. Confield especially sets my imagination on fire in places in a very unusual way; even if I can't state whether it makes me "happy" or "sad" or "nostalgic", or whatever, it does make me feeling something - something quite new and strange and very pleasurable in all its dark, organic, weirdness.

And I don't think they're simply lead by technology - they're pushing it in very interesting ways and it allows them do things that normal instruments could never do. I wish more artists explored software and synthesis in as much depth and with as much daring as they often do! Granted, what they do is very composed and often based on programmed processes and is not at all "live" sounding, but that's just them; if you want live music, stay away! As someone who has looked into max/msp quite a bit and also used some of the same live equipment they use, I can see that they're doing some very interesting things (apart from on the new album, which has some pretty lazy max programming in one track and also pretty obvious use of the monomachine, but never mind...) That's not the main reason I like them, though; I like them because all that experimenting leads to tasty, bizarre sounds that do provoke an emotional response in me.

Chiastic Slide is still my favorite of theirs, though, in spite of my appreciation of their new material. Cipater is just such an awesome track, especially the way it shifts into the second section half way through and changes time signature. That whole album has such a beautiful, dark, emotionally-charged atmosphere and it was also demonstrating  some really innovative programming techniques.

Ok, enough Autecre defending for one day.  ;) I don't even like their new stuff THAT much anyway, and I wouldn't want to make music like theirs. I just think they deserve more credit than they're getting; they could have easily gone on making Tri Repeataes for the rest of their careers, but I guess they didn't want to do that. I respect that.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 05:42:20 AM by Robert Logan »

Mark Mushet

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2008, 01:50:02 PM »
I mean, I know it's subjective thing, but I do find their music emotional - but not in the same way more traditional music might make me emotional. Confield especially sets my imagination on fire in places in a very unusual way.
And I don't think they're simply lead by technology - they're pushing it in very interesting ways and it allows them do things that normal instruments could never do. I wish more artists explored software and synthesis in as much depth and with as much daring as they often do!

I think we still largely respond more emotionally to the vastly more complex world afforded by human interaction with physical materials (acoustic instruments, even if modified/recorded/tweaked with/by technology) than purely synthetic sounds.

I like Confield too...but more as a study or an exploration. I didn't intend to say they're lead by technology though. They certainly instigate the sounds and create the games. But the soundworlds are limited and the games get boring for me. Interesting that many 20th Century classical composers moved from a concert hall/performance focus to technology/electronics then back again, having learned and incorporated some lessons both ways.

I wonder what Autechre would do with live performers and acoustic instruments...

Robert Logan

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2008, 05:08:37 PM »
I'd be curious to hear that! It could well end up sounding rubbish - but that'd be no different to a classically trained composer/musician having a first attempt at Max/MSP! I think you're right in suggesting that a competent combination of these two worlds is what would be very interesting - and I have yet to find that, though I'd love to. Often, I find one side or the other lacking; either the orchestrated/acoustic elements are too obvious and overly predictable in terms of harmony, or the programming is not terribly engaging.

I find what you said about acoustic vs synthetic sounds interesting, as I've heard a lot of people say that, and it does make sense. I do get moved by instrumental and orchestral works, but for me, personally, electronically created sounds can be just as moving, if not more moving. A deep, expansive sound world by Steve Roach really opens me up in ways only my favorite instrumental works can (although I'm aware a lot of his source material is acoustic), and I'm just as moved when I improvise on the piano as I am with a synthesizer and a rig of effects. I guess it just depends on who you are and what your ears like!
« Last Edit: February 01, 2008, 06:05:13 AM by Robert Logan »

jdh

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2008, 07:08:47 PM »
On tour in the US/Canada in April,mostly smallish venues.I for one,will not be seeing them.

michael sandler

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2008, 07:48:14 PM »
Wow, what an interesting thread...

Indeed. I don't think I'm familiar with this band, but anything alleged to be this bad has to be worth seeking out. Any suggestions where to start?

Mike S.


Joe R

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2008, 08:01:47 PM »
Any suggestions where to start?

Mike S.

Apparently, "Confield" curdles the blood of anyone who listens to it.
I've gotten curious myself!

Undershadow

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2008, 11:53:33 PM »
Those unfamiliar with Autechre will have difficulty understanding the feelings underlying some of the posts in this thread without a knowledge of what the group represents in terms of the history of electronic music, and, in particular, what’s come to be known (lamentably) as “IDM”, originally tagged as “Ambient techno” or “Intelligent techno” around the time of the "Artificial Intelligence" compilation http://www.discogs.com/release/549

So, here’s a Youtube-mediated attempt (yeah, I know, some of the videos are poor but it's a simple way of linking to a full-length sample of a given track) to induct the curious listener into the sound as it started out/developed/degenerated/deconstructed.

