Music

Autechre: AE_LIVE

Autechre give their fans a digital hernia with AE_LIVE, but the glitch-lover wouldn't have it any other way.


Autechre

AE_LIVE

Label: Warp
US Release Date: 2015-10-29
UK Releaes Date: 2015-10-29
Label website
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

Electronic duo Autechre have outdone themselves, quantity-wise.

Known for both their generous output as well as their radically abstract approach to the glitch sect of electronic music, Sean Booth and Rob Brown have a habit of unloading hefty releases onto their fans. As Autechre they've released highly-acclaimed double album and a five-disc box set of EPs in addition to a slew of albums dating back to the early '90s, most of which surpass the 70-minute mark. AE_LIVE, however, takes the digital cake. When the album first dropped, these "songs" retrieved from soundboard recordings from the duo's recent tour clocked in at a total of four-plus hours. After adding five more tracks after the fact (because, why not?), AE_LIVE ballooned to a nine-plus hour length. Depending on your schedule, that could be longer than your work day, lunch included. For obvious reasons, this release is only available digitally.

All nine tracks are approximately one hour in length, give or take a few minutes along the way. This format, one could argue, is the ideal setting for Booth and Brown. They obviously love to play around in long forms and probably prefer not to have to worry about indexing their ideas apart from one another in post-production. The sky is the limit and the stages are their playgrounds, be it 54 minutes in Krems or 73 minutes in Dublin.

AE_LIVE is in no way an appropriate place for an Autechre newcomer. Everything about Autechre that makes them so very "out-there" is on fully display here, hours at a time. It's extremely difficult to explain the ins and outs and the highs and lows of each track since they are all albums unto themselves. And even if I were to somehow pull that off, I doubt you would find the information very useful. If you click on your media player's cursor and drag it to any random position in any given track, you will hear something interesting. There are no lulls in AE_LIVE's momentum. A bright pattern played by a synthesizer will often be offset by a pulsating rhythm that jars as well as seduces. Then some heavily-processed noise will smear itself into your ears as you're trying to get the hang of what's going on in the bass clef. It's like being lost in the forest -- while you may or may not feel like you're making progress, you can only make out the density of your surroundings. The main difference is that with AE_LIVE you can hit the stop button.

If gilded glitch is the key to your imagination, you're not going to want to press that button. You, Autechre fan, enjoy getting lost in the thicket of Booth and Brown's collective mess. You want to hear sounds that other artists rarely summon. You would gladly sacrifice form for atmosphere. You don't care where the paths goes just as long as it looks mysterious. To find your way out of the forest is, to you, almost a form of disappointment. If any of that analogy rings true for you, then AE_LIVE is the "album" for you. It prolongs that untethered euphoria to an almost absurd level and then some.

8
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

The Kinks and Their Bad-Mannered English Decency

Mark Doyles biography of the Kinks might complement a seminar in British culture. Its tone and research prove its intent to articulate social critique through music for the masses.

Music

ONO Confronts American Racial Oppression with the Incendiary 'Red Summer'

Decades after their initial formation, legendary experimentalists ONO have made an album that's topical, vital, uncomfortable, and cathartic. Red Summer is an essential documentation of the ugliness and oppression of the United States.

Film

Silent Women Filmmakers No Longer So Silent: Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers

The works of silent filmmakers Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers were at risk of being forever lost. Kino Lorber offers their works on Blu-Ray. Three cheers for film historians and film restoration.

Music

Rush's 'Permanent Waves' Endures with Faultless Commercial Complexity

Forty years later, Rush's ability to strike a nearly perfect balance between mainstream invitingness and exclusory complexity is even more evident and remarkable. The progressive rock classic, Permanent Waves, is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Music

Drum Machines? Samples? Brendan Benson Gets Contemporary with 'Dear Life'

Powerpop overlord and part-time Raconteur, Brendan Benson, grafts hip-hop beats to guitar pop on his seventh solo album, Dear Life.

Music

'Sell You Everything' Brings to Light Buzzcocks '1991 Demo LP' That Passed Under-the-Radar

Cherry Red Records' new box-set issued in memory of Pete Shelley gathers together the entire post-reunion output of the legendary Buzzcocks. Across the next week, PopMatters explores the set album-by-album. First up is The 1991 Demo LP.

Music

10 Key Tracks From the British Synthpop Boom of 1980

It's 40 years since the first explosion of electronic songs revitalized the UK charts with futuristic subject matter, DIY aesthetics, and occasionally pompous lyrics. To celebrate, here's a chronological list of those Moog-infused tracks of 1980 that had the biggest impact.

Reading Pandemics

Poe, Pandemic, and Underlying Conditions

To read Edgar Allan Poe in the time of pandemic, we need to appreciate a very different aspect of his perspective—not that of a mimetic artist but of the political economist.

Books

'Yours, Jean' Is a Perfect Mixture of Tragedy, Repressed Desire, and Poor Impulse Control

Lee Martin's Yours, Jean is a perfectly balanced and heartbreaking mix of true crime narrative and literary fiction.

Music

The 60 Best Albums of 2007

From tech house to Radiohead and Americana to indie and everything in between, the 60 best albums of 2007 included many of the 2000s' best albums.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Solitude Stands in the Window: Thoreau's 'Walden'

Henry David Thoreau's Walden as a 19th century model for 21st century COVID-19 quarantine.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Will COVID-19 Kill Movie Theaters?

Streaming services and large TV screens have really hurt movie theaters and now the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered multiplexes and arthouses. The author of The Perils of Moviegoing in America, however, is optimistic.

Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D
Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.