computer software blows a wide hole through most electronic music on the market these days – it’s so damn easy to make!
You can see why Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin and Prefuse 73 thrive in this overcrowded electronic market. There is often an emotional warmth to their sound which invites, soothes or, god forbid, chills. But what can Autechre offer us now, in 2005, a good ten years since they first starting making weird sounds come out of machines? The album clocks in at a cool 70 minutes. What’s going on for all that time?
Well, the beats are high tempo. The sounds are minimal, crisp and highly strung. The melodies are certainly not immediate, instead you have to listen carefully to the scrunches as they flit around your aural palette and soon the patterns begin to take shape. Nothing is discernibly sampled in any conventional format, it is a case of a minute sound filling the relevant part of the tonal spectrum. Not exactly the most rewarding of exercises. Perhaps you’d prefer star jumps, or jogging.
This is music that would be appreciated in a half-empty, smoky room by the sort of bearded, socially deficient males who would nod their heads enthusiastically at the sound of a broken tractor.
Insert at this point in the review a long, beautifully detailed piece of conjecture as to why Autechre felt it necessary to give their album no title, or more specifically an ‘untitled’ status. Then insert a red-faced idiot actually looking at the cover properly and realising that in fact, yes, it’s called Untilted. Like they meant to call it, “Tilted? No way man! We are straight.”
If you like your music challenging, rhythmically taxing, melodically lacking and generally unnerving, then check out Autechre’s latest. Just remember to call it by its proper title or the guy in the record shop will probably look at you all condescendingly and outwardly chastise you. And no one needs that.
BBC Collective Autechre Q&A Session