Sunday, March 7, 2010

A To Z: Incunabula - Autechre

I first decided I wanted to delve into the world of electronic music somewhere around the year 2000. This was the beginning of my teenage years, the time in our lives where we are finding out our likes and dislikes, why we like the things we do and more importantly - we are getting bored of things we have always assumed to be "good."

High school became the place for me to become the music snob of my friends. Not so much in a formal setting, but within my own mind I was discovering new things daily. Electronic music was one of these things. Like many people my age, I was inspired by Radiohead's "Kid A" album and the bleeps and bloops that were found consistently through that record. I fell in love with "Idioteque", learning the words and wanting to devour more music like it. I didn't know where to start, so I asked around the internet.

The first album someone told me to get was "Music Has The Right To Children". I loved it instantly and still consider it one of my very favorite albums of all time. Through my own narrow investigation I was discovering that my preferences heavily leaned on the side of abstract, experimental dance music. Somewhere I ran into the term "IDM" which I hung above my peers as a beacon of how I was better than them, because I listened to INTELLIGENT dance music, none of this trance shit. I soon found my way to "Tri Repetae++" a collection that is about as out there as IDM got and perhaps the genre's finest offering. I liked the album a lot, but never fell in love with it. The years have carried on and while I've recognized that Autechre fans are some of the most dedicated that I talk with, I've never quite understood the hype. Until very recently.

Over the past few months, I've begun to delve into the early days of Warp Records. I mainly credit people like Flying Lotus and the other Brainfeeder artists for this, but the Warp20 compilation is an amazing collection of music and I wanted to go back and revisit all the things I wasn't around for during the "Artificial Intelligence" days.

"Incunabula" didn't do a whole lot for me the first time I heard it. But I listened to it while commuting around for work the following day and it made sense. You've heard it before: you're driving in the rain, the traffic is start and stop, you get a few stretches of open road and the music that is playing through your car stereo is just the most perfect thing you could be listening to at that point. I've been hooked on this record a bit for the last few weeks, pulling it out about every other day during work or at night to listen to.

It may be the most "accessible" of Autechre's work, it may also be the best. It can sound a bit dated compared to today's standards and it's hard to recognize the duo that created this record in 1993 is still putting out cutting edge electronic music in 2010 that is completely different.

I'm going to fill the gaps in my Autechre collection in, but for now - "Incunabula" will strike me as the high point in what many consider to be the most forward thinking act in electronic music.

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