Thursday, May 20, 2010

autechre: "nine"

For nearly twenty years now, the electronic music duo and Manchester, England natives Sean Booth and Rob Brown have made a career out of challenging ears and blowing minds as Autechre (AW-TEK-ER). I remember first seeing the Designers Republic-made artwork on the cover of their first CD, "Incunabula" in 1993 at the local National Record Mart. It was like nothing else around and intrigued me enough to want to find out if the sounds on disc were just as compelling as the visuals accompanying this early Warp Records release. About a year later, a friend of mine was playing Incunabula from the boombox in the graphic arts department hall of my college. I couldn't believe the sounds I was hearing - it was the kind of music I was waiting my whole life to hear. The next day I walked a couple of miles to the record store and ordered that CD and had to wait a week or so for it to arrive. You see, back then you had to work for your music, and as a result you formed an even greater bond with the tunes you loved. Soon after, I purchased Autechre's second, more somber, though no less stunning (and now classic) full-length CD, "Amber", which is where you'll hear the ambient track featured here, known simply as "Nine". The video is a fan-made feature, and one of the few out there truly suited to AE's music. Autechre have always made music that was both oddly familiar yet otherworldly, and the footage of the Apollo space mission works so well, it's literally chill-inducing to both watch and hear at the same time. I used to consider myself more of an old-school Autechre fan, finding most of their work from the past decade or so a bit too technical and headache-inducing at times. Their latest LP entitled "Oversteps" (still on Warp) however is somewhat a return to the AE sound of old, though retaining the more challenging direction they've continued to forge ahead with. There's what I would call a more "instinctual" musical approach to the sounds on Oversteps, hinted at on their previous album "Quaristice". You'll even find several beatless gems in the spirit of "Nine", which should please fans both old and new.