Autechre
NTS Sessions 1-4


4.0
excellent

Review

by MiloRuggles USER (7 Reviews)
August 17th, 2019 | 15 replies


Release Date: 04/26/2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cis dudes are doin' it for themselves

If you think about it hard enough- and if you're really desperate to get tenuously metaphorical in order to kickstart a review- Autechre's career bears an inarguable, definite, glaringly obvious, and uncanny resemblance to the history of NASA's Voyager project.

The word of Autechre's humble mission to make fun computer music spread throughout the populace with the release of their opening trilogy of Incunabula, Amber, and Tri Repetae, fitting in comfortably beside their Warp peers that some cunt with a calculator watch, an expensive pair of headphones, and PTSD from being bullied at high school ranted on about being “comparable to dance music, but for more intelligent, discerning listeners such as myself,” thus catalysing the world's most embarrassing genre title in a pocket of music dominated by white British dudes, who, like the humble paradise duck, seem to migrate almost exclusively in pairs, plumage consisting of either North Face jackets, beanies, or both. Like the Voyager project's announcement, launch, and cute little self-portrait of our planet as the two probes zoomed away from the shitstorm of earthbound capitalism that created them, the IDM audience was provided with familiar reference points to cling on to for these early releases. As Americans in the seventies could glug down 24 PBRs and sleep peacefully in a pool of their own vomit, content that their tax dollar more or less made them astrophysicists by proxy, Autechre's audience in the nineties could happily eat an eighth of 'shrooms and trip face while listening to Eutow on repeat for six hours, convincing themselves that these new digital frontiers placed them ahead of the curve of typical music consumption, and right on the edge of their musical comfort zones.

What came next was innovation and discovery. The Voyager crafts' next fly-bys were familiar planets to the global consciousness of the time, yet the discovery of active volcanoes, storms, tectonic activity, ice, a multitude of hitherto hidden moons, and the suggestion of otherworldly phenomena such as seas of liquid methane, and pink-hued nitrogen ice all captured the public's imagination once again, this time in a more meaningful way than a photo of our own planet ever could. This eleven year period of excitement and revelation as the probes traversed our solar system aligns roughly with Autechre's own period of astounding mid-career innovation from Chiastic Slide through to Oversteps. The jumping off point for their music remained firmly within the IDM realm, but the variables that they began to fuck with differed to artists around them. They began to pile up their very own collection of otherworldly auditory phenomena, eschewing some of the more fundamental tenets of popular music in favour of embracing the perplexing possibilities of the space they had created for themselves, immersing listeners in aural landscapes where melody and rhythm sometimes ghosted you entirely, sometimes visited for dinner, and sometimes flogged you with a cat o' nine tails while pegging you in front of your missus.

You've likely heard this all before- or experienced it for yourself- but it seems to me that the outrageously prolific version of Autechre that's been confronting us for the past few years is getting about as much attention as the Voyager probes get now that they're in the vast stretch of interstellar space, 300 years out from the Oort cloud, the pale blue dot of our home now nothing but a memory. Autechre's releases are like radio transmissions from those lonely vessels, except instead of a metal craft sailing silently into the void, we're presented with another brace of Anglo-Saxon males trying to sell us obtuse electronic music. Their achievements are as impressive as ever, but it's hard to appreciate their journey into the infinite when you've got more pressing matters to face every day, like trying to figure out why everybody leaves the room whenever you start talking about how good Autechre is.

Over the last decade or so, the boiz have adopted a new credo- give these fuckers more than they can handle. Many consider these releases to be an exercise in patience for the masochistic, yet the rewards reaped from repeated exposure to this work remains consistent with the rest of their body of work. NTS Sessions' obscene length- which I don't think warrants criticising in an age where superstans are willing to sift through 18 hours worth of shit that Radiohead didn't even want to release- is certainly a challenge. Inevitably, most listening experiences will be broken up between different sessions, different moods, and different environments. I've discovered that these changes in circumstance can have a profound effect on the way that certain tracks hit you. Some make sense in bed with your eyes closed and headphones in, and some (many, actually) make sense in your car at night, gliding down sealed roads surrounded by gleaming lights of countless hues.

