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|A Guide To Autechre|
Autechre was the catalyst for the expansion of my music taste almost 2 ryears ago. In a rworld rwhere electronic music seemed like a bunch of rdance beats, bass drops, white girls in rfuzzy rboots, and smelly clubs (not rthat these things are bad, but 2 years ago me sure did rthink so) rAutechre ropened my eyes to the real world of electronic music. And it's taken me rralmost that rentire time to finally digest (or at least try to) their entire rdiscography. rThrough that time they remerged as my current favorite rmusical act, but the vastness of rtheir discography is a rformidable opponent rfor anyone attempting to pierce the veil that is rRob Brown and Sean rrBooth's robot world. So this list will attempt to break down the rAutechre rlegacy in what i think ris the easiest way to digest, and hopefully some of ryou will rfind as much to love as i did.
|1|| ||The LP's|
Regardless of the fact that IDM is a patronizing and ridiculous genre tag, Autechre is the quintessential IDM
act, if not for the simple fact that other than being endlessly cerebral and challenging there are really no two
Autechre albums do the same things in the same way yet manage to sound exactly like an Autechre album
every time. Even though i would recommend listening chronologically (like you should with any
discography) if you prefer a more guided approach i will attempt to provide that. Keep in mind this is by no
means ranked by strength (thats a whole new beast to tackle), but a guide for listening.
Tri Repetae album is widely regarded as their best release (even though every Autechre has someone claiming
it's the best thing they ever did) and it's probably because it is the most simply challenging record they ever
did. It's not quite at the spastic robotcore of albums like LP5 and Confield but it's also not as straightforward
as the first two records. It's got cold melodies, glitchy subbeats, and even a few rhythms here or there that
you might possibly could dance to. It's challenging but not too challenging and i think that's probably why it is
the best album to start with and why it has had such a lasting appeal. This is robot music made for people to
This is probably the most emotionally appealing album Autechre ever did, which is saying something for a band
that is notoriously devoid of emotional appeal (even though i find problems with this claim). It's mostly
ambient techno, reminiscent of most of the other stuff coming out of the Warp factory at the time (think early
Aphex except not exactly like that). Lot's of 808 and 909 rhythmic sections and great synthwork that
approaches being challenging at times but never really takes the extra step into robotland that began with Tri
Repetae the next year. This is music made for people to listen to.
This is the Autechre that is hard to get. Glitchy, complex rhythmic patterns, melodies that fluctuate from being the
rhythm sections and falling behind it only to reappear out of nowhere 3 minutes later, weird time signatures and
implementation with other strange rhythmic paradoxes (like the Risset rhythm of Fold 4, Wrap 3). Autechre is
mostly known for their rhythmic experimentation but they are equally as good musicians and LP5 shows just how
to make experimental electronic music still have some sort of visceral quality. Robot music for organic robots.
Anyone who says Quaristice was a "failed experiment" probably doesn't understand Autechre. Quaristice
takes the cold, mechanical atmosphere of Tri Repetae, slows it down, puts some damn awesome synthwork
behind it, and emerges with a surprisingly viceral piece of glitchy, downtempo, synth heavy IDM. In fact it
only really gets called an experiment because it isn't as crazy as the mid era work that came before it.
Quaristice is the beginning of the third era of Autechre and to the uninitiated should be one of the earier albums
to get into. Slow robot music for people who only talk to robots.
Confield might not be Autechre's most rhythmically complex album it does have the honor of being their most
sterile. If there is an Autechre album that even people who like Autechre won't like, it's Confield. This is music
that is almost purely devoid of emotional appeal or viscera. But there's a magical appeal to the complete
sterility of Confield that sort of makes the album a paradox. It's proof that nothing can sometimes have a
tactile presence that can be latched onto. Robot music only for robots.
Chiastic Slide was the most surprising part of Autechre's discography personally but only because of the public opinion of
Autechre. It seems like this album gets lumped into the second era of Autechre (i.e. pure robotmusic) when in fact it has
in common with Tri Repetae than it does with LP5. There is more of a focus on traditional songwriting techniques (i.e.
backbone for melodic and harmonic presentation) and while it does hint at what is to come, it's much less inaccessible than
most reviews would have you believe. If you enjoy Tri Repetae you will most likely enjoy this. Robot music for people who
enjoy earlier robot music.
Untilted is one of those Autechre albums that has people claiming it's the best thing they ever did while others claim it's a
weak link with seemingly no middle ground. It's like a more restrained version of what LP5 might have sounded like if it
was made 7 years after LP5. Regardless, it contains one of Autechre's best tracks (the massive Sublimit) and other
gems like The Trees and Pro Radii. If you get to this point and liked LP5 and Confield, dive into this headfirst. If the
robotcore is a bit out of your reach, wait a bit for everything to sink in. Robot music for indecisive robots.
Oversteps is really the beginning of the summary period of Autechre, where they were less involved in pushing current
limits as wrapping up all their ideas into one neat little package (the symbolism of 0 on this record pretty much makes
that concrete, but Autechre's aesthetics are another beast entirely). Next to Amber, this is their most emotionally
resonant record Autechre ever did and most likely is a harkening back to the more synth based, ambient parts of their
output, and while the strange robot rhythms are still present to an extent, they are dialed back to a dull roar to let the
musicians in Autechre take over. The only reason this is so low on the list of priorities is because it's a throwback and
listening to throwbacks before you listen to the original is a bit self defeating. Robot music for robots with souls.
If Oversteps was a summary of early Autechre, Exai is a summary of mid era Autechre. It is one of the strongest record's
they ever put out and is a perfect summary of the Autechre that most uninitiated view with interested apprehension. Once
again, the only reason this is so low is because i find it more helpful to listen to a summary after being exposed to the
source material. Robot music for robots who already know heir robots.
Draft 7.30 is Autechre going off the deepend. This album chronicles the process of making a rhythm and then slowly
destroying it over the next few minutes. Sparse soundscapes and insanity make this probably the most difficult out of all
Autechre's releases to get into, but, like everything else they do, it is extremely rewarding if you do overcome the initial
barriers. Approach this with either experience of caution.
An early relic of their Artificial Intelligence days, Incunabula was the final full-length album of the Artificial Intelligence series
to come out before the release of the final compilation, Artificial Intelligence II. The only reason this is so low is because it is
somewhat of a relic, even if it is still amazing. This is Autechre before the really found their Autechre sound. There are hint's
at what they would become but these elements were much more focused and apparent on the subsequent release Amber.
Regardless, this might be the strongest album to come out of the Artificial Intelligence lineup right next to Black Dog
Productions' Bytes. Essential ambient techno/proto-IDM that hints at the greatness that was in store.
|13|| ||The Ep's|
Despite what Baseline says, Autechre's EP's are an essential part of their discography and contain some of the
best work they've ever put out. They also have a fascination with making EP's longer than regular LP's so
sometimes you're in for more than you realize. They also tend to take more liberties with presentation on the
EP's than on their LP's (see: Quaristice.Quadrange.ep.ae and the fact that a remix basically means an entirely
new song) so it can be a little confusing at times, but very much worth it in the end. Here's the breakdown.
These first two EP's are some of the best work Autechre has ever done, but Garbage is on another level
entirely. The opening 12 minute behemoth Garbagemx36 seems like it lasts half the time it really does. It
comes directly from the Tri Repetae school of composition and is proof that Autechre were pushing the
boundaries in more areas than just how complex you can make a beat. The opening track would make this EP
worth it alone except for the fact that the rest of the EP is just as good and is rounded off by the beautiful
ambient piece Vietrmx21 that makes me wish they would just go ahead and release a straight ambient record
at this point. Absolutely essential in their discography.
Anvil Vapre is notable not because it does anything inherently complex or revolutionary, but because it shows
when Autechre aren't focused on bending your mind they can create surprisingly catchy music. This EP could have
been played in a club and no one would have batted an eye or twisted anything trying to dance to it. It's
aggressive, its fast, its noisy, and it's got a bunch of great synth leads and melodies that make it compelling on a
much more visceral level than most of their work that would come after. If you want to hear Autechre make a
barebones, dancable electronic record, Anvil Vapre is just that.
Move of Ten
If Oversteps was Autechre harkening back to their more restrained, synth based sound then Move of Ten was
the exact opposite. Basically a full length that gets labeled as an EP (at ten tracks long), this is Autechre going
back to having fun with music. It's glitchy, its weird, its got beats that take days to get, but it's also surprisingly
lighthearted and dare i say, playful? This will definitely resonate with fans of their more out-there music but it's
certainly not as emotionally neutral as albums like Confield and Draft 7.30. This is the album that fans of both
sides of Autechre should see eye to eye on. Essential listening.
Coming out just after revolutionary LP5, EP7 has just as much content and functions like the opposing side of the
same coin. The crazy beats are there, but more restrained. The melodies and synthwork is sparse but functions
as much more of a focal point that it does on LP5. The weird shit is still there, but it less rhythmic experiments
than experiments with what kind of sounds actually qualify as music. If you listened to albums like LP5, Confield,
and draft 7.30 but wanted something more tangable to grasp onto, EP7 is for you. It's Autechre making brain
music that they want you to like.
Here is one of the best examples of Autechre messing with presentation just as much as they mess with the
laws of nature. Quaristice.Quadrange.ep.ae was a digital only album of every single track that was on Quaristice,
just jumbled up and messed with, closed by a 58 minute ambient/downtempo track that blasts past with the
brilliance of all of the most prolific ambient artists out there. It doesn't get much better than a 58 minute piece
of music that feels like half the time. If you liked Quaristice, you'll like this, and you owe it to yourself to sit
through all of the closer. It is brilliant on a level that most musical acts never really approach.
If Draft 7.30 was the most musically challenging of their LP's then Gantz Graf is the most challenging of their
EP's. It's like the Ascension of the electronic world. You can try and lie your way out of claiming that you know
what's going on in the title track, but everyone else knows that's a bold faced lie. But, as typical with Autechre's
music, you don't necessarily have to understand it to like it. One of the more interesting experiments they did
but most certainly not fruitless. This one's for the robot maniacs out there.
Supposedly Autechre's "hip-hop" experiment and guess what, it sounds nothing like what you think it does.
Groovy beats show up here and there but at it's heart it sits right at the tail end of the first era. Laughing
Quarter is one of their best tracks, and if you want to groove to it you can (i mean if you really want to). Don't
let the "hip-hop" word throw you off, this Autechre through and through and good Autechre.
Autechre's EP's have an uncanny ability of showcasing their evolution better than their LP's do. Well, maybe not
their evolution, but the transitions they went from album to album and era to era. Recorded in 1995 during a
radio session, this wasn't officially released until much later. Regardless, Peel Sessions showcases the transition of
Autechre from the ambient techno/proto-IDM masters of the Artificial Intelligence lineup to the experimental, mind
bending behemoths most people know them as. The ethereal synths and melodies are here in full force but you
can really start to here the multilayered and ultra-nitpicky rhythmic sections that would later define their sound
take shape. This isn't just an interesting relic however, it's three of the best tracks from their early era, and pretty
essential if you decide you are a fan of Autechre.
This is where we start getting into the "only for hardcore fans" part of their EP's. Cichlisuite consists of 4 remixes
of the track Cichli from Chiastic slide that sound nothing like the original track and one new one. Autechre's music
was always basically a sonic palimpsest, but Cichlisuite takes that to another level. If you listen close enough you
can apparently hear echoes of older tracks from albums like LP5 but it's so buried under the new ideas that it really
takes some effort to dig out where these tracks derive from. It's as if Autechre were saying "music has always
been about stealing and just making sure no one noticed". If you're hardcore into Autechre then this is an
essential and extremely rewarding listen.
