Autechre
EP7


4.5
superb

Review

by danielito19 USER (28 Reviews)
July 23rd, 2015 | 39 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist


"It seems that for a lot of people, if they hear something that doesn't sound regular, they assume it's random. If live musicians were playing it, they'd probably call it jazz or something."

Autechre have received exorbitant amounts of praise and criticism, in equal measure, for their use of generative software in music composition. Detractors of Autechre's unique brand of experimental techno often claim it sounds "random," which Sean Booth addresses in the above quote; however, many critics fail to realize the relatively small role generative sequencing plays in Autechre's composition. Only two records out of their extensive discography are primarily generative: their 2001 opus Confield (the title referencing Conway's Game of Life, a generative system in its own regard) and the preceding album masquerading as an EP, EP7. "Most of Confield came out of experiments with Max that weren't really applicable in a club environment." EP7, then, presents itself as the earliest experimentation Autechre did in the medium. In what is altogether incredibly rare for a group that tends to operate in total secrecy, the Max/MSP patch for track 7, Liccflii, was leaked and Autechre's methods are laid bare. I won't claim to understand any of the programming, but it's important to keep in mind that "random" isn't in Sean Booth or Rob Brown's vocabulary. The generative sequences are entirely under their control and are painstakingly tweaked to perfection.

EP7 was originally intended to be two separate EPs, and this is how a record that rivals the length of Autechre's shortest LPs earned the EP designation. While there is a cohesive sonic thread running through all the tracks present, the divide between EP7.1 and EP7.2 is certainly noticeable. The first five tracks make up the first half, and the remaining six compose the back end. If there is a flaw with EP7, it's that 7.2 is considerably stronger than 7.1. Autechre's quality control is ever present, and none of these songs are in any way weak; and in true Autechre fashion, every song is vastly different from the other songs it's packaged with, but somehow all the clashing personalities fit together, like some kind of eight-dimensional aural jigsaw.

The usual adjectives for reviewing Autechre's music still apply - cold, calculated, sterile, and mathematical - but EP7 shows the group at their most robotic and inorganic. Songs like "Ccec," which features an impossibly precisely chopped up rap sample, dip heavily into the uncanny valley. It's so close to human that the natural reaction is repulsion at the slight differences. "Dropp" presents itself as a simple melancholic synth line, but when the drums enter they bring along an otherworldy swooshing effect that completely defies explanation. Indeed, much of Autechre's prowess lies in subverting initial impressions - "Maphive 6.1" ends up nowhere near its starting point, progressing through gamelan-style bells to a more typical (for Autechre, anyways) array of skittering kicks and snares. Possibly the most organic of the tracks here is "Zeiss Contarex," named after a camera, which somehow gradually pulls a dramatic melody out of an infinitely descending Shepard tone.

EP7 is likely the Autechre release most concerned with DSP, or digital signal processing, and computer tricks. Previous work focused more on organic track development, while later work focused more on inventive sequencing. Many of the tracks here begin or end with what many would call "digital noise wankery;" but rest assured none of the DSP experimentation gets in the way of the music. Often the difficult-to-describe computer weirdness forms the backbone of the track, like in the aforementioned "Dropp," or in "Outpt," which is based entirely around a distinctive digital bubbling.

On the surface there's not much to relate these tracks to one another, no sense of storytelling as rockists would demand an album to possess - but Autechre has always avoided this. Nearly all their full-lengths operate as collections of tracks rather than conceptual or dramatic suites (LP5 and Amber being the most notable exceptions). It is entirely due to the merit of the individual pieces that Autechre is worthy of acclaim. Their secretive nature also feeds into this musical meritocracy: there are no meta-narratives that feed into the minds of critics and reviewers, causing them to focus on the artist rather than the art. Autechre's EP7 occupies its own plane, one immediately terrifying and confusing, but EP7's unique brand of perplexity is not one to skip.



Recent reviews by this author
James Holden The InheritorsNathan Fake Providence
The Black Dog Music for Real AirportsEmika Drei
Self Defense Family Talia b/w TaxyingSelf Defense Family Self Immolation Family b/w World Virgins
user ratings (81)
Chart.
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Ocean of Noise
July 22nd 2015


9810 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fuck yes this needed a review, have a pos dude

Digging: Windir - Likferd

TwigTW
July 23rd 2015


2844 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this, but I could never describe it in words, nice job.

Digging: Exquirla - Para Quienes Aśn Viven

deathschool
July 23rd 2015


21928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review dude. Doesn't deserve the neg. fuck whoever did that. Need to check this. Pos

Avagantamos
July 23rd 2015


5965 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

new thread to bump, nice

Digging: Machinedrum - Vapor City

danielito19
July 23rd 2015


11930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

all my reviews get negged shortly after posting. I think I have a secret admirer.

Ocean of Noise
July 23rd 2015


9810 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pir is pretty af

danielito19
July 23rd 2015


11930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Pir and Dropp are the perfect bookends to 7.2.

Ocean of Noise
July 23rd 2015


9810 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea everything on this is really good basically



would have worked better as 2 separate EPs though

danielito19
July 23rd 2015


11930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I definitely agree. 7.2 outclasses 7.1 super hard.

Ocean of Noise
July 23rd 2015


9810 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this better than Confield tbh

PappyMason
July 23rd 2015


5702 Comments


A good read, pos'.

I definitely need to get more of ae's EPs.

Ocean of Noise
July 23rd 2015


9810 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

buy the EP collection, it's worth every cent

danielito19
July 24th 2015


11930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

their eps tend to be super underrated.

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
July 24th 2015


19975 Comments


wow really sweet review, this is my favorite line

On the surface there's not much to relate these tracks to one another, no sense of storytelling as rockists would demand an album to possess


the only issue i see is that they've said oversteps uses a good bit of generative/algorithmic tech but they go into detail about just exactly how they use it, so its not just EP7 and Confield. they talk about it here.

http://www.tinymixtapes.com/features/autechre

danielito19
July 24th 2015


11930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

shit i forgot all about that interview. ah well.

Ryus
July 24th 2015


15697 Comments


yes

Digging: DJ Richard - Path of Ruin

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
July 24th 2015


19975 Comments


its all cool though this review is great you should review more.

danielito19
July 24th 2015


11930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I find it hard to review sometimes as i constantly find myself too wordy or otherwise just repeating myself. with albums where there's lots to talk about, like this, that's not a problem, but with grind albums? forget it. what can you say about a grind album besides "the riffs are good."?



besides that I feel like if i step up my reviewing i want there to be a tangible goal, such as site promotions; however those are pretty unattainable for me for a few reasons - i've been a huge moron in the past and made some really stupid comments all over the site, and i don't typically review much new music.



don't get me wrong i do enjoy reviewing, i just have a lot of difficulty with it and i have trouble phrasing exactly what i need to work on and how to improve.

Ocean of Noise
July 24th 2015


9810 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you have to basically be KILL to review a grind album properly lmao

Avagantamos
July 25th 2015


5965 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I want to review the new CanOx, but I feel like I'd spent way too much time comparing it to the cold vein



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy