1.'LP5' by Anastasia Blink from Sonic Envelope
While many electronic/industrial acts remain in that safe and familiar world of treated vocals and dark melodies that stay within the confines of century-old chord progressions, Autechre's body electric pushes the boundaries of sound sculpture further into a dimension that gives us a glimpse into the uncharted territories of future music. The self-titled Autechre shows them as grand masters of sound manipulation, searching for new combinations, as each track unfolds a unique palette of melodic and rhythmic cells on a continuously shifting plane. A new perspective, a new opportunity for mental expansion is inevitable. It requires a bit more brain activity, but hey, if you're reading this, you've probably got a few cells to spare.
2.'LP5' by Aron Coleman from www.almostcool.org
I've been a pretty big fan of Autechre since way back in the day. When I first heard Incunabula, back in 1993 or so, I thought it was one of the coolest things ever. At that point, I had no idea who the group was or what they did, but the stuff that they had put together was unlike anything I had heard to that point in electronic music. All the sounds were completely foreign and it didn't have much of a beat at all (if any), but it was some of the most beautifully put-together blips and bleeps around. I got Amber and felt just about the same about it, but when I finally picked up their Tri-Repetae++ release, I could tell that some things were definitely changing with the group. Not only were there some more severly harsh noises in their tracks, but they were taking on a decidingly more experimental edge to them and although it was still well-constructed, there were tracks that just didn't do much for me. When their Chiastic Slide disc came out on import-only, I never got around to picking it up.
Finally, when I saw their new self-titled release, I knew that things had changed with the music even before I heard the album. Like the super-minimal design work (on the outside anyway) on their Tri-Repetae++ release, their new release went even one step further. When you see the black, mini-monolith case and it's only slightly-embossed cover (just enough so you know who it's by), you'll know what I'm talking about (you can barely see it in the above picture). Everything is stripped down to the bare minimum, even the art on the CD (there is none to speak of) and the liner sheet. When I started listening to the disc, my feelings were confirmed right away. While it starts out with a few seconds of innocent enough chimey bleepage, it soon burst into a stuttering electronic track that sounds not too far off from what a cyborg might program. While their is a very quiet underlying element to the song, the rest of it is made up from completely disconnected blips and squirts of sounds that move at breakneck speed and flow into one another. It sounds like a computer trying to process far too much data than they're possible of, and little bits are slipping out and flying every which way.
Things get a little closer to what I'd expect from the group on the third track entitled "Rae." Some nice little synthey sounds are in the background while a fairly decent sized (for Autechre) shakey beat stumbles its way along. After another little minute interlude chime piece, the disc goes into a little more familiar territory with "Vose In," before a more experimental track "Caliper Remote." The tenth track "Arch Carrier" is one of those tracks that hits you square on first listen. With a nicely repetitive little progression that sounds not unlike something that came out of a classical arrangement, a beat thumps along while more dark tones and even some string-sounding synths are layed down over everything. It's freaking brilliant. After a different version of "Drane 2" (from their Peel Sessions disc), 11 minutes of silence and a short hidden track, it's over.
While it's not a bad album, it's just shows that the group is moving in another direction with their music. They've taken out some of the more musical elements and instead come back with something very machine-like and calculated. For me, it was something that was a little hard to get into on the first listen, but found myself becoming more submersed in it subsequently. Perhaps I was correct above when I mentioned that it sounded like music that a cyborg might make. Perhaps Autechre have been working their music for so long that they're not sure where the machine ends and they begin. I know that when I saw Modulations awhile back, it seems that that may have been the case. Still, at the rate things are moving, we need these guys to show us the other side before we actually hit it. Assimilate now.
3.'LP5' by Brian J. Dillard from Armchair DJ
The duo known as Autechre have been mainstays of the intelligent techno crowd since its early-'90s beginnings. They've watched the sound they helped pioneer - a fusion of rave-era sonic adventurism and the more traditional avant garde - become a mainstay for both electronic and indie types who see electronic music as the last great hope of psychedelia.
With their enigmatic track titles ("Acroyear2," "underBOAC") and outright neglect of the dancefloor, Autechre have certainly never gone out of their way to avoid adjectives like "pretentious." But producers Sean Booth and Rob Brown have such an ear for melody and a feel for rhythm that they usually stay just the right side of self-indulgent.
On their fifth full-length, Booth and Brown move farther away from the glacial ambience of their early work and delve headlong into the world of complex polyrhythms. Casio keyboard riffs and three-dimensional bleeps richochet through deliberately busy drum tracks and sampled mechanical detritus. It's as if James Brown were trapped in the body of Tweaky, Buck Rogers' robot sidekick, desperately trying to make his mechanical body "get on up!"
Unlike the po-faced techno crowd, whose 4/4 compositions grow more abstract by the day, these tracks never sound like cold exercises in style. And unlike labelmates Richard James and Mike Paradinas, Autechre's sound never devolves into smart-ass shenanigans or outright kitsch. High-minded but never forced, "LP5" is one of those records that you'll eventually forget about for months at a time before rediscovering it and being delighted all over again.
4.'LP5' by Drew West from Ink Nineteen
To say I’ve been looking forward to this release for awhile would be an understatement. But was it worth it? Oh yes. Autechre doesn’t understand the notion that groups can have “off” albums. Instead, they are playing a game of leapfrog with themselves by outdoing themselves ten-fold with every release. They aren’t just outdoing themselves. They are progressing into the future faster and farther with every release. Tri Repetae, for me, was one of the most mind altering and innovative things to come into my hands. I’ve had it for about two years (sorry I didn’t get it right away), and it still manages to make its way into my CD player several times a week. LP5 is similar to Tri Repetae only in its ability to challenge the listener. You have to follow closely and carefully to the sounds, rhythms, and structure to find the united beat. Once you find it, you are propelled down a path of enlightenment and understanding about how things shift and change over the course of listen. What I have found to be the most beautiful part of LP5 is its unique ability to tell a different story depending on your mood and what you are focusing your attention towards. Pick it up, and when they hit the US to tour, you have got to check them out.
5.'LP5' by Greg Prato from AMG
Autechre creates a fascinating sonic world on their fifth album release, where electronic pulses and blips are used to create fantastic textural waves. Members Sean Booth and Rob Brown prove they've become masters of programming throughout, issuing a more than suitable follow-up to their critically praised 1995 release Tri Repetae (1997's Chiastic Slide wasn't considered a true follow-up by the band). Although it may be hard to take for those uninitiated into Autechre's unique style (it's hard to detect melodies upon first listen), you'll discover something new with each repeated listen. Since all the songs are cut from the same sonic cloth, the album is best when listened to in its entirety, but the tracks "Acroyear2," "Rae," and "Fold4, Wrap5" are definite highlights. Although not for everyone, Autechre's self-titled release should be admired, since it's not comparable to anything past or present. Uncompromisingly cutting-edge.
6.'LP5' by Jason Straw from Ink Nineteen
The two loonies that assemble Autechre have the same brain waves out of whack as Aphex Twin and Squarepusher. Each track is an experimental demonstration of different ways you can arrange sounds, rhythm, and BPM. Along with the most ambient songs that use mainly harmonious strings, you will hear straight-forward beats, engineered sounds that seem to be machined, not edited, and fat analog organs. If you listen to this CD when it can have your attention, the tones are likely to resonate with your cerebrum and make you forget what the hell you are actually doing. There are a few songs on this album that remind me of a dream I once had. I dreamt that I was endlessly falling down an escalator that was going up. If you enjoy listening to pioneering, out-of-pace techno, buy this CD.
7.'LP5' by Jason Ward from The Trout Cave
The latest magnum opus from IDM’s finest alchemists has provoked much debate on the net. Everything from artwork to time signatures have been deconstructed and dissected. My impressions are these: The boys have emerged out of the shadows into the bright light of a halogen lamp. The distortion that masked an entire universe of subliminal and ghost sounds has been ripped away. The soft tissue dissolved to reveal a gleaming and intricate chrome skeleton. I can’t say I don’t miss it, yet there is enough melody and invention here to interest me greatly nonetheless. The precedent is the Cichlisuite EP (see above) in terms of sound. This is digital wrenched inside out. Some of these sounds do my head right in (specifically see the last 2 minutes of ‘vose in’) – this is a rollercoaster ride on the subatomic level. ‘fold4,wrap5’ confounds the brain with its manipulation of time like a Mцbius strip. ‘rae’ has one of those classic downbeat melodies that these guys are famous for to match the half speed tempo shift that slides in half way through. ‘corc’ is probably the most conventional and minimal track here as well as the most sublime. ‘arch carrier’ is a totally catchy robotic little ditty, ‘melve’ and ‘caliper remote’ are 90 second candyfloss interludes. ‘drane2’, the closer, is for me, the most interesting track here. A strangled, yearning horn motif is repeated infinitely over a chaotic, bouncing ball percussion track that never sits still. Timeshifts warp sounds beyond recognition. Slowly, gradually, a fuzzy, semi-coherent percussion track (if you can call it that) shifts into then out of focus, the whole track fading out over a bed of random tinkles. Then there’s about ten minutes of silence followed by about a minute of wacky digital noise which is a bit of a copout really. It’s not worth waiting for. Yet don’t let that dissuade you from the rest of the record which is most definitely a grower and which I find fascinating and worthy addition to the Autechre canon.
8.'LP5' by Ken Micallef from MTV
Sheffield, England's Sean Booth and Rob Brown, a.k.a. Autechre, have achieved what many boys who work the outer limits of electro land have failed to do. Autechre make music that's freaky as all hell, yet as warm and wooly as grandma's old smelly socks. Their musical currency is similar to that of their U.K. brethren: the mashing, caustic rhythms and cooing melodies of early Aphex Twin, the organic grandeur of fellow Warp label-mates Plaid, the surreal sliminess of Germany's Mouse on Mars. But more so than any of these worthy techno trendsetters, Autechre couple childlike sensibilities with more formal, if incredibly skewed, structures. Minimal melodies glide overhead, odd meters dart to and fro, classical allusions abound, and those rhythms! Like hungry ants teaming over a rotting watermelon, the beats undulate, squish and bend, vying for survival as wave after rhythmic wave washes in.
The second line New Orleans groove of "Acroyear2" is decorated with carnival-like, music box melodies, a constant theme in the Autechre sound arsenal. As mock steel drums rattle and toy organs echo, a subtle melody rises from the din. Such is the system in much of Autechre's work. Like matching Kraftwerk (on 45rpm) with Bach's Goldberg Variations, surfaces are never as they appear, manic merry-go-rounds of texture revealing playfully eloquent designs. "Rae" contains what resembles a conventional marching band beat, offset by drooping, liquified ambience; "Vase In" dissembles a jumble of squealing arachnid sounds into a dissolving sonic stream of stereo panning and outer space reverberations; "Fold 4, Wrap 5" is like a band of drunken geezers marching over hills, splashing and spilling as the song's tempo speeds up, then slows down.
If you don't listen closely, Autechre's muse may sound like a pile of rumbling rubbish. But unlike most techno-lite, or much of today's drum and bass, where originality is a non-starter, Autechre continues to push the boundaries of electronica. The question is, can you handle it?
9.'LP5' by Lorin Reed from isnotwas
This album blows me away. Of course, it wasn't like that from the beginning.
It took about 3 or 4 listens before I decided that I could swallow it. Just like Tri Repetae showed a definite evolution from Autechre's earlier material, their self titled Autechre shows an evolution from Tri Repeatae. These guys just keep getting more and more creative, and more self destructive. This is far and away one of the most disturbing alums I've heard all year, and its definitely not something one should fall asleep to. The rhythms are a little more complex this time around, with the exception of a couple songs that'll still fry your brain. The opening track lets the listener know that they aren't holding anything back, and it presents one of the sweetest uses of electronic percussion I've ever heard. I guess if one were to try to categorize it, they'd call it "electronic jazz"...on crack. At several points in the album I found myself asking the question "how the hell'd they come up with that?" and I think that every other Autechre fan out there knows what I'm talking about. My favorite track would have to be "Arch Carrier", as it's definitely the catchiest of them all, and it evolves from what sounds like a darker version of the Nightrider theme into something incredibly dangerous. They spared nothing on this one. Buy it, play it loud, and be immersed. You may go insane, at which point Autechre will have succeeded in doing what they do best. Lovely noise.
10.'LP5' by Ryan Schreiber from Pitchfork
On Autechre, Autechre's fifth full- length effort in as many years, Sean Booth and Rob Brown have veered off in an entirely new direction. Where their previous efforts were equally melodically- and rhythmically- oriented, Autechre is decidedly all about the rhythm. The duo have headed off into a world of pure and refined experimentalism which may lose them even some of their die-hard fans. Which is not a bad thing.
See, what Autechre have achieved in the past is admirable and, in electronic circles, almost legendary. Their sound has come to define drill-n-bass, while also helping to set the standard for other Warp Records artists. Granted, they're far from having exhausted the possibilites of drill-n-bass music. But on the other hand, we're in a period where technology is advancing so rapidly that what sounded so fresh and inspiring in 1995 already seems outdated and primitive. So, yes-- now was the time for Autechre to update their sound. And they've done it well.
The record opens with the startling wheeze-n-hack of "Acroyear2" and "777," two seemingly tuneless numbers whose skittering beats sound sampled from otherworldly sources. But by the time we reach the album's third track, "Rae," thing have slowed up a bit, and traces of the old Autechre have become apparent. The song doesn't break the rhythmic onslaught that fuels Autechre-- it just lays an icy synth drone underneath, giving the song a strangely calming effect.