If you can't tell by the fanyboyish lilt of my rhetoric creeping in here, I've really thrown myself into a fractal-shaped hole with the amount of Autechre I've been consuming over the past few months. On one occasion recently, I had just put on Plaid's Polymer for the first time, and was cautiously optimistic that old duo (have a guess at their nationality, ethnicity and sex, the results may not surprise you) might be able to pull another one out of the hat. Well, the album was okay, but in comparison to the three Autechre albums I had listened to that week- wait, since when do I listen to that much Autechre?- it sounded so rudimentary that it could well have been produced twenty years ago. Autechre had already tread and moved past this ground in an era where people thought that the coming of a new century according to the Gregorian calendar might coincide with their PCs becoming self-aware and murdering the shit out of all of us.

Is it worth attempting to provide a highlights reel of the NTS Sessions experience?Short answer, no. Longer answer, there is so much content here that aims for so many different things that it seems redundant to try and stack any of it up. I could tell you that North Spiral is a good song wherein it sounds like you're being chased by a giant, malfunctioning, robotic centipede, and, when it finally catches you, it challenges you to a dance-off instead of ripping you to shreds. I could try and guess at what patches were being implemented in what songs, what gear was being used. I could start throwing out words like 'alien,' and 'sound design,' and you could nod along in shared understanding.

I could, but I won't, and the simple reason is the length. It's part of the form and fibre of this album, and any attempt to understand the release means that you're going to have to listen to eight hours of music many times over, when in reality you've got shit to do and other artists to listen to. And what good would that analysis be to you anyway?Listen to the fucking thing in your own time and see what kinda Rorschach shit your mind latches onto. Autechre have had a consistently compelling career, and this release very happily continues that trend. You could try and pore a microscope over each individual moment, but it would be like labeling and analysing each sperm cell at a Roman orgy. You'd be far more likely to get yer bits frothin' if you were to spend some time gazing at Coutere's The Romans in their Decadence, if you catch my drift.



Recent reviews by this author
Tool Fear InoculumBlonde Redhead Blonde Redhead
Baroness Gold and GreyPink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon
Negura Bunget OMNumenorean Adore
user ratings (27)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
MiloRuggles
August 17th 2019


128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Everybody should listen to more Autechre.



This review is an exclusive flex on Jonny for not finishing his Plaid review yet.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
August 17th 2019


3017 Comments


Very, very good.

Digging: Lil Tracy - Anarchy

Lord(e)Po)))ts
August 17th 2019


44806 Comments


my broken dryer is filing a copyright infringement claim on autechre

Digging: ((( O ))) - ((( 1 )))

Mr. Pain
August 17th 2019


17442 Comments


lol


sixdegrees
August 17th 2019


6812 Comments


what did we do to deserve this

Digging: Pastel Ghost - Ethereality

MiloRuggles
August 17th 2019


128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well there was a severe lack of pretentious rants floating around, so I thought I'd fill that hole

BMDrummer
August 17th 2019


14644 Comments


got the vinyl version of this for like $40 last year

still haven't gotten around to it lol

clavier
Staff Reviewer
August 17th 2019


1020 Comments


random question milo but do you happen to reside in a non-US anglophone country

Digging: Seizures - Reverie of the Revolving Diamond

MiloRuggles
August 17th 2019


128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Indeed I do, but my loose grip on the English language may be misleading

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
August 17th 2019


56938 Comments


been meaning to finally hear this in full

Digging: Daniel Johnston - Songs of Pain

brainmelter
August 17th 2019


6630 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

excellent

Digging: Lake Michigan - Time Passing

Supercoolguy64
August 17th 2019


8997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You could start a pit to elyc9 7hres, and six of eight would be a nice comedown to end the show/tell everyone to get the fuck out

Avagantamos
August 18th 2019


6642 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

tt1pd is a fucking monster of a track. top notch stuff

Digging: SpaceGhostPurrp - Miami Carol City Legend

Wubs
August 19th 2019


899 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Christ, what a beast. Still discovering parts here and there

Digging: Steve Lehman - Slbyone

Wubs
August 19th 2019


899 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Part of the experience is the stupid amount of dedication required



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





FAQ // 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 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy