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Music / Autechre

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Autechre are an English electronic music duo consisting of Rob Brown and Sean Booth that formed in 1987. Both are now considered godfather figures in modern electronic music, particularly for their innovations in subgenres like ambient techno.

Both artists met through Manchester's graffiti scene, and after trading mixtapes and eventually creating their own compositions, they released an EP under the name of Lego Feet. They later released their first single under the name Autechre (Cavity Job) in 1991. As far as pronunciation of the name goes, Rob and Sean have said any way is valid, but they themselves use "aw-TEK-er".note 

Their 1993 debut album Incunabula was a surprise success for themselves and nascent electronica record label Warp Records. Their third album Tri Repetae was considered a breakthrough in ambient techno for its incorporation of rhythmic ideas from early hip-hop, and is considered a classic of the genre to this day.

After this point, the duo became increasingly interested in algorithmic permutations made possible by software environment Max/MSP, which has complicated their work ever since. 2001's Confield is still considered largely inaccessible for this reason, but the duo has never looked back, adding constantly to their hardware/software amalgam, "The System". Though their music has expanded dialogues in electronic music and computer programming, the duo have been consistent in claiming their latest album is "more hip hop" than the last one, and that all of their songs are now culled from jam sessions.

2016 saw Autechre's albums become increasingly lengthy and experimental, beginning with 2015's AE_LIVE, soundboard recordings of their 2014-2015 tour that started with ~9-hour-long tracks and later expanded to 28. They also once uploaded 444 videos of random audio and visual patterns on YouTube which have since been deleted. It's further been rumoured that Twitch user 4utechre is secretly an account owned by the duo; the account has been known to broadcast jams live on air.

Their style is a bit hard to pin down, but they draw a lot of inspiration of hip-hop and electro music, and the group have typically been associated with IDM. It is, in fact, so singular that some reviewers have jokingly put "Autechre" down as the genre of their albums in reviews.



  • Incunabula (1993)
  • Amber (1994)
  • Tri Repetae (1995)
  • Chiastic Slide (1997)
  • LP5 (1998) note 
  • Confield (2001)
  • Draft 7.30 (2003)
  • Untilted (2005)
  • Quaristice (2008)
  • Quaristice (Versions) (2008)
  • Oversteps (2010)
  • Exai (2013)
  • elseq 1-5 (2016) note 
  • NTS Sessions (2018) note 
  • SIGN (2020)
  • PLUS (2020)

EPs and live albums:

  • Anti EP (1994)
  • Garbage (1995)
  • Anvil Vapre (1995) - this and Garbage were also bundled with the US release of Tri Repetae
  • Envane (1997)
  • Cichlisuite (1997)
  • Peel Session (1999) - material recorded for John Peel's radio show
  • EP7 (1999)
  • Peel Session 2 (2001)
  • Gantz Graf (2002)
  • (2008)
  • Digital Exclusive EP (2008) - Japan-exclusive, includes two songs from Quaristice (Versions) and one new track, "Blyz Castl"
  • Move of Ten (2010)
  • L-event (2013)
  • AE_LIVE (2015-2022)
  • Warp Tapes 89-93 (2019) - available for free on Autechre's Bleep Store
  • AE_LIVE 2016/2018 (2020)

Autechre provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All Your Powers Combined: NTS Sessions can aptly be described as "every single Autechre release at once," combining distinct features of each phase of their career into a cohesive whole.
  • Animated Music Video: The experimental CGI video note  for "Gantz Graf" was animated with the program LightWave 3D.
  • Arc Number: Expect references to the album's number to pop up in its' own title, its' song names and its' cover art a lot:
    • Untilted is a title that has exactly eight letters, an album that contains exactly eight songs and a Warp pressing that's ID'd as WARPLP180.
    • Quaristice has a few songs with numbers in the titles, all containing a single digit "9": "90101-5l-l", "chenc9" and "Outh9X". The two exempts are "Fol3" and