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Album Review

In small but noticeable ways on this, their sophomore release, Autechre begin to break from the clean, if at times obvious, artistic techno from their debut record, and reach instead toward something far more distinct. Sean Booth and Rob Brown weren't quite there yet, but their self-production is even more accomplished than before, and their instincts to steer away from overly polite electronic dance music come ever more to the fore at various points throughout Amber. "Foil" begins the album with a distinctly spooky feel to it, with droning keyboards playing out over a series of spare percussion patterns; the heavy echo and crumbling, lo-fi bass feel of the track reduces its straightforward danceability, creating an ominous introduction to the album. "Silverside" at once strips things down to a more minimal approach. A string synth section plays out over first gently thudding then more pounding beats. Then a more off-kilter section with distorted vocal samples and sounds provides part of the melodic accompaniment and rhythm. "Glitch" has a nice roiling rumble to it; it isn't as fragmented as later releases, but veers a little more closely to the edge in comparison to earlier songs. "Piezo" is also worth noting, with uplifting synths balancing out a very quirky, almost intrusive series of rhythms, while "Yulquen" eschews beats entirely for a slightly disturbing though still beautiful track which rivals prime Aphex Twin. For all this, Amber does suffer a similarity to Incunabula, in that a couple of tracks could be removed with no problem, while tracks like "Montreal" and "Slip" continue the basic Incunabula formula without noticeable change. Even so, things are clearly starting to gel a little more here than on previous releases; the great leap forward becomes all the more logical in retrospect.

Customer Reviews


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Autechre can sound either very relaxing or very edgy and rough. This album has more of the relaxing kind of Autechre, my favorite kind of Autechre, than it does the later (even though I think they do a good job with their rougher, edgier stuff, it's all just too uncomfortable for me to ever, personally, enjoy). The best ones from this are 'Nine', 'Slip', 'Silverside' and 'Yulquen', in my opinion; they're the ones I can get a nice dream out of, and isn't that the best kind of abient music? The album cover sets the mood nicely: A sandy, pink landscape without people; a nice little escape from the rest of the world, all told through these otherwise rough sounding electronics.


Very good ambient electronica. Not my favorite though. There are others out there that truely can take you places. Check out Alio Die or Carbonbased Lifeforms for total immersion. Did not like song #4, Slip. Too peppy for me.


Formed: 1987 in Rochdale, Lancashire, England

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,...
Full Bio

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