May 8, 2008

Autechre - Incunabula

Album: Incunabula
Year: 1993
Country:United Kingdom

A stellar first performance from arguably the greatest electronica group ever.Incunabula, released by Warp Records in 1993, is the debut album by the electronic music group Autechre, and the seventh album in the Artificial Intelligence series. The album's title is a Latin word, the plural of incunabulum, the term used for printed books published prior to 1501, or more generally for something in its infancy or early stages or development.It's moody, shimmering, and beautiful and quite possibly one of the best intelligent electronic music albums ever made!!

Magnificent blend of ambient and electronica


Each time I listen to this album, I can't believe it was conceived in 1993--nearly a decade ago! It is still very fresh and inspiring, and if I had heard it back then, I would have stopped collecting Aphex Twin records and jumped on the Autechre train. This is very emotive electronic music, with beautiful textures and subtle melodies that aren't going to make you want to dance, but will certainly pique your imagination. The two songs "Eggshell" and "WindWind" are masterpieces, and each holds clues to what Autechre would soon progess to: a colder, more metallic sound. Here, however, that vision is tempered by airy, organic keyboard effects. A perfect album for rainy nights, or anytime, really. This is a must for ambient-techno fanatics.(eRqO)

This album is absolutely incredible for concentration during the finer details of a software engineering project at work, or during any of a multitude of other situations in which you may need mental focus. After listening to 1980s-era Wax Trax! artists, and becoming a bit disappointed with their later releases, Autechre brought me back by introducing me to intelligent dance music with this album. Track 5, "Basscadet", and track 6, "Eggshell", are the gems on this album - and track 8, "Maetl", and track 11, "444", are my other favorites. The only drawback in my mind to this album's version of intelligent dance music, or whatever the genre is being called these days, is that listening to it for extended periods of time, especially at low volumes, can cause drowsiness or a type of self-hypnosis. So if you have a work deadline, are driving a vehicle, or are hosting a party, do yourself a favor and play this album loud and with limited repetition, or not at all.(Erik Gfesser)

*Incunabula* is perhaps Autechre's most shallow album; but `shallow' is a deceptive term, for the depths of even this birth-record cannot be fully grasped in the first, or even tenth, listen. Tiny, pivotal details surface with constant re-examination, and it blows my mind that this was made by two guys in their early twenties. I also find *Incunabula* to be Ae's most ~fluid~ record: each song flows into the next, there is virtually no filler, and the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. The sonic palate is consistent throughout - chattering breakbeat percussion, supplemented by deep bass currents, are gradually overlaid with Eno-ish synth tones and garnished with precise effects; hooks appear, anchoring the ear, then either attain climatic denouement (as in `Eggshell') or else morph/contort/ and/or drift away in the stormfront haze. Most effectively, the overall soothing consistency of the album is punctured at strategic points, giving a whiplash snap to the ambient flow, such as the opening snarl of `Doctrine' after the aforementioned glide of `Eggshell', or the smarmy hip-hop parody of `Lowride' on the whispering tail of `Windwind's' devastating death-fugue. Other highlights include the almost-giddy `Bike', its shimmering melodies augmented by melancholic growls; the meticulous drive of `Basscadet', its harsh effects-rhythms and moody ambience giving us a brief taste of Autechre's future releases; and finally `444', the closing epic, wherein the evanescence and subtle brutality that has preceded find culmination - truly, a paean to the lonely, disconnected nature of cyberspace and its plugged-in denizens.(Ian Vance)


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