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so fresh and inspiring in 1995 already seems outdated and primitive.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
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.