Review Summary: Autechre expands its musical efforts with an EP that, though being part protest music, is first and foremost simply excellent.
The opening track is obviously made as club-friendly fare, but by this point in its career Autechre makes even danceable music sound significant, in this case with something as simple as an overwhelming beauty. Like grief or wistfulness, "Lost" rotates around a central thought with various reiterations of a small set of differing approaches that, instead of leading away to a new concept, all return to the core, and do so many times throughout the track's duration. As a result, this central thought is emphasized all the more strongly, making for a song that, while appealing even on the basic level of moving one's body, carries itself into a subtle finality by resolving nothing and leaving the listener's mind wide open. This is exceptional in that it is evidently intentional, giving the listener a space in which to process whatever thoughts may have come to him while listening to it, on his own terms instead of having a conclusion handed to him, while also paving the way for the far more robust "Djarum".
This second track displays some of the polyrhythmic abilities that Autechre would come to develop, perfect, and then develop even further later on in its output. Although there is a pair of melodic lines that vocalize against each other, the percussive/rhythmic elements of this song are what define it, and even come to create a pseudomelodic effect of their own in how they interweave amongst themselves and even bind the melodic lines together into a stronger semblance of unity.
Ending this EP is "Flutter", which exists in a space between the two preceding tracks. A softly-stated melodic line appears after an initial introduction to the primary rhythmic element, and then drops into the conceptual background as the percussive section of the music plays around it, providing a sense of being an external manifestation of internal ideas within the melody. Weaving, rising, falling, intensifying, and most of all cascading into itself like the derivations of a calculus equation, this rhythmic line makes the song a powerful expression of the ways in which music's various facets can come to outshine themselves when experimented with in a respectful manner. The fact this track was designed to have a purpose in protesting police interference does nothing to detract from its quality; it is a testament to Autechre's abilities that, though "no bar contains repetitive beats", not one moment of this track sounds oddly-timed or incongruent with the rest of the track's moments.
Although this release contains excellence, and will always remain a definite highlight of its genre, it is too disunified overall to be considered a masterpiece in its own right. There is a lot of brilliance on display with this EP, but in the end, when taken as a whole, it does not jettison the listener into another world, a new awareness, or anything of the sort one can expect from the most powerful musical statements. Each song is, individually, very good -and two out of the three are excellent- but they bear little relation to each other, and as such this work remains very much "just an EP". That being said, it is one of the better ones to be found, and displays some of Autechre's finer moments, even if in slightly disjointed form.
the part i quoted is play by play in that it says exactly what is happening rather than describing your impression of what's happening. 'after this happened, then this appeared and following that appearance this happened' is what i mean. i guess you only really did it once and i see why it's tough to break up EPs other than track by track, but try in general to descripe impressions rather than detail what happened. this is pretty good though, keep it up.
Oh. Well that's intentional, then, and not going to change in the future. I'd much rather the describe the music itself, and let the reader decide for himself if it sounds like something he might like, then simply say I liked it or hated it. That places too much emphasis on my subjective reaction to it, which is of no use to anyone besides myself.
First of all, I enjoyed your review, and I pos'd. It is always nice to see more Autechre around here.
Now, you are entitled to write your reviews as you want, and as long as they are readable and serve its purpose, it is alright. In this case, I did not mind the "play by play" as Aokuneff calls it, because you did it a good job and also gave your overall impressions. Saying that
"Lost" rotates around a central thought with various reiterations of a small set of differing approaches that, instead of leading away to a new concept, all return to the core
is not more helpful than saying
[it gives] the listener a space in which to process whatever thoughts may have come to him while listening to it, on his own terms instead of having a conclusion handed to him
which is your personal interpretation, and it is even more meaningful, if you ask me. All I am saying is that describing the music is not necessarily of more use than stating your views on the music (in fact, your review is at its best when you make a judgement on what you just analyzed). Analizying the music as if you were asked to write an essay can also be self-indulgent.
rasputin: I'm not sure either, but it is safe to say that even if you don't like some of their albums, chances are there will still be a couple of others that you do. They're each pretty unique. 'LP5' is probably my favorite.
Zettel: yes, some level of judgement is necessary. Of course, I could just let the numerical rating make that clear, but that would be lazy wouldn't it Every reviewer has his own style, but as far as I'm concerned it's of little use to base reviews primarily around personal impressions. Those will always differ among listeners; no two people will have exactly the same reaction to a piece of music, so talking only (or even just mostly) about that does nothing to indicate whether the reader would like it or not. It just tells the reader that the reviewer did. The music itself, on the other hand, exists as an objective object, and by describing it one can also describe its qualities and failings, which comes closer to letting the reader know how his opinion on the work might form before deciding to spend time listening to it.
Deviant.: you mean the whole, play this at raves so you don't get shut down, thing? I only mentioned it in passing for two reasons; 1) most protest music is, if you ask me, trash, and not coincidentally 2) I concern myself very little with the reasons behind a musical work's creation, instead preferring to focus on its quality. There are naturally (as in everything else) some exceptions, where the quality of a work is derived from its purpose, but I don't think it's the case here.
I agree with all those points, I meant more the fact that because of the circumstances that surround this ep 'Flutter' was designed to be played at both 45 and 33 1⁄3rpm. The whole "we can play this at raves because it doesn't contain any repetitive beats thus getting around your ruling" etc