The story behind Anti EP is almost as interesting as the music contained. Anti is a protest record through and
through. It was a response to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which was meant to crack down
on raves, which it described as being public gatherings where music was played. The Bill defined music as a
"succession of repetitive beats", so, in true Autechre fashion, Flutter was programmed so as to never repeat
the same beat twice, technically circumventing the ban established by the Bill. All of the profits for the EP went
to the National Council for Civil Liberties, even though there was a disclaimer on the record claiming no political
alignment and this protest was in support of personal freedoms.
What's most interesting about this is that the music, even though it was made with an agenda, is still
surprisingly compelling. Flutter is one of the most brilliant electronic recordings ever, because even though it
was programmed to circumvent the law, it doesn't sound nearly as out there as most of their other
rhythmically experimental stuff. It adheres to the Amber/Tri Repetae era in style, but when you combine both
strength of the music and the reasons behind it's inception, it's a pretty essential part of Autechre's
The most striped down release Autechre ever did. Take Amber, make it even simpler than it is, and you have
Splitrmx12. Fortunately for Autechre they aren't just good at making spastic robot music and these two tracks
manage to be pretty compelling if you know what you're getting yourself into. For completes only but worth it no
Another remix EP, this is a collection of 5 songs that are reinterpretations of the track Basscadet from Incunabula.
Unfortunately this one isn't quite as successful as Cichlisuite (probably because it was a younger Autechre) and kind
of goes all over the place. There are spots of brilliance (like the subterranean world of Basscadet (Basscadubmx))
but other inclusions seem kind of pointless and only there for the novelty of being there. Worth a listen definitely if
you become an Autechre fan, but nothing essential.
Peel Sessions 2
The second released Peel session, in which none of the songs were given titles and Peel made them up, is pretty
much by the numbers Autechre that even hints at being warm from time to time. Some great tracks on here
and definitely worth getting once you're deeper into the Autechre world, but nothing to high on the priority list.
We R Are Why
Released as a 12" in Autechre's earlier years, this one is a bit "dancier" than what would come or even really what they were
around the same time. That's probably the reason it was released as a 12" instead of on another format. Regardless, the two
tracks included are pretty good (Autechre has never put out anything that even approaches bad) but this one is for the most
Digital Exclusive EP
Run off from the massive amount of content produced during the Quaristice sessions, only there's a reason these weren't put on
the album or the EP. Blyz Castl is very good but the other two tracks don't really sounds like Quaristice material and, while still
pretty good, aren't nearly as compelling as the other material. For completists only.
|this is the beginning of my attempt to stop just bitching about this site not being good anymore and actually working to improve the overall quality. if we all stopped playing around and actually came together and shared what we enjoyed this site would be a much better place|
let me know what you think, this is the first thing of this type that i've ever attempted so it's a tentative success at this point.
|hey nice read bro, inspired me to listen to autecher again|
site still sucks tho
|best duo ever|
|good shit hyp m/|
|Great list, but you need Lego Feet.|
|yeah i know ive gotta get on that lego feet comp in fact ill go grab it right now|
|you should read RYMer leafface's take on Oversteps if you haven't|
|"It's mostly ambient techno, reminiscent of most of the other stuff coming out of the Warp factory at the time (think early Aphex except not exactly like that)."|
like select tracks from I Care Because You Do
|Awesome dude, commenting to read later I don't have time right now.|
|yeah like that wolfy, good call|
|hey nice read bro, inspired me to listen to autecher|
|respect and love this group's work almost as much as Neurosis's, sometimes more.|
Exai is getting to be in my top 5 records of all time also, love how it flows. My only honest complaint is how prac-f isn't up to par to the rest of the tracks and that it comes up early with that problem.
So much brilliance to be found from them, from Foil's sounds of deterioration, Hub's melancholic background melodic hums, Rae's nostalgia under the complex rhythms, to V-Proc's hip-hop influence.
|i checked that review havey and that really makes me want to revisit oversteps with a different mindset. i already enjoy them album alot, but now i need to listen to it with that in the back of my head|
|I just had my Autechre awakening about a month or so ago. I seriously haven't listened to hardly anything else since i got hooked on them. I started with Exai, then to Chiastic and Tri, then Untilted, now the past couple days been jamming Draft and LP5. My gut is telling me to go with EP7 next, then finish up the bender with Quaristice and Oversteps.|
|"Regardless of the fact that IDM is a patronizing and ridiculous genre tag,"|
I really disagree with this, and really anyone that sees IDM as representing all other forms or contemporary and underground dance music as being "stupid" or whatever (so yes, that includes AFX). To me all it has ever really implied is that the music, while still beat-based is of a more complicated nature than a simple 4x4 dance beat. I'm sure it was never created with negative connotations in mind - it's the 90s edm
|But outside of that, fantastic work. You should definitely check out their mix for FACT mag; given how intensively you've delved into these guys, the mix should represent a nice amalgamation of all their influences: |
|Agreed Dev, but still it's such a silly choice of name lol.|
Sweet list btw Hype
|Fabulous list Hyperion =)|
I will bookmark it for further personal reference.
|i generally agree with you dev, i dont really have any personal problem with the IDM tag but i feel like because its such a disliked notation you have to at least acknowledge the ridiculousness before going past it|
and thanks for the link, ill definitely be checking it out
|Nice work, Hyperion. You have an interesting outlook on their discography though... I'm surprised to see Quaristice and Move of Ten listed so high, and Draft listed so low.|
|This is a great list. Something I would never attempt to do (it would give me nightmares), but you did a fantastic work. We certainly differ on our views on many albums, but we already know there is no definitive view on their music, right? Thanks for the good read.|
|Great read. Listening to Confield atm.|
|"if we all stopped playing around and actually came together"|
sorry, i came premature
|This is outstanding|
|Untilted IS the best thing ever |
|Untilted changes, expands and contracts so many times in each song that's it's impossible to get bored |
because it's constantly bringing something new to the table. It's a cold desolate research facility of
sound that is absolutely pummeling and ever changing in its space-time.
|beep bloop beep boop beep whirrrrrr beep chkchk beep BEEEEEP|
|bad write up|
|thanks for all the kind words, im probably gonna go back through this soon and fix some errors and smooth out some of the writing because i wrote this whole thing in one session and need to go back over it with fresh eyes|
if you see any glaring mistakes or poor wording let me know
|i see lots but if yer so smart then find them yourself you dink|
|it does agreed|
|I agree with you completely coneren - techno is garbage. It's a good thing that Autechre plays IDM then, because they rule.|
|geas clearly doesnt know his genders well enough thats too bad|
|Yeah sometimes I can't make the distinction between a penis and a vagina. They just look so similar. : (|
|Guys, Go to Drinkify.com, type in Autechre and tell me the song that plays. There are like two songs that play at random and one of them I CANT FIND. PLEASE|
|why are you bringing those into this you clearly know nothing about everything that isnt everything|
|Well you don't know anything about everything except maybe something but that's practically nothing|
|i know all about that of which is not thank you very much friend|
every time i refresh i get a different song so i probably am not listening to the same shit you are,
but finding the current song that is playing isnt hard. just view the source code of the page and
near the bottom there is always a link to an external MP3 that gives you the song name. it looks
something like this: audio id="music" src="http://www.nogenremusic.com/wp-
content/uploads/2011/05/Gelk.mp3" loop autoplay preload>audio
|wow geas check you cis privilege you fucking fuck|
|"I agree with you completely coneren - techno is garbage. It's a good thing that Autechre plays IDM then, because they rule."|
Always good to see people swimming in their element
|Wow cool list. I only have a few albums and even fewer EPs from Autechre |
I would say Confield is a contender for their most rhythmically complex, and perhaps their most rhythmically sophisticated also.
