Thurs May 19
10 SW 3rd
When you find yourself fed up with the maddening predictability and conservativeness of much electronic music--and of all genres, for that matter--you can always count on Autechre to deliver the ultra-weirdness. England's Sean Booth and Rob Brown have been bending minds for the UK label Warp for a dozen years, getting more far-out as they go, in a refreshing reversal of the typical evolutionary arc.
Their new album--and eighth overall--Untilted, is yet another missive from the Autechrean brain trust that outlines the future of abstract techno in ways that'll take the rest of the field years to fathom--by which point Autechre will have advanced yet again.
Autechre's first two albums--Incunabula (1993) and Amber (1994)--epitomize the early-'90s armchair-techno strain of electronic music that evolved into IDM: spacious bleeps, mostly languid tempos, cerebral sound design, meditative atmospheres, etc. Compared to their later works, Incunabula and Amber sound polite and genteel. Nevertheless, a strong contingent of fans ranks these albums as the duo's best. It's these folks who are likely baffled and even offended by Autechre's latter-era releases.
Even to diehard Autechre fans, the new Untilted could be the blow that breaks their wills. Some posit that you need a PhD in beat programming to understand what the hell's going on with recent efforts like Confield, Gantz Graf, and Draft 7.30, and Untilted may just prove these dissenters correct.
But beyond the scattershot beats and chilly atmospheres geared for breakers on planet Pluto, there exist some of Autechre's most danceable cuts of this decade. Seriously. Dig below their harsh, metallic veneer, and you can detect bizarre species of funk straining to emerge.
It may take several months or even years to come to grips with the rhythmic convolutions and forlorn melodies nestled within Autechre's densely constructed compositions. But when you do, the rewards are immensely gratifying.