Autechre

Picture of Autechre

Incunabula

Autechre - Incunabula ©1993 TVT/Wax Trax!
1. Kalpol Introl
2. Bike
3. Autriche
4. Bronchus 2
5. Basscadet
6. Eggshell
7. Doctrine
8. Maetl
9. Windwind
10. Lowride
11. 444

One of the more discussed names in ambient/techno/electronic music, Autechre's Incunabula actually reminded me at the outset of that new-age artist Jean-Michael Jarre who took electronic and synth pompousness to a new height (albeit often enjoyable). Autechre also has similarities to Orbital throughout - possibly because Orbital is the band I'm most familiar with in the genre. As the album wears on, the music gets away from largescale sweeping sounds to a more percussion and electronic effects heavy attack. On occasion, some of the synth tones used come across as cheap. For example, the intro tone to "Doctrine" just doesn't cut the mustard. But more often than not, the album is enjoyable. "Windwind" is a lush song that works for me, as well as "Bike". It seems overall that Autechre could use some expansion on the basic ideas presented on the CD, but it's a good piece of work in general.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/1999

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Amber

Autechre - Amber ©1994 TVT/Wax Trax!
1. Foil
2. Montreal
3. Silverside
4. Slip
5. Glitch
6. Piezo
7. Nine
8. Further
9. Yulquen
10. Nil
11. Teartear

Described by some as "difficult" to listen to, Autechre shed much of the quaintness and cute Casio-isms of Incunabula to create a much more dynamic and flush release with Amber. On a whole, the album is nearly a parallel aural vision of the sand cliffs of the cover. The beauty of this music is in its apparent simplicity but upon further inspection there are many various layers of work going on within. The music can be taken as a whole, utilized as a nice backdrop if you are occupied with other activities. However, if you take the time to close your eyes and simply listen, a lot is revealed. Often there are wildly diverse sounds going on. For example, you might have the rhythm track with three different synthesized melodies all working against yet together with one another. Moreover, this is the sort of ambient oriented album that essentially requires an uninterrupted listen as it is not so much centered around song as it is around a sustained mood. Though some of the minimalistic keyboard tones used here might make the album seem sparse at first, Amber's rather impressive depth make this a very recommended listen for those curious about electronic ambient music.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/2000

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Confield

Autechre - Confield ©2001 Warp
1. VI Scose Poise
2. Cfern
3. Pen Expers
4. Sim Gishel
5. Parhelic Triangle
6. Bine
7. Eidetic Casein
8. Uviol
9. Lentic Catachresis

At a certain point, it seems many electronic artists venture away from more "traditional" songwriting methods and dive headfirst into baffling experimentalism. Autechre, who spent much of the 90s offering up rather tuneful electronic music, veered away from their earlier melodic based style into a sound that only fax machines might fully appreciate. Confield is music made by algorithms as the duo utilized computer programs to formulate songs, creating songs that were unpredictable outside of a calculus workshop. One could only picture dancefloor club kids performing herky-jerky palpitations of their extremeties trying to gyrate to perplexing rhythms and scraped up sounds.

While Confield lacks orthodox songwriting structure and familiar approaches, the album makes excellent use of space and ambience. Many glitched effects are used, allowing for a cold, mechanical feeling to permeate the proceedings. The song titles are equally fractured, making one wonder exactly how the members of Autechre came around to this strange mutation of language and music. The sense that one either needs to be a computer programmer or a mathematician can often result in a frustrating listening experience. One can spend time exploring the usage of dynamics and deconstructed sounds, but at the same time it's difficult to quite grasp the thread of any given song.

Confield stands as a divisive release, one that most likely alienated many listeners at first blush. The abstractions presented on Confield are difficult and maddening at times. But one must congratulate Autechre for constructing a unique new approach to electronic music rather than rigidly remaining tightly within a defined subgenre. Confield is intriguing yet impressive despite its disconnection with most electronic conventions.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2009

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