by Kyle Fleck
on Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 3:05 PM
Okay, so: Autechre. Great electronic band, or the greatest electronic band? Sean Booth and Rob Brown, two break-beating, graffiti-spraying, moody-ass British mega-brains have been at it for more than two decades and have consistently pushed further in their sonic explorations than most, while still retaining their funky, cyber-organic alien heart throughout.
In honor of Autechre's forthcoming L-Event EP (out on October 28 via Warp Records), and because EVERYBODY LOVES TO ARGUE ABOUT BEST-OF LISTS, here in no particular order are MY TOP FIVE AUTECHRE tracks of all time. This could potentially get a little nerdy so the rest is after the jump.
"Bike" - Incunabula - 1993
From their debut LP (itself a masterwork of ambient techno), "Bike" finds the boys at their most crowd-pleasing and effervescent. Every time the whole thing melts into a widescreen pool of synthetic bliss at 3:50 I choke up.
"Rsdio" - Tri Repetae - 1995
Who knew someone blowing on a straw while their friend hits a few notes on a bass could sound this fucking ominous? One of the most harrowing and psychedelic jams ever to emerge from the abstract electronic scene.
"Under BOAC" - LP5 - 1998
"Is it washable?" are the only words one can make out on Autechre's seminal fifth album (one of Thom Yorke's faves, for those keeping score.) Some long-forgotten review once compared this track, unfavorably, to a monkey beating on pipes in an abandoned factory. To which I say, yes please. The groove in the second half is a thing of mesmerizing precision and brutality.
"Maphive 6.1" - EP7 - 1999
What begins as a hilariously MIDI-sounding fanfare-and-timpani lilt becomes a crystalline, chiming tune, woozy and beautiful, dissolving and reconstructing itself as an off-kilter hiphop beat midway through. I wanna hear some Dedication 2-era Li'l Wayne over the top of this thing, for real.
"Ipacial Section" - Untilted - 2005
This track is the ultimate example of Autechre's ability to flip the traditional roles of rhythm and melody, creating a goofy little skittering tune out of all the interlocking insectoid percussion. And good lord, that coda with the bad-as-fuck bassline and the pinging drums kills me. Again: Pusha T, jack this beat plz.
"But wait!" I hear you cry. What of "Cichli"? "Gantz Graf"? The whole of Confield? Well, that's what the Internet (and the rest of your Friday afternoon) are for. Go forth and give in to the monastic bliss that can only come with an hours-long Autechre sesh.