Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, World Music, Special Interest, Pop
The latest opus from these polyrhythmic android, drum-machine riding heroes of the avant-funk. Bringing beauty to the posessed beat, jiggling pulses into a-rhythmic oneness, Untilted is another breathtaking stab of electro... more »
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The latest opus from these polyrhythmic android, drum-machine riding heroes of the avant-funk. Bringing beauty to the posessed beat, jiggling pulses into a-rhythmic oneness, Untilted is another breathtaking stab of electronic music that breathes and oozes the sound of Warp.
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Who can number the grains of sound by the seashore?
P. Gunderson | San Diego, CA USA | 04/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""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."
Wheelchair Assassin | The Great Concavity | 05/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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. As you'd expect from the group that brought us Tri Repetae ++ and Confield, intellectually severe, high-speed musical calculus is the order of the day.
I personally found this album to be somewhat more instantly gratifying than its predecessor Draft 7.30, but that doesn't mean there aren't voluminous reams of complexity for you to decipher. Tracks open with a frenzy of spastic beats and pummelling percussion before gradually evolving into slower, more atmospheric pieces without sacrificing Autechre's trademark mathematical precision. Dense, rapid-fire sensory overload steadily gives way to hypnotic drones that are only somewhat interrupted by the jagged sounds that skid over them. Booming backbeats, out-of-time glitches, and even some subtle melodic underpinnings are interspersed into bizarre, ever-shifting sonic landscapes. New and fascinating uses for the drum machine are repeatedly discovered, with slice-and-dice programming (especially on the brilliant Augmatic Disport) that almost redeems the machine's use on countless boy-band atrocities. And the epic, 15-minute closer Sublimit cycles through every trick in Autechre's book, easily ranking among the most convincing displays of their demented genius as it staggers and stutters through a dizzying array of beats and textures.
In the end, Untilted is a quintessential Autechre album: strange, abstract, unique, and sure to be divisive. However, as a fan of Sean and Rob's work, I for one wouldn't have it any other way. While the forthcoming Meshuggah full-length will probably ending up grabbing my coveted album of the year designation, for now Untilted holds the top spot."
Tilted in the right direction
Catfood03 | in front of my computer typing reviews | 02/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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. The former erupts with a thunderous pounding of drums (be careful for your speakers, or eardrums, on this one) while recordings of crowd noises and the clipped dialogue of a man's voice broadcasts amongst the chaos. The song runs through several brief passages before building to a thrilling climax of overlapping drums that threaten to overtake every corner of audible space.
There is no sanctuary from the chaos with the arrival of the frenzied "Disport" with its schizophrenic percussion that alternately collapses and reforms within a moment's interval. Whereas some Autechre songs tend to progress through decay and distortion, "Disport" slowly pieces itself together, not unlike watching a film of glass breaking in reverse (in very slow motion), until what remains is the steady pulse of subterranean bass.
Two shorter pieces follow. "Iera" launches the second half of UNTILTED with a swarm of garbled bass, backed by a fragile rhythm track that nearly forms a hip-hop beat. "Fermium" maintains a playful, arcade-like innocence, even while sharing its space with the clutter of clattering metal scraping the surface.
"The Trees" is one of the UNTILTED's standout offerings. A menacing keyboard melody underpins the track's percussion which snaps and crackles like brittle twigs. The percussion eventually breaks itself apart revealing a field of feedback noise which engulfs the music into a muffled distortion at the track's concluding moments.
UNTITLED concludes with "Sublimit". The first half jitters with a nervous tic of bass and snare continuously shifting their allegiances to one another (including a quite humorous interjection of some cheap synthesized horn blasts and retro drum machine). The second half takes a completely different direction in mood and texture. Here sounds become entirely submerged, with faraway clicks and beeps echoing as if transmitted from a submarine fathoms deep. A strange mechanized voice and a ghostly keyboard melody eerily rises to the surface to lead the listener to the slow fade-out of the album's conclusion.
Autechre has been, for many years, a band whose music has been very precious to me. They have a singular vision of their work and have stuck faithfully to it. This is a band clearly inspired by the groundwork laid by early pioneers in rap and techno. Booth and Brown doesn't succumb to these musical formulas, but rather invokes them abstractly through their own filter, of which UNTILTED is an excellent example.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5.
Favorite tracks: "Ipacial Section", "Augmatic Disport", "The Trees""