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Cichli Suite - EP

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Album Review

Sean Booth and Rob Brown cement their path toward cold robotization in this little turning point of an EP for the band. Although Autechre is still teetering on the side of steady tempo and chord progression in the opening piece ("Yeesland"), listeners can practically feel the humanity slipping away with each track. "Pencha" is a study in digital pings and polyrhythmic spokes grinding down and backing up again at irregular intervals, followed by "Characi," which is an almost unstructured cacophony of digital squeaks and electric piano loops — computer music for computers. At this point the duo peeks their head out of the static one final time to deliver a murky and melancholy lullaby, one of relative approachability entitled "Krib," a sleepy anthem that includes the curiously percussive elements of glass bottles. After this pit stop of nostalgia, it's back to business and onward to sterility, as the EP closes with "Tilapia"; almost unintelligible chords fall over each other to keep with the click-heavy beat, and machines from all sides begin to squeal, groan, and whine to a halt. As mentioned, this seemed like the end of an approachable era for Autechre, where programming took the place of performing. Listeners should take note that Warp Records, perhaps in their wisdom, signed the band Boards of Canada the very next year and gave any disheartened Autechre fans a taste of what they could have done if they had stayed human. Here, with Cichlisuite, the computers take center stage and deliver studies rather than stories.


Formed: 1987 in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, Eng

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Like Aphex Twin, Autechre were about as close to being experimental techno superstars as the tenets of their genre and the limitations of their audience allowed. Through a series of full-length works and a smattering of EPs on Warp, Clear, and their own Skam label, Autechre consistently garnered the praise of press and public alike. Unlike many of their more club-bound colleagues, however, Autechre's Sean Booth and Rob Brown had roots planted firmly in American electro, and though the more mood-based,...
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Cichli Suite - EP, Autechre
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