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"
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”
). 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"
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
We hope you have enjoyed this journey into Autechrean Sound...