Return to Autechre (idea)

"As far as we're concerned, it's all one big grey area these days. It's not just a rhythm or a melody. We tend to start making something more tangible in terms of parts of a track, but we never really know if it's a rhythm or whatever, just that it's coming together. We tend to make lots of little elements then chain them together to find the feel or structure of what the rhythm might be."

[Autechre] (pronounced "awe-tek-er" - supposedly, it is an amalgam of "Audio Technology Research") was formed in [1991] by friends [Sean Booth] and [Rob Brown] who had known each other for quite some time. Introduced in [1987] by a mutual friend, they learned that their fields of interest were basically a [Venn Diagram] consisting of one circle, containing [BMX biking], [tagging], [hip hop] acts such as [Grandmaster Flash], and [breakdancing]. As they say, "we were the only two people that we'd met that filled in various gaps".

As [acid] started to take off in the [United Kingdom|UK], Sean and Rob joined in, and found their true love. Acquiring a [drum machine] and noodling about with it every day after school, they started recording demo-tapes and sending them off to various labels.

The pair's reputation led them to start a weekly [radio show] on [Kiss FM] (102 [mHz]) in [Manchester], called [Disengage]. They started slipping in their own demos, and got to release [Cavity Job] on [Hardcore Records]. While the record sold decently, they had problems with the label, and quit, to send off a demo tape to [Warp Records]. This led to the tracks [Crystel] and [The Egg] appearing on the seminal [Artificial Intelligence] compilation.

After working on their debut for a year, [Incunabula] was released. Their sound already defined, the album stands out as one of the earliest pure [IDM] records. During the years, they have kept up steam by consistently putting out quality releases (although there was some turmoil on the IDM mailing list over [Confield] - it is somewhat less accessible than their other records, if that is even possible).

Not afraid of trying out new gear, they have continously expanded their setup, from the [TR-606|Roland TR-606] and [Casio SK1] sampler that Rob had when they met, to the [BBC Micro] and [Macintosh] computers, as well as [Clavia Nord Lead] synths. Software-wise, they use [Cubase] and [MAX]. Rob even used to have an old reel-tape recorder that he cut up various recordings in, making his own brand of [Musique Concrète].

Besides Autechre, Sean & Rob record in the "umbrella-project" [Gescom], and have remixed countless acts, including [Skinny Puppy], [Neu!], [Tortoise], and [Nightmares on Wax]. They have also been featured on the soundtrack to the movie [pi|π] by [Darren Aronofsky]. According to Sean, there are even more tracks out there, that are by Autechre, but not known as such: "Yeah, we do all the time, but it wouldn't be a secret if I told you about it, would it? Obviously we don't always operate under the same name and don't always produce the same kind of music." Among the releases suspected of originating from the team are [Lego Feet], [Dual Purpose] and [Mortal & Chemist].

[Discography] (strong denotes album):

  • [Cavity Job] ([1991])
  • [Incunabula] ([1993])
  • [Basscadet] ([1993])
  • [Amber] ([1994])
  • [Anti EP|Anti] ([1994])
  • [Tri Repetae] ([1995])
  • [Garbage] ([1995])
  • [Anvil Vapre] ([1995])
  • [We R Are Why]/[Are Y Are We?] ([1996])
  • [Chiastic Slide] ([1997])
  • [Envane] ([1997])
  • [CichliSuite] ([1997])
  • [LP5] ([1998])
  • [Peel Sessions|Peel Session] ([1999])
  • [EP 7] ([1999])
  • [Splitrmx12] ([1999])
  • [Peel Sessions|Peel Session] 2 ([2000])
  • [Confield] ([2001])
  • [Gantz Graf] ([2002])
  • [Draft 7.30]

Sources: [All Music Guide], Biography by Peter McIntyre, [Warp Records] homepage, Henrik Marstal & Henriette Moos: "[Filtreringer - Elektronisk Musik fra Tonegeneratorer til Samplere 1989-2001]", 2 interviews, one from intermusic.com and one called "On the Armchair with Autechre", and finally, the Official Autechre [FAQ]. A complete Autechre/Gescom discography can be seen here: http://membres.lycos.fr/autechre_gescom/index.htm. Also thanks to [irexe] for a couple of corrections. Coincidentally, this writeup was submitted almost exactly one year after my account was created (only off by 4 hours).

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