Let’s start with Autechre’s track off that “AI” compilation, which sounded amazing at the time, I’d like to stress, though it’s perhaps hard to imagine, 15 years on (this was released in 1993):

(n.b. forget the amateur-hour video, just listen)


Next, from the very early period of spacey post-electro that issued in first album, “Incunabula”:




This, from the same album, illustrates their eerie/alien melancholy atmospherics, combined with the ‘removed’ dance-derived beats ( a bit ‘clunky’ sounding now, but it was 1993):




This is a favourite of mine from the time (1994) from the “Amber” album, and showed they weren’t all about post-industrial post-electro beats and textures:




This was from around the time when they were at the height of their powers. I encountered it on the “Anvil Vapre”, and it later got bundled on to disc 2 of a special US release of “Tri Repetae” album (http://www.discogs.com/release/47276). Fantastic energy in the beats here – probably sounds dated now, but in 1995 it was er... *dope*:




This illustrates the doleful advanced-machine-funk blend they’d perfected by the time of 1995’s “Tri Repetae”:




These tracks (from "Cichlisuite", "lp5" and "ep7" respectively) show where they’d reached (equal parts ambient-techno, hip-hop and glitch) before they went beyond:


(accompanying Aronofsky’s Pi)




This came after The Fall ;) (though you have to admire the sound-vision synchronisation in this video):




These (from "Draft 7.30", and "Untilted" (sic)) are good examples of how unlovely they had become (for this listener, anyway) 10 years on:






Here’s where they’re at now. A taster from the new album:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6M4RtmU-kA (Embedding disabled, limit reached)

Yeah, scrummy, eh? ;)

For the record, my own favourite track of theirs is untypical. It's a kind of beatless space elegy, originally from the ep “Garbage”, and later bundled on that US “Tri Repetae++”. It’s the last track on the album, and a very lonely sound – someone mentioned it should have been called something like “Last Days on Earth”. Way too prosaic for these doleful Mancunian techies, who, naturally, went for the infinitely more expressive Vletrmx21 ;)
No decent quality clips available, so you better get out and get hold of a copy :P

We hope you have enjoyed this journey into Autechrean Sound...

Mark Mushet

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #34 on: February 01, 2008, 01:21:07 AM »
These (from "Draft 7.30", and "Untilted" (sic)) are good examples of how unlovely they had become (for this listener, anyway) 10 years on:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt--ArOpJQ0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2CuKEkfsik

Here’s where they’re at now. A taster from the new album:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6M4RtmU-kA



Wow. That's just dull music. Try instead anything from the current generation of electro-acoustic composers from France and Quebec for more interesting soundsculpting.

Robert Logan

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #35 on: February 01, 2008, 05:55:49 AM »
Ipacial Section is great fun! Especially loud in the car - some really satisfying drum thwwwaccks to get pummled by. It's not serious or deeply moving, but it sure is enjoyable to blast it out (and possibly dance to, if you're feeling strange). I really like all the different movements and variations within the track and that ridiculous circus-melody that suddenly pops up half way through. I'm honestly not "trying" to like it, and I can see why people into "deeper" music wouldn't enjoy it too much, but I just find it very catchy and immense fun to listen to once in a while. It was immediately likeable to me.   

If I'm feeling introspective or in need of something moving, I'll put on Arvo Part, John Adams, Robert Rich, Vaughan Williams, Stravinsky, Eric Satie - lots of others. If I need some slightly abstracted, bizarre dance music, Ipacial Section fits the bill quite nicely...(Although, a lot of Untilted is very disappointing, and that youtube version of Ipacial Section sounds terrible compared to the CD-quality version.)
« Last Edit: February 01, 2008, 06:06:20 AM by Robert Logan »

jblock

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #36 on: February 01, 2008, 09:19:35 AM »
Other than the name and a couple of tracks from the old AI compilations, I've never been too familiar with Autechre's music so Alan's post was very informative. After listening to all the links, I can't say any of it really knocked me out but the 94-95 material resonates the most with me.
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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #37 on: February 01, 2008, 09:32:35 AM »
Great job with that A/V recap of Autechre's history, Alan.  You win the "adding value to the Hypnos Forum" award for the week.
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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #38 on: February 01, 2008, 12:03:30 PM »
Thanks, Mike, and Jonathan, for the appreciation 8)  Though I think the conclusion I reached from my series of retrospective snapshots was that "you had to be there", and that to "Be Here Now", looking back in dispassion, can't give the perspective needed - one that can only come from experiencing a phenomenon synchronously.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2008, 02:14:38 AM by Undershadow »

Robert Logan

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Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« Reply #39 on: February 01, 2008, 05:53:22 PM »
-
« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 05:42:58 AM by Robert Logan »