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4.3 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 19, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Autechre is a chapter apart of ambient music. The sound of this band is unmistakable and hard to imitate. Almost every song they have made seems like a trip into the depth of music and when you listen to it you can't prevent your mind from traveling. Their atmospheres are involving and of secure impact, you can't weigh your appreciation for them: you may love them or remain indifferent, no way between. Warp. 2005.

The eighth album by these OG glitch kingpins is a curious thing. While none of the album's sounds are particularly different (Autechre is working with pretty much the same palette started with), it's not like they've gone laptop folk or added favela beats. The band's relentless experimentation continues unabated. Each of these songs here has more parts than an entire Rush album; every succeeding Autechre album has gotten more complex, as if there were Oulipo-style rules system guides the entire practice. But, while some patterns change rapidly--the complex and jagged try dancing to this rhythms rarely repeat for very long–-sine tones and drones underneath it all change very slowly. So, while the music may be composed in a postmodern way, then, it's staunchly modernist in its sharp, subtle honing of minimalist compositional techniques. The contrast between the jagged sounds and the surface and the moaning bass tones will either thrill or bore. There is no middle ground. --Mike McGonigal
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 19, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warp Records
  • ASIN: B0007VXZJU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,575 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
"Untilted" is another fine installment in the Autechre canon.

While their music has been called chaotic by detractors, any electronic musician who has attempted to emulate Autechre's unique sound will tell you that their programming is fiendishly complex and very, very precise. Randomly programming beats into a drum machine will no more get you Autechre's sound than dribbling paint on canvas will get you a Jackson Pollock painting.

This stuff obviously isn't easy listening, but it isn't really esoteric, either. Autechre are simply exploring the physical properties of sound, especially those liminal points--so dispraised in popular music--where a sound moves across the traditionally policed categorical distinctions between melody, rhythm, and texture. We hear texture becoming rhythm and rhythm becoming melody. Hearing such music can be discomfiting because there are no functional parts to recognize ("Hey, where's the bass line?") but only particles of sound arranged into new constellations (just as in a Pollock painting representational space has been left well behind). Such discomfort, however, is only a precursor to the excitement of experiencing the world anew--free from the dull constraints of habit and expectation. Autechre makes new music, but, more importantly, they give us new ears for all music. They make music itself new.
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Format: Audio CD
Decades ago, a famous sportswriter, apparently tired of criticisms of his favorite sport, wrote "baseball is dull only to those with dull minds". While that point is certainly debatable when it comes to the national pastime (this guy wrote before the days of three-hour games), it applies equally well to the work of Autechre. This English duo (Sean Booth and Rob Brown, if you want to get all specific) has spent the past decade or so composing some of the most original and experimental electronic music ever made (oh, screw it, this is some of the most original and experimental MUSIC ever made, period), winning a small army of enthusiastic converts while alienating others who apparently can't figure out how an hour of glitches and bleeps constitutes music. That said, there aren't a lot of artists out there who can consistently come out with something at least interesting, and whatever one thinks of them, Autechre do manage to challenge perceptions and screw up minds with each successive release. In spite of some accusations, whatever else Autechre may be, they're not dull.

Anyway, this all leads us to Untilted, the eighth album in the Autechre canon and one that should please all those looking for their customary blend of bizarrely arranged bleeps, sweeps, and creeps. Despite occasionally bringing in sounds somewhat similar to the dronings on an MRI machine, Untilted is a surpisingly musical release, occasionally managing to sound catchy even amidst a flurry of determinedly abstract time signatures and song structures. At the same time, Untitled is still an Autechre release, and as such the focus remains on feeding your brain first and foremost.
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Format: Audio CD
With this release, Autechre has successfully merged the abstraction of ep7 and Gantz Graf with the minimalist beauty of Amber, or even Confield. It's not overly dense, as some of their more experimental work (experimental being a VERY relative term here) tends to be. "Ipacial Section" and "Augmatic Disport" are particulary stunning, in terms of how those two tracks evolve and shift. What would be called a "change up" in a conventional song structure is more of an inversion or transformation, and it's done in such a way that would be damned hard, if not impossible, to reproduce with acoustic instruments.

And that is the key to grasping what Autechre is doing- it's not "cheating" as many traditional musicians say about electronica, by programming everything and not actually playing an instrument. Booth and Brown seem to be using their tools appropriately, exploring what can be done when traditional structure can be discarded, when the drummer doesn't have to keep a particular time, and the guitarist doesn't have to know what key the song is in. These aren't songs. They're constructs made of sound, and I was able to "get" Autechre much better once I began to think of it in those terms. The mental image I get most frequently is of music that exists in a space independent of any other reality, in a direction that you can't point to.

It's definitely not for everyone, and that's not a criticism- I know many people with great, eclectic musical tastes who don't care for this at all. But if you spend the time and find that you do get it, the payoff is so worth it. This one in particular is one of their bests, and a culmination of the stylistic changes they've been trying out over the last few releases.
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Format: Audio CD
Autechre's Rob Brown and Sean Booth have done it again. Track for track UNTILTED is one of the duo's most confident and consistently rewarding accomplishments. If you think that a band of this longevity has lost its ability to surprise then you're missing out on some of Autechre's best work in years. There IS something new going on with this record. It's more of a new approach to composition than anything having to do with beats, melodies or sound effects. Each track runs through more ideas and musical turns than what the band has presented before, so much so that hardly a track on this album ends quite as it started. This may explain the only 8 tracks (the fewest number on an Autechre full-length) and hour+ running time.

UNTILTED gets right down to business with the pummeling beats of "LCC". The pacing is fast, the percussion hits hard and, for at least a couple minutes, a predictable rhythmic pattern presents itself. Of course this being Autechre nothing stays on steady course for long. Soon the rhythm track trips over itself before succumbing to a grinding halt giving way to a more spacious, open sound where darkly angelic keyboard touches sing as if filling a cathedral.

"Ipacial Section" follows next where a strange mix of plucking string sounds and metallic crashes compete for space. The melodic highlight comes from looping a brief passage of what sounds like a human voice singing, or it could be machinery, either way it sounds utterly mechanical and yet heavenly at the same time.

The next two tracks, "Pro Radii" and "Augmatic Disport", contains UNTILTED's most disorienting and darkest moments.
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