|I remember hearing Amber and Tri Repetae a few years ago before I had a strong taste for electronic music. Gonna have to check those again.|
|yeah confield is my favorite autechre at the moment (although that has changed like 5 times since i started listening) but it's not quite as spastic as some of the stuff on like LP5 or Draft 7.30. maybe i should make that distinction instead of just saying the word complex.|
|i'd say confield is more spastic than LP5 overall|
|@Hyperion1001 Thanks dude super helpful. I WILL find this song. Seems as though a different collection of songs play on certain days because these are totally different from the last 3 that kept looping (which contained the damn track im trying to find.) I wont give up.|
|lol oops i tagged the wrong guy my bad but sure dude if i could do more to help i would|
|maybe next time you make a list you should put more thought into it you clearly didnt with this one just a helpful hint for next time youre welcome|
|IDM isn't a stupid genre tag at all. It represents a sound you all know, so why should it be |
considered stupid? What else would you call it?
|well its just that most of the artists who pioneered the genre seem to dislike the tag. i like the tag and use it to find and label tons of stuff but i was just trying to highlight the fact that the term Intelligent Dance Music is a bit of a divisive term|
when i go back over this ill reword that though, i do agree it doesnt really need to be there
|rdj said it was like calling other dance music stupid or something along the lines|
|He also suggested that the genre be renamed "braindance", and no one listened. I think if we're going to ignore his suggestion, we should also ignore his reasoning. There's nothing wrong with calling it IDM... no one listens to it and thinks "man, dance is so fucking stupid!", it's just a classifier to make sorting our music collections easier.|
|"this is the beginning of my attempt to stop just bitching about this site not being good anymore and actually working to improve the overall quality" |
So lets post Autechre!
The sites duality between metal and electronic is an interesting one to follow, especially as new/unveiled tastes from older users grow/begin to take over their comments.
I have a lot of their work, but haven't begun to go through it yet. "Dropp" off of LP7 remains a favorite.
|lp7 lol. might as well be|
|"The sites duality between metal and electronic is an interesting one to follow"|
yeah i was thinking the same thing. i remember back in the day just getting into extreme metal i would always read things about the artists getting into electronic music more and more but i didnt really have any interest back then. fast forward to now i havent listened to a metal album in like a month.
i feel like i was always going to eventually love electronic there were just boundaries that needed to be crossed before the latent taste for it was able to emerge. lots more than my listening habits have changed in recent times and i think that has a lot to do with it.
|It's strange to think that only a year or so ago Deviant's lists were many users first real taste of certain genre's and the like, it's fun to see people (myself included) grow and begin to agree on certain groups. |
I find these guys to be a bit harder to get into, you really WANT to listen to them for the most part I find (just throwing an album/EP on in the background hasn't ever made me want to listen to the end).
|Good list dude, time for me to check out some Autechre|
|"It's strange to think that only a year or so ago Deviant's lists were many users first real taste of certain genre's and the like, it's fun to see people (myself included) grow and begin to agree on certain groups."|
Yep, that's exactly my case. The Dancing Deviant was the one that really got me started. (Aphex, Autechre, [i]Leftism[/i], [i]Lifeforms[/i], [i]Ima[/i] etc. etc. etc.). It's great to see that many Sputnik users are keen on electronics. That makes for one of the best websites to learn them (in my opinion), along with ResidentAdvisor and RYM lists.
|Woops, BBCode not working - fail :P|
|Yeah it doesn't work in comments. |
I like it, as long as there's variety. We've been having more soundtracks and ambient lists/reviews lately, really fond of those.
|Tremendous read, nice work man.|
|i've heard amber and exai. these guys are tough to get into. |
|positive hype :)|
|Tri Repetae best album ever|
|Incredible list, this will help to navigate through the albums I haven't heard from them!|
|Incunabula / Amber > all|
|the opinion of a mere human|
|oh and how i fondly look back at how i used to be one of those before my transcendence|
|still one of the bestest lists|
|woah I got backed hard by deviant 08.21.13 oh fuck ya|
my favourite Autechre song is definitely Second Bad Vibel. Everything about that thing is monstrous. And that's why I always prefer to listen to the ++ section as well. I know it's an LP and two EPs but I just listen to it as a double LP and it's flawless.
|New EP next month |