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2020 30 Okt

Top 12 Autechre studio albums

von: ijb Filed under: Blog | TB | Comments off




In guter alter Engelbrecht-Tradition, my official rating of all albums by English avantgarde electronic duo Autechre: 


1  Chiastic Slide

      – sublime electronic masterpiece, underappreciated & frequently overlooked

Untitled Album [aka LP5] (1998)*****

     – creative experiments for the future of music

3  NTS Sessions 1-4 (2018)*****

      – might as well have been the conclusion of this unparalleled œvre

4  Confield (2001)*****

      – departure into the duo’s second decade and a new millennium 

5  EP7 (1999)*****

     – usually referred to as an EP, but with 70 min. + 11 tracks it’s surely a real album

6  Tri Repetae / Anvil Vapre (1995)*****

      – the classic album plus the companion mini-album

7  elseq 1-5 (2016)****1/2

     – 4-hour, 5-part opus magnum of avant-garde epics

Amber (1994)****1/2

     – subtle + atmospheric ambient techno beauty

9  Untilted (sic!, 2005)****1/2

     – most challenging focus on rhythm, but of outstanding skill

10  Incunabula (1993)****1/2

     – early Warp Records classic

11  Oversteps (2010)****1/2

     – atmospheric ambient techno beauty 15 years later, new century, more refined

12  Exai (2013)****1/2

    – missing coherence a bit (120 minutes on 2 cds), but many masterful tracks




Warp Tapes 89-93 (2019) ***1/2 

Anti- (EP, 1994) ****1/2

EPs 1991-2002 (2011) **** 

Draft 7.30 (2003) ****

Quaristice (2008) ***1/2 (a 150-minute digital-only „EP“, 2008) **1/2

Move of Ten (2010) ****

SIGN (2020) ****

Plus (2020) ****


[…] ‘gr4’, perhaps the prettiest track here, showcases see-sawing synths that keen like a string quartet. I don’t think I’ve been struck in such an emotionally direct way by an Autechre tune since ‘Pir’ on 1999’s EP7. Both ‘th red a’ and ‘psin AM’ cycle through just a handful of held, open chords, allowing the listener to home-in on the granular complexities of these with little else getting in the way.

Of course, being Autechre, this is far from a straight-up ‘melodic ambient’ record. […] It is complex, but never busy. […] SIGN’s relative accessibility would make it a fine introduction for the uninitiated, which is more than can be said for anything they’ve released in at least twenty years. Some hardened fans looking for the next step in Autechre’s evolution might feel underwhelmed. But honestly, there’s more than enough opaque futurism on the NTS Sessions for any carbon lifeform to unpack for years to come. Instead, SIGN is a welcome detour, a diversion, and in these difficult and complicated times, a salve of sorts. It’s as close to chill-out music as the duo are ever likely to get, making it the perfect Autechre album for 2020. With SIGN, Autechre prove they are in tune with their audience, and that this is still (and will always be) human music made by humans for humans.  –  Charlie Frame, the Quietus



How do you feel about the album when you listen to it now?

SEAN BOOTH It’s strangely jarring. It’s sort of too real. All this Covid stuff has put me in a really different place from where I was when we were just compiling it. Back then we were saying, “This is totally right.” But now I’m wondering if it’s too right. And I’m really feeling a bit self-conscious if I’m being totally honest. It’s difficult to listen to because it’s too emotionally resonant. I was going for making something pure and new and sort of surprising, and now I’ve ended up with something that’s almost predictable. So I’m reluctant to play it too much because I feel like that place it puts me in is perhaps a little bit too cathartic.


As I understand it, your latest system allows you to use many more channels, many more layers, than your previous setup.

BOOTH But when you’re building stuff up incrementally, even though you have the ability to add lots and lots of layers, you’re reluctant to add too many. I’ve done a lot of work to disguise the amount of stuff there is in there.

BROWN Suppose you are looking at a turned acrylic vase on a lamp stand. You might see loads of different layers, but it’s been on a lathe and it’s been curved and you’ll see a silhouette, and you’ll see light travel through it. You’ll get ideas about what its construction is or what its materials are but you still see one surface, one curve.

(New York Times interview)

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