It's generally agreed that the record's standout track is "Corc," whose laidback beats and subtle melody is a perfect soundtrack for cruising through the futuristic nitetime ghettos of Tokyo. But there's something about "Arch Carrier" that seems much more artistically unique, and altogether more powerful. The track kicks off with a seemingly random melodic structure that eventually becomes the song's backbone as heartbeat- like drumlines and eerie string sections enter the mix.
So, rather than looking at Autechre as a crappy, self- indulgent, overly- experimental release from an otherwise brilliant band, realize that it's simply Autechre passing from kindergarden to the first grade. And their entrance into the next wave of electronica.
11.'LP5' by Scott Mallonee from emtiness.net
Autechre's new release with get your attention before you even hear it. It's packaged in a neat opaque black case with "autechre" etched on the front and "ae" etched on the back. And, of course, the music is equally as creative and attention getting. This CD only recently made it to the US's Nothing Records, which is really turning out to be a great label. So, there'll be no more dishing out $28 for an Autechre CD.
Autechre's musical style is never stagnant, but never changes significantly. "acroyear2" begins the CD, and as normal, the song grows in complexity constantly. Beginning as only a simple sequence of drones and bleeps that reside quietly in the background, the song undergoes an impulse of energy several seconds in, propelling it to a fast paced array of percussion with a minimalistic melody. The song gains more experimental elements the further it goes on. Sounds that appear later in the track seem so familiar, like you hear them in everyday life, but I am still unable to place them. The last 30 or so seconds of "acroyear2" is an assault of random sounds that produce nothing more than noise."vose in" is one of the most interesting tracks on the CD. I wasn't the only person to think this way as it was chosen to appear on the "Nothing Changes" compilation that was given out as a promotional item. This track is very developed from the first beat on, and does not build up in complexity a much as other tracks on the album. The reason that I say it is interesting is that about three and a half minutes into it, the music just seems to explode. All you hear for several minutes after that is scattered musical debris, with no organization whatsoever -- just random electronic effects. Autechre's blend of experimental and techno styles can't be touched by anyone else. Even bands like Aphex Twin don't live up to the intricate rhythms created by Autechre. Now that this CD is available domestically, it makes it a bit easier to get a hold of and to pay for.
12.'LP5' by Struan Donald from www.exodyne.demon.co.uk/
Autechre's fifth album has no title on the packaging although lp5 seems to be the title by which it's referred to everywhere so that's what I'll use.
The first thing to start with is the packaging which takes the previous minimalism of their packaging to new highs as without the label on the front the information available consists of the bands name and a track listing. The information on the label is only really the barcode plus the usual play and copyright information. Even the cd has no information with both sides looking the same with the exception of the writing round the hole.
While the standard procedure in a review is to go through a description of the album using particular tracks to make your point I'm not going to do that. The reason for this is that I never really make any effort to identify the tracks on Autechre albums as they always seem to be conceived of as wholes rather than a collection of bits. As such it doesn't make any sense to me to think about them in any other way. While it's not the case that each track melds seamlessly into the next there is just a feeling of wholeness to the album.
lp5 sees a move back to a softer sound with more of an emphasis on the tunes and a bit less on the noises. It does hang on to the more purposeful air of the last album though with some fairly insistent rhythms. More of an impression of going somewhere rather than waiting to see where it gets to. The moment when one of these breaks down into something gentler to bring the underlying melody to the fore is simply lovely and it's these moments of sudden beauty that make Autechre albums what they are. Whether it's a chord change, the appearance of a melody or the way one track just slows out of existence, these almost insignificant details just catch you.
I find it quite difficult to describe autechre's music simply as it's often contrasting, even within the same track. They'll be a lovely melody and huge organic chords running along underlaid with a frenetic and harsh rythmn section. Not that they clash with one enhancing the other. It'll sit in the background washing over you one minute and next you'll find yourself being drawn in.
It's just superb.
13.'LP5' from CMJ
Not all art is meant to elicit pure emotion. Some of it forces you to think more than feel, as in the way an innovative architectural structure or a pioneering mathematical theory challenges established ways of looking at form or physics. The complex digital machinations birthed by the U.K.'s Sean Booth and Rob Brown (a.k.a. Autechre) fall clearly into a similar category. There's not a single tone or rhythmic pattern on Autechre that sounds remotely human, and that's precisely why it's such a fiercely forward-thinking work of sound design. Autechre's approach to music-making is rooted in the computer programming school of ambient techno, but the noises it produces are much too sharp, dense and unpredictable to be classified as such. The album's opening track, "acroyear2," for example, is comprised of dozens of tiny digital fragments - a low, stretched-out bass rumble, short pops and clicks, squelching modem tones - reconfigured into a hyperkinetic Etch-A-Sketch of criss-crossing percussive patterns and fractured melodic ends. It's a compelling example of humans rethinking their concept of music through the aesthetics of machines.