Review Summary: A beautiful mess.
There is nothing more life affirming than to experience sadness. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed an emotional numbness that often prevents me from allowing myself to feel true, fundamental sorrow. There are very few pieces of music that cause me to manifest the feelings that Garbage
does. Somehow Autechre’s layered noise manages to break through my callousness and reach deep into my emotional core. Listening to Garbage
transports me to a not too distant future, where technological advances have caused humankind to further detach from each other to the point of social ineptitude.
These tracks are a collection of cuts that didn’t make it onto the Amber
album hence the title “Garbage.” Most people refer to Amber
or Tri Repetae
as Autechre’s first masterpiece but for me Garbage
will always be Autechre’s first work of brilliance. The opening seconds of “Garbagemx” is the sonic equivalent of a machine factory coming to life, with what sounds like a drill revving beneath some taps and cymbals. The whole track has this unsettling atmosphere that carries the listener down an assembly line of many different melodies and textures. This EP introduced Autechre’s template for bringing different unique sounds and melodies that fade in and out of the track and set the stage for further works like Tri Repetae
. Each track evolves with an unpredictable nature that keeps the listener engaged despite the minimalist approach to each composition. “PIOBmx” plays out like some dystopian nightmare. Its gurgling synths croak forward, droning on with a haunting, sinister undertone that begins several minutes in. “Bronchusevenmx24” allows for a few brief moments of calm to ensue that lulls the listener into a sort of euphoric meditative state. Distant bells can be heard beneath some percussive synth patterns. This track stands out from the others as being less bleak and harrowing, a curious addition to an EP rife with atmospheric turmoil. The EP climaxes on closer “VLetrmx” with swelling synth chords that crescendo into a riveting final moment.
I already feel I’ve said too much. For those that haven’t heard this yet, I hope I haven’t ruined the experience for you by projecting my own listening experience onto you. The best way to experience and truly appreciate this and much of Autechre’s other projects is to hear them for yourself, without any external influence or distractions. Turn off the lights of the room you’re in, turn off your phone, turn off your thoughts and worries, and just let these four tracks wash over you completely.