Sunday, April 24, 2005

Autechre: Untilted

Listening to any new Autechre album is for me a rather tentative process. I'm not a huge fan of their more hardcore sound. Granz Graf for example doesn't make sense to me as music, as a DVD I can just about see it, otherwise no.

However a quick preview at Bleep and I was surprised to see that as with the last album Draft 7'30 (I think that's the title) there are some concessions towards, say, melody. The first track is actually really engaging and reminds you why Autechre can be so great. It immediately persuaded me that I had to download the whole thing.

Overall I think Untilted is a great release but as I tend to have followed the Autechre releases almost religiously it is hard to tell whether the music is any good or simply becoming less-bloody mindedly abstract and more accessible. One thing I'm pretty confident of saying is that a minute or two of most of these album tracks would actually form the basis of an entire track for lesser artists. I would also say that this release confirms for me that in terms of the way electronic music is constructed and structured Autechre are the masters. No-one is quite as inventive or intricate in their designs, it's breath-taking. There's a continual sense of progression and change while every track has a sense of consistency. Technically too their engineering is excellent, sometimes Autechre's music sounds so effortless or natural it is easy to forget how densely layered the tracks can be. Sometimes when I really listen to the tracks I can't believe how they can have four or five motifs chattering away simultaneously without it sounding like pure chaos.

All of that on the record I do have to say though the repetitive treble hits and sharp snare hits do get a bit samey. Yes it's impressive that they can do so much with them instead of more conventional rhythm sounds but I don't need to hear it done again (or at least I only need to hear it once or twice and album).

No comments: