Cover Art
Autechre
Autechre

[Warp/Nothing/Interscope]
Rating: 8.4





On Autechre, Autechre's fifth full- length effort in as many years, Sean Booth and Rob Brown have veered off in an entirely new direction. Where their previous efforts were equally melodically- and rhythmically- oriented, Autechre is decidedly all about the rhythm. The duo have headed off into a world of pure and refined experimentalism which may lose them even some of their die-hard fans. Which is not a bad thing.

See, what Autechre have achieved in the past is admirable and, in electronic circles, almost legendary. Their sound has come to define drill-n-bass, while also helping to set the standard for other Warp Records artists. Granted, they're far from having exhausted the possibilites of drill-n-bass music. But on the other hand, we're in a period where technology is advancing so rapidly that what sounded so fresh and inspiring in 1995 already seems outdated and primitive. So, yes-- now was the time for Autechre to update their sound. And they've done it well.

The record opens with the startling wheeze-n-hack of "Acroyear2" and "777," two seemingly tuneless numbers whose skittering beats sound sampled from otherworldly sources. But by the time we reach the album's third track, "Rae," thing have slowed up a bit, and traces of the old Autechre have become apparent. The song doesn't break the rhythmic onslaught that fuels Autechre-- it just lays an icy synth drone underneath, giving the song a strangely calming effect.

It's generally agreed that the record's standout track is "Corc," whose laidback beats and subtle melody is a perfect soundtrack for cruising through the futuristic nitetime ghettos of Tokyo. But there's something about "Arch Carrier" that seems much more artistically unique, and altogether more powerful. The track kicks off with a seemingly random melodic structure that eventually becomes the song's backbone as heartbeat- like drumlines and eerie string sections enter the mix.

So, rather than looking at Autechre as a crappy, self- indulgent, overly- experimental release from an otherwise brilliant band, realize that it's simply Autechre passing from kindergarden to the first grade. And their entrance into the next wave of electronica.

-Ryan Schreiber



Fri: 04-01-05

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The Pop Culture of 9/11
Column: Interrobang (?!)

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Boldface denotes 2005 inclusion
in Best New Music.


 
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