Autechre
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Incunabula (1993) (1993), 8/10
Amber (1995) , 7/10
Tri Repetae (1996) , 7/10
Envane (1997) , 7/10 (EP)
Chiastic Slide (1997) , 8/10
CichliSuite (1997), 6.5/10
Gescom: Only 3, 6.5/10
LP5 (1998) , 5/10
EP7 (1999) , 5/10
Confield (2001) , 6.5/10
Draft 7.30 (2003) , 6/10
Untilted (2005), 6/10
Quaristice (2008), 5/10
(Oversteps) (2010) , 6/10
Exai (2013), 6.5/10
Links:

Summary.
The career of Manchester-based disc-jockeys Sean Booth and Rob Brown, better known as Autechre, actually comprised two careers. The first one was about dance music whose beat had been deformed and suppressed, melted into a watery substance, emptied of its narrative content, but relatively warm and organic. The smooth and detached tones of Incunabula (1993), perhaps the most austere and implacable album in the history of dance music, coined a new form of ultra-minimal techno that was expanded on the more colorful Amber (1995), insinuateing those minimal/artificial sounds in the most obscure orbits of the subconscious, and on the more claustrophobic Tri Repetae (1996), that resorted to metallic sounds and subsonic frequencies. These works were inspired by Steve Reich's minimalism, Kraftwerk's robotic trance, and Brian Eno's ambient music, but their emotional content (if any) was radically different. Chiastic Slide (1997) was the dividing line, the discontinuity that caused a phase shift. The menacing texture of digital beats, repetitive noises and dejected melodies mutated into alien beings with a life of their own. Autechre's second career, best represented by LP5 (1998) and Confield (2001), was about dissonance, icy ambience, irregular rhythm and non-linear development. Both careers were characterized by austere, meticulous, intricate sound design. Autechre's tracks often seemed labyrinthine mirages: the closer one went, the more lost one felt.
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Gli Autechre si sono imposti rapidamente fra i massimi protagonisti della nuova dance-music ambientale.

Sean Booth e Rob Brown, due disc jockey della scena techno di Manchester, sono fra i protagonisti del genere senza canto ispirato alla musica elettronica soffice ed eterea degli anni '70 che ha preso il sopravvento nei rave. Le loro composizioni non usano canto o strumenti convenzionali, ma collage di battiti e accordi. Gli Autechre esordirono con l'EP Lego Feet (1991 - Skam, 2012), ristampato vent'anni dopo in versione estesa di 70 minuti, e con l'EP Cavity Job (Hardcore, 1991), contenente Cavity Job e Accelera 1 & 2.

I riferimenti di Incunabula (Warp, 1993) sono infatti i tardi Tangerine Dream e il Brian Eno dell'impressionismo synth-pop, quando non la musica classica indiana e l'hip hop. Il ritmo sudamericano e le metamorfosi robotiche del singolo Basscadet non cambiano un'equazione che e' fondamentalmente priva di variabili. In alternativa agli stili dominanti, tutti piu` o meno di stampo alieno-futurista, gli Autechre propongono un sound tenue e dimesso, organico invece che meccanico, plastico invece che monolitico, come annunciato fin dall'inizio con l'elettronica soffusa e le ritmiche suadenti di Kalpol Introl. E` un'ideologia che si sublima nel techno vellutato di Bike, in cui ogni vortice minimalista e` calibrato con manieristica precisione. Le cadenze mutano in continuazione, passando senza traumi dai balletti piu` effervescenti alle pause piu` austere. Cio` che conta e` la radiazione di sottofondo, quasi sempre fievole e talvolta impercettibile. 444 cambia un po' le regole del gioco, lasciando che il drone di fondo (un organo glaciale) si avviti alle evoluzioni sensuali di un sintetizzatore, proponendo cosi` una terza via alla trance che fonde la Music For Airports di Eno e la Rainbow In Curved Air di Terry Riley.
Il duo raramente tenta il gotico, anche se con una variante minima il suono diventa sinistro, come dimostrano i borboglii minacciosi e metronomie metalliche di Bronchus 2 e soprattutto le onde malinconiche e i poliritmi sincopati di Doctrine.
La loro prassi ha poco in comune con l'ambientale moderna. Semmai ricorda i primi incerti esperimenti della musica popolare elettronica. Il tempo lievemente jazzato, la melodia iterata e il cupo drone di sottofondo di Eggshell (forse il brano piu` accessibile ed elegante) riportano alla memoria la Tonto's Head Expanding Band. Altrettanto "antiquata" e classica suona la mezza cantabilita` di Lowride, i suoi carillon metallici e le sue frenesie africane.
La musica sottomarina di Aut Riche rappresenta uno dei vertici di sofisticazione: una specie di coro gregoriano viene lasciato fluttuare fra le galassie mentre si sussegue una sequenza di assoli jazzati alle tastiere, ogni volta in un timbro diverso, e sempre un timbro un po' "acido". Il preziosismo in fatto di campionamenti, loop e droni trionfa invece in Windwind, forse il capolavoro tecnologico del disco, la cui complessita` interiore viene mimetizzata dietro una superficie levigatissima.
Il tono distaccato e nonchalant con cui il duo esegue le sue composizioni si insinua fra le maglie della psiche. Il duo e` soprattutto interessato alle qualita` tonali dei suoni, che vengono alterate in continuazione per creare un senso di stordimento, di crollo dell'orientamento, di mancanza di punti di riferimento. La loro e` musica per "chill out room" piu` che per discoteche.

The EP Anti, ranging from the cacophony of Flutter to the urban jungle of Djarum, accounced the multi-colored canvas of Amber (Warp, 1995).
Foil (galactic frequencies, cycles of rustles, flamenco-style tapping, soft cymbals that come and go) and Glitch (electric shocks, undercurrent of tribal percussions, ticking industrial clockworks) insinuate artificial sounds in the most obscure orbits of the subconscious.
At the same time, these alien sounds come from a shared primitive source. Piezo is a mini-concerto for wadded timbres that seem to come from Peruvian flutes superimposed to a drone that seems to echo a Tibetan mantra. Nil is an elongated dub track mixed with ominous organ and accordion sounds, almost a slow-motion gospel, and a wailing sound reminiscent of Hawaian guitars.
Autechre smashes its sources and then uses debris to manufacture music that does not seem to belong to this world's musical traditions. The atmospheric polyrhythms and the looped accordion figures of Furthur betray the pillars of Autechre's disintegration process: Steve Reich's minimalism, Throbbing Gristle's industrial music, Kraftwerk's robotic trance, and Brian Eno's ambient music.
There is still plenty of drama and of emotions, though. The surreal ballet Teartear is simply a dramatic, emotional version of Furthur's elements. Compared with the rest, Yulquen has the solemn quiet of a piano sonata: notes and beats have become one and the same, sounds that follow each other to gradually bud into a mood. The duo, in fact, is at the peak of its "directorial" skills, as proven by the haunting scenarios of Silverside (orchestral phrases ebbing and flowing a` la Klaus Schulze, syncopated distorted beats that lash out at warped, shadowy voices that appear and disappear in the background, a sense of impending catastrophe) and Nine (a set of oniric, psychedelic reverbs, like Grateful Dead's Dark Star played light-years from here).
On the lighter side, Slip is a simple vignette whose hummable melody is carried by bubbling electronica a` la Tonto's Expanding Head Band. In the charming Montreal a melodic fragment, looped around a frantic micro-beat and a languid ambient phrase, spawns a pressing minimalistic repetition.
Amber is another monumental work, although less austere and implacable than its predecessor.

L'EP Anti (WARP, 1994), spaziando dalla cacofonia di Flutter alla trance nella giungla urbana di Djarum, annuncia la tela piu` colorata di Amber (Warp, 1995).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Paolo Latini)


L'EP Anti (WARP, 1994), spaziando dalla cacofonia di Flutter alla trance nella giungla urbana di Djarum, annuncia la tela piu` colorata di Amber (Warp, 1995).
Foil (frequenze galattiche, cicli di fruscii, tapping in stile flamenco, cimbali leggeri che vanno e vengono) e Glitch (shocks elettrici, correnti di percussioni tribali, rumori di macchinari industriali) insinuano il suono artificiale nelle più oscure orbiote del subconscio.
Allo stesso tempo, quei suoni alieni provengono da una fonte comune primitiva. Piezo è un mini-concerto per timbri ovattati che sembrano provenire da faluti peruviani sovrapposti ad un drone che sembra echeggiare un mantra tibetano. Nil è una traccia dub prolungata mixata con suoni sinistri di organo e accordion, quasi un gospel in slow-motion, e un suono lamentoso reminiscente delle chitarre hawaiane.
Autechre fracassano le loro fonti e ne usano i detriti per confezionare della musica che non sembra appartenere a nessuna delle tradizioni musicali di questo mondo. I poliritmi atmosferici e le figure circolari di accordion di Furthur rivlano i pilastri del processo di disintegrazione degli Autechre: il minimalismo di Steve Reich, la musica industriale di  Throbbing Gristle, la trance robotica dei Kraftwerk, e la musica ambient di Brian Eno.
Non mancano, comunque, drammaticità ed emozioni. Il balletto surreale Teartear è semplicemente una traduzione in termini drammatico-emozionali degli elementi di Furthur. A contrastare col resto, Yulquen ha la quiete solenne di una sonata di painoforte: note e battiti diventano tutt'uno, suoni che si rincorrono per germogliare in un mood. Il duo, infatti, è al culmine delle sue qualità "direttoriali", come dimostrano gli scenari tormentati di Silverside (un flusso e riflusso di frasi orchestrali à la Klaus Schulze, battiti distorti sincopati che d'improvviso si sfogano in scure voci rattrappite che appaiono e scompaiono in sottofondo, una sensazione di una catastrofe evitata) e Nine (un insieme di riverberi onirici e psichedelici, come Dark Star dei Grateful Dead suonata ad anni luce da qui).
Su un piano più leggero, Slip è una semplice vignetta la cui umile melodia è supportata da una un'elettronica esuberante di scuola Tonto's Expanding Head Band. Nella fascinosa Montreal un frammento di meolodia, ripetuto su un frenetico micro-beat e una languida frase ambient, liberano una pressante ripetizione minimalista.
Amber è un'altra opera monumentale, sebbene meno austera e implacabile del suo predecessore.

The monumental Tri Repetae (Wax Trax, 1996) increased the project's claustrophobia by resorting to metallic sounds, subsonic frequencies and dejected melodies. Dael toys with syncopated polyrhythms that arise from a texture of digital beats and repetitive noises. A menacing analogic melody sweeps the hostile land of Clipper, alight with crackling sequencers. Both the melody (an ominous refrain in the low end of the spectrum) and the rhythm (a spasmodic pulse)` are further refined in Rotar, and the way Autechre first builds an elegant pattern and then turns into a mathematical counterpoint resembles Bach's Art of the Fugue. The melodic lines are barely audible in Stud, and the rhythmic pattern is no less subdued. With these robotic, repetitive and subsonic compositions, Booth and Brown coined a new genre of music, almost the exact opposite of what rock music is supposed to be (loud and emotional).
If the first five tracks are Autechre at their most theoretical, the next five tracks are an abridged, popular version of the main ideas. The symphonic variations of Eutow, the grotesque ballet of C.Pach, the sonic refractions of Gnit, the aquatic echoes of Overand, the exotic dance of Rsdio (with the main keyboard pitched to sound like a didjeridoo) offer a much easier path to Autechre's weird universe.
The common themes here are the frail and atonal sound of the digital percussions and the almost obsessive use of loops. These tracks also have in common the absolute absence of emotions. They could well be random sequences generated by a computer and performed by videogames.
The second CD of the American edition also includes two important EPs. Garbage (Warp, 1995) is a lengthy work, whose highlights are the industrial-shock ballet Garbagemx, the dadaist voice pastiche Piobmx and the warped techno of Bronchusevenmx. Autechre is still looking for its true voice, but each experiment leaves a mark. Anvil Vapre (Warp, 1996) contains the 14-minute jungle deconstruction Second Bad Vilbel, the slowly shifting clockwork of Second Scepe, the hypnotic undulation of Second Scout, the rhythm-less apotheosis of Second Peng. Here Autechre has already matured in something coesive and unique.
Tri Repetae simply removed the emotions from that "something".
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Paolo Latini)


Il monumentale  Tri Repetae (Wax Trax, 1996) incrementa la claustrofobia del progetto ricorrendo a suoni metallici, frequenze subsoniche e melodie scoraggianti. Dael gioca con poliritmi sincopati che sorgono da un tessuto di battiti digitali e rumori ripetitivi. Una minacciosa melodia analogica spazza l'ostile terra di Clipper, illuminato da un frastuno di sequencers. Sia la melodia (un sinistro refrain nella parte bassa dello spettro) sia la rimtica (un pulso spasmodico) vengono poi ridefinite in Rotar, e il modo in cui Autechre prima cotruiscono un elegante pattern e poi lo trasformano in un contrappunto matematico ricorda il Bach di Art of the Fugue. Le linee melodiche sono a malepena udibili in Stud, e il disegno ritmico non è meno represso. Con queste composizioni robotiche, ripetitive e subsoniche, Booth e Brown coniano un nuovo genere musicale, quasi l'esatto opposto di ciò che si suppone sia la musica rock (rumorosa ed emozionale).
Se le prime cinque tracce mostrano il lato più teoretico degli Autechre, le successive cinque mostrano una versione abbreviata e popolare delle idee generali. Le variazioni sinfoniche di Eutow, il balletto grottesco di  C.Pach, le rifrazioni soniche di Gnit, le eco acquatiche di Overand, la danza esotica di Rsdio (con le tastiere impostate per suonare come un didjeridoo) offrono un percorso più semplice per entrare nell'universo sconcertante degli Autechre.
I temi comuni sono qui i suoni deboli ed atonali delle percussioni digitali e l'uso quasi ossessivo dei loops. Queste tracce hanno in comune anche l'assoluta assenza di emozioni. Potrebbero benissimo essere delle sequenze casuali generate da un computer e suonate da videogiochi.
Il secondo CD dell'edizione americana inclide due importanti EP. Garbage (Warp, 1995) è un'opera lunga, su cui spiccano lo shock industriale di Garbagemx, il pastiche dadaista Piobmx e la tormentata techno di Bronchusevenmx. Autechre stanno ancora cercando la loro voce, ma ogni esperimento lascia il segno. Anvil Vapre (Warp, 1996) contiene la decostruzione jungle di 14 minuti Second Bad Vilbel, le lente variazioni meccaniche di Second Scepe, le ondulazioni ipnotiche di Second Scout, le apoteosi aritmiche di Second Peng. Qui Autechre sono già maturati in qualcosa di più coeso ed unico.
Tri Repetae non fa che rimuovere le emozioni da quel "qualcosa".

Il secondo CD (soltanto in USA) contiene gli EP Anvil Vapre e Garbage.

From the recording sessions of 1996-97 Autechre derived the album Chiastic Slide (Warp, 1997), possibly their masterpiece, and the EP Envane (Warp, 1997), two works that radically altered the perspective on their art. This time around, Autechre's sound-sculpting is an exploration of cacophony, both in terms of timbric dissonance and in terms of rhythmic inconsistency.
Basically, Autechre incorporated the psychological and harmonic harshness of industrial music into their aesthetic of rigor, discipline and precision. At the same time, they assimilated the rhythmic discord of hip hop into their geometry of beat. Cipater (that accidentally quotes Lothar & The Hand People) is a nine-minute cubist clockwork that slowly undoes a metallic metronome by transforming it into a polyrhythmic ballet which, in turns, decays into pure chaos of beats. Whatever melody was being maimed, the result of Autechre's digital processing is an abstract soundscape of discrete events, like a crowd of terrified animals surfacing from every direction. The melody is miraculously reconstructed by keyboards that sound like a Japanese koto.
The brief Rettic AC ventures into even more mysterious lands: frantic ruffling noises disturb the quiet of eerie resonating drones. Tewe populates that unfriendly vacuum with irrational percussive pattern that seem to be largely improvised. This is the equivalent of a jazz jam between a digital neural network and the quantum zero-point field.
Unlike the previous pieces, the nine-minute Cichli starts out loud and maintains a high level of electricity. Again, the vertical dimension is defined by the juxtaposition of a floating organic drone and a thick tapestry of bouncing beats (but the last two minutes are pure beat-less celestial ecstasy).
The "beat" is reduced to a mere trace on the radar of Hub, the most disjointed of these futuristic watercolors, a psychedelic carillon of alien subsonic fragments.
After the brief minimalist sonata of loops Calbruc, the ten-minute Recury is the first track to actually "sound like" a known genre: industrial dub. Its mutations are also the most subtle of the entire album, almost an essay in reversal of roles.
Pule (eight minutes) tries a simpler idea: a table-like beat (not the usual polyphony of beats) that fades away as the organic drone expands.
The closing 13-minute Nuane is the closest thing to hard instrumental hip-hop. The spasmodic linear explosions recreate the effect of a melody. Then they suddenly implode and become mere potentialities for the next nine minutes. It is a cryptic, puzzling, mesmerizing ending to a most challenging album.

The EP Envane (Warp, 1997), divided into four "quarters", contains the melancholy and oneiric eleven-minute piano sonata of Draun Quarter (including a three-minute orchestral coda with no beat). If Laughing Quarter might be too brainy (or humorous?), it is impressive how coherent Latent Quarter sounds given that it merges musique concrete, an industrial beat, glitchy noise, funky sub-bass, and a bassoon-like melody, ending in chamber music territory. The ten-minute fantasia Goz is another multifaceted gem: initially it sounds like the scrambled footage of a jazz jam, then a scratching novelty of the late 1970s, and then a babbling melodic line moves to the foreground, and nonetheless the whole disintegrates in some comic synthetic chirping.

The highlights of the EP CichliSuite (Warp, 1997) are the lively and intricate pieces: the eventful, cyclic, syncopated, quietly acrobatic beatscape of Yeesland; and the petulant skitting ping-pong of Pencha. Less effective is the minimalist repetition of Characi, and the duo still doesn't completely master the art of the melody (which prevails in the slow, downtempo Krib).

Gescom started in 1994 as a joint project by Autechre, Darrell Fitton and Rob Hall. It continued throughout the decade with a series of collaborations between Autechre and other musicians. Gescom's most ambitious release was Only 3 ( Minidisc, 1998), a collection of over 40 tracks. Its simplest manifestation was the single ISS SA (Skam, 2003).

Compared with Autechre's masterpieces, LP5 (Nothing, 1998) is a minor work. The mechanical clockwork of Acroyear2 and the bouncing rubberband of Arch Carrier are content with recycling themselves. The impenetrable intricacy of 777 fares better than both. The standouts, however, are probably Drane2, that sounds like an odd remix of country & western music, and Under BOAC, an explosive remix of Caribbean music, a bombardment of missile-like beats.

EP7 (Nothing, 1999) is actually an album of 11 tracks for a grand total of 60 minutes. But it is another minor work, that confirms the period of crisis. The trivial dancefloor ditty Rpeg is redeemed by the sinister ten-minute panzer dance Outpt (although the coda is basically a separate track whimsically attached to this one). Too many pieces are mere excuses for tampering with digital equipment. The results sound more like demonstrations than compositions. Some degree of success is achieved in the sinister android crackling and chirping of Left Blank and Liccflii. Maphive 6.1 is different from the other pieces of the album because it actually displays some evolution. The brooding pomp of the beginning sets the tone for the story of a frail metallic melody trying to survive inside a colossal cyclic rhythmic pattern. Like in the case of LP5 these is little substance to justify a full album.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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Dalle sessioni di registrazione del 1996-97 hanno origine l'album Chiastic Slide (Warp, 1997), forse il loro capolavoro, e l'EP Envane (Warp, 1997), due lavori che cambiano radicalmente la prospettiva del loro lavoro. Questa volta il sound esplora la distorsione e rumore e soprattutto i cambiamenti di ritmo. Gli Autechre incorporano le asprezze armoniche della musica industriale e le asprezze ritmiche dell'hip hop. Sonorita` comunque spasmodiche pervadono Rettic AC e Recury. Cipater cita, forse involontariamente, i Lothar And The Hand People.
Tracks: Cipater, Rettic AC, Tewe , Cichli, Hub, Calbruc, Recury, Pule, Nuane.

Sull'EP, diviso in quattro "quarti", svettano la liquida dance-music di Latent Quarter e la lunga, malinconica e onirica Draun Quarter. Goz Quarter e Draun Quarter sono le altre due suite.

L'EP CichliSuite (Warp, 1997) contiene Yeesland, Pencha, Characi, Krib, Tilapia.

Accreditato a Gescom, esce poi Only 3 ( Minidisc, 1998), una raccolta di oltre quaranta brani. Il progetto Gescom era nato nel 1994 con la partecipazione di Autechre, Darrell Fitton e Rob Hall, ed era proseguito attraverso una serie di EP di collaborazioni fra Autechre ed altri musicisti. E verra` resuscitato per il singolo (un po' banale) ISS SA (Skam, 2003).

LP5 (Nothing, 1998) non ha la stessa forza creativa.

EP7 (Nothing, 1999) e` in realta` un album di 11 brani per un totale di 60 minuti. E` un'altra opera minore, che segna un momento di crisi. The brooding atmosphere is particularly jarring in Ccec and Maphive 6.1.

After several works of dubious importance, Confield (Warp, 2001) is a more convincing follow-up to the program enunciated with Chiastic Slide . After the odd introduction of VI Scose Poise, with its sporadic Brian Eno-esque ambient piano notes in a bed of metallic glitches, the album starts in earnest with a sequence of austere concepts: the catastrophic drumming of Pen Expers, obliterating an incomplete organ melody; the ringing fibrillating undercurrent of Parhelic Triangle, stuck in the swampy main beat; and the hysterical sizzling beat crushed in the dark vortex of Bine. They rank among their most uncomfortable compositions. The nine-minute closer, Lentic Catachresis, piles up tiny chaotic dissonant events over the dark shroud of a drone until we only hear the crackling in the foreground and the drone has been vivisected to become a stuttering loop. By comparison, Sim Gishel lines up some relatively straightforward dance steps, and Cfern is lounge muzak. Eidetic Casein, despite the crunchy glitches, is a clownish parenthesis, a dance for drunken gnomes; and the nine-minute Uviol stands like an intermezzo of sorts, a quiet oneiric nocturnal shuffle.
The compact disc includes as a bonus track the relentless hyper-Caribbean Mcr Quarter, performed live. The duo is doing more than merely surveying a hostile territory: it is mapping a new route through that territory.

The 20-minute EP Autechre (Warp, 2002) contains three pieces that are relatively upbeat and straightforward: Gantz Graf, the six-minute rave-up (for their standards) Dial, and Cap.IV, which sounds like a lengthy remix of the previous track.

Consistent with Autechre's previous works, Draft 7.30 (Warp, 2003) didn't break any new ground but sounded like a self-indulgent revisitation of old ideas. Theme of Sudden Roundabout sounds simplistic at best. Xylin Room, V-Proc and IV VV IV VV VIII are mere reprocessing of Autechre cliches. However, the 11-minute Surripere ranks among their most intriguing musical metamorphoses, constantly off-center but also constantly focused.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Paolo Latini)

Dopo alcuni lavori di dubbia importanza, Confield (Warp, 2001) rappresenta una più convincente continuazione del programma ecunicato su Chiastic Slide (Warp, 1997). Parthelic Triangle, Uviol, l'austera Bine sono tra le loro composizion meno rilassate. Il duo sembra seguire una logica che libera i suoi suoni. per sempio l'ambient Viscose Poise porta al drumming catastrofico di Pen Expers. È più che una mera contemplazione di territori ostili: è una mappatura di una nuova strada che passa per quel territorio.

L'EP di 20 minuti Autechre (Warp, 2002) contiene tre pezzi che sono relativamente più sostenuti e diretti: Gantz Graf, il rave-up di sei minuti (per i loro standards) Dial, e Cap.IV, che sembra essere un lungo remix della traccia precedente.

Coerentemente con le precedenti opere di Autechre, Draft 7.30 (Warp, 2003) non irrompe in nuove terre, ma suona come una rivisitazione autoindulgente delle vecchie idee. Theme of Sudden Roundabout è tutt'al più semplicistica. Xylin Room, V-Proc e IV VV IV VV VIII riciclano i vecchi cliches. Comunque, gli 11 minuti di Surripere sono da annoverare tra le loro più intriganti metamorfosi musicali, costantemente decentrata ma anche costantemente a fuoco.

Compared with some of their lifeless soundscapes, Untilted (Warp, 2005) is a hysterical work: the music jumps up and down, unrelenting and recklessly indisciplined. If Sean Booth and Rob Brown are trying to make an art out of straddling the border between the adventurous and the confused, many pieces here are highly successful (Pro Radii, Ipacial Station, the 15-minute Sublimit). The edgy Lcc simply condenses what other tracks dilute over long distances. At the same time, the album is frequently shapeless (the dubby Augmatic Disport), although in a meaningful way. Of all the undefinable music they have produced, this might be the hardest to grasp and label. Thus it is not surprising to meet the eerie (even by their standards) The Trees.

Aeo3/3hae (Die Stadt, 2005) is a self-indulgent collaboration between Autechre and Hafler Trio.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Stefano Bedetti)

Paragonato ad certi loro paesaggi sonori senza vita, Untitled (Warp, 2005) e’ un lavoro isterico: la musica saltella di qua e di la’, senza tregua e spericolatamente indisciplinata. Se Sean Booth e Rob Brown stanno tentando di fare un’arte che cavalchi il confine tra l’avventuroso e l’incerto, molti brani raggiungono ampiamente lo scopo (Pro Radii, Ipacial Station e Sublimit, della durata di 15 minuti). L’affilata Lcc semplicemente condensa cio’ che le altre tracce diluiscono su lunghe distanze. Allo stesso tempo, l’album e’ spesso amorfo (le cadenze dub di Augmatic Disport), anche se intenzionalmente. Di tutta la musica indefinibile che essi hanno prodotto, questa potrebbe essere la piu’ difficile da comprendere e da classificare. Così non ci si sorprende di imbattersi nella sinistra (anche per i loro standards) The Trees.

 

Aeo3/3hae (Die Stadt, 2005) e’ una collaborazione autoindulgente fra Autechre e Hafler Trio.

Quaristice (Warp, 2008) contains 20 brief tracks that sound like a random assembly of ideas that they are no longer capable of exploring. Episodes such as Simmm and Rale sound like disoriented takes on the digital music that has overtaken them. The techno impression of Chenc9 sound like an admission of age. However, the dark ambient music of Notwo and Outh9x prove that they can still be on top of the game when they find the right concentration; but, overall, this is the worst album of their career yet.

(Oversteps) (Warp, 2010) reverted the descent into frigid shapeless textural poetry thanks to a single-minded humanistic strategy. These are still vignettes (the longest piece is "only" six minutes long) and more melodic/charming than ever. R Ess unwinds a looping melody and then disintegrates it. Known(1) spins a gentle folkish carillon-like refrain played (or, better, stammered) in a harpsichord-like timbre, despite the interference of a harsh synth. The main thread of Treale even evokes cinematic soundtracks of the 1960s, and there is an echo of Morricone's spaghetti-western scores in Yuop. The atmosphere itself tends to be more humane than it ever was in their classics: the sub-bass and drum-machine of Ilanders exude pomp and grandeur; on the other hand the floating keyboard notes of Qplay radiate a jazzy psychedelic feeling in the cubistic beatscape; Krylon is their take on celestial new-age music; etc. These "songs" carry out a linear mission: to match sophisticated beat constructs and simple melodic ideas. There is the occasional beat-less break (the fluttering multi-layered minimalist patterns of See on See) but mostly that is the routine. Within each piece there is relatively little variation. The exceptions don't always work: D-sho Qub sounds like an early synth-pop ditty before the beat gets hit by industrial distortions, devoured by furrowing rodents and swallowed by a galactic choir; but the end result is not convincing. That is the problem: when Sean Booth and Rob Brown run out of inspiration, they don't shelf the project but deliver it unfinished. Ditto for St Epreo, a mostly rhythmic structure that could be a demonic funk strut but instead is left at an embryonic stage.

By comparison with the half-baked compositions of the previous two albums (the substandard Quaristice and the merely passable Oversteps), there are much more ambitious compositions on Exai (Warp, 2013). The beat reigns unchallenged in the industrial bacchanals of Fleure and Prac-f, in the relentless cyborg assault of Spl9. More calmly, VekoS also presupposed an aesthetic that is purely about rhythm, or, better, anti-rhythm. The program stretches all the way to the jovial pseudo-calypso of T ess xi and the acrobatic tapping of Flep, far away from the glacial mood that is more typical of Autechre. Then, again, existential melancholy emanates from the laconic 1 1 is and the way it drifts towards extinction; and plain neurosis propels, or, better, deters, the progression of the nine-minute Nodezsh, a repetitive piece that in theory should be hypnotic but ends up being more horrific than hypnotic. The chopped, irregular beats are also used to craft the harrowing soundscape of Runrepik and the abstract dissonant chamber music of the ten-minute Cloudline. This album almost undoes the "melodic" current that swept through Oversteps. In fact, it stands as its ideological counterpart. Deco Loc, the user-friendly track that mixes cut-up vocal samples with hip-hop beats, feels out of context. So does the eight-minute Yjy Ux, which could be an upbeat remix of a minimalist concerto by Terry Riley until it decays into a ghastly fever of drones and scrapes, and it keeps decomposing until very little is left of the beat amid whirring echoes.
On the downside, the ten-minute Irlite is typical of the confusion that keeps Autechre from making coherent statements: too much happens and too little remains. The twelve-minute Bladelores is swept by a quasi-melodic breeze but, again, it doesn't seem to know what to do next, and the beat is surprisingly trivial by their standards. The nine-minute Recks On repeats a banal leitmotiv for a while and then, again, doesn't quite know how to handle it. No matter the redundancy and the sloppiness of the lengthier compositions, the sheer quantity of ventures and probes is enough to create a semiotic jungle for generations of aspiring PhD students.

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