Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, Pop
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Undeniably one of the best electronic albums ever
M. Fulkerson | Portland, Oregon | 09/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's strange to read such apathetic reviews of "Incunabula", so I felt compelled to try and explain why this album was, and still is, such a landmark in the world of electronic music.
To truly understand why this album is so brilliant is to realize when it was released. It came out in November, 1993, nearly 16 years ago. I was 21 years old then, and there simply was no music on the earth that sounded like this. There has been tons of electronic music that's been released since then that follow the mold of Autechre, and that sound eventually got slapped the lazy label of the cringe worthy "IDM" tag. Aphex Twin preceded this album by one year with his "Selected Ambient Works" album, but it was a different beast. What makes this album such a special moment in electronic music history was its flawless effort in taking the emotion of Detroit techno and molding it with newer, and distinctly British, elements such as rave culture and ambient house. I have thousands of electronic records in my collection, and I can proudly say that "Incunabula" holds a massively special place in my heart. Acts that I love now such as Boards Of Canada, Two Lone Swordsmen, and just about any artist on the Warp label owe a huge debt to Autechre and this album in particular. When you hear the ravey, junglist sounds of Autechre's debit single "Cavity Job", and compare "Incunabula" to it, you realize what a huge evolutionary step they took. Autechre definitely used electro and ambient sounds to influence them with this album, but they paved a distinctly original path as they mixed in what was to become THE sound of "IDM", or whatever you want to call it. Richard James refers to this kind of music as "braindance", and it's a far more appropriate title.
As someone who was there when it was released, this album, coupled with "Bytes" from Black Dog, caused a huge stir in the music world, and it certainly caused music fans from across the board to stand up and listen more carefully. I cannot recommend this album strongly enough. As I sit here and listen to it nearly 16 years later I can safely say that it hasn't lost any of its creativity, intensity, focus, and sheer brilliance. To be able to add "poignancy" to my list of adjectives gives "Incunabula" that much more resonance and power."
Cold, chilled out early 90's techno
SystemStructure | town, WA United States | 11/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is before they went glitch tech crazy (Gantz Graf which btw has a crazy music video). This is much, much more low key and very chilled out. This is not exactly intense raver over the top insanity. This is more like the kind of music you might listen to in your car on a cloudy, rainy or overcast day. It is thoughtful, considerate, ambient techno that moves at a steady, constant pace. It has a fair amount of energy at times, yet is always well restrained into a deliberate composition. It is like well focused sound experiments that follow a designated standard. Autechre, though they explore strange territory, keep things fully in control here. Unique, innovative electronic music created with a set purpose in mind (or with a clearly set artistic goal) - this is a solid example of the Warp records standard."
The Pitiful Anonymous | the Acres of Skin | 03/31/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Autechre's debut "Incunabula", by comparison to later work, is a slow moving, liquid and flat out beautiful soundscape, composed mostly of understated, looping percussion and flowing synth lines. The rhythms are not yet the focus, the mix is dominated by melancholic melodies.
This is one of the few Autechre releases that you could call "minimalist". All the ingredients to these songs are wonderful, but essentially, what prevents "Incunabula" from being a great album in my eyes is how the songs are stretched to ridiculous lengths without cause- the simplistic nature of the music makes a 9 minute plus song like "Windwind" or "Eggshell" good for setting a tone while doing something else, but too slow and redundant for focused listening. It's almost sad in a way, because "Windwind" in particular is one of the most effectively paranoid, alienated pieces of music I've ever heard. Every other track has its own unique, powerful emotion as well. Autechre eliminated this problem on albums like "LP5" by introducing endless variations and subtle complexities.
The first 3 tracks do not drag and are all Autechre classics. The mostly beatless "Kalpol Introl" is an icy, short piece. "Bike" is great chill out music... beautiful percolating synth blips. "Autriche" is one of the best songs they ever did. The vulnerable solitude of it is overwhelming. The 4th track, "Bronchus 2" is an interesting, short ambient piece but not a standout. "Basscadet" is a good, hip hop inspired, mostly percussion driven piece that has little melody. It has a different tone than the rest of the album, being more urban... kind of like something would be in Fight Club. Every other track unfortunately suffers from being "stretched" in length, introducing new riffs only every couple minutes.
The production is still great, as always with this band, even this early in their career. Every sound they choose has a depth that's not possible to achieve with simple presets. Everything is fine tuned with incredible attention to detail. Ae's albums are worth hearing for the sounds alone.
In conclusion, this album is great for the first few listens, but is easy to get bored of. I find myself listening only to certain tracks at this point. It's a wonderful backdrop to anything you might be doing, but fails to rise above that status like "Tri Repetae++" or the similar but more consistent "Amber". 3.5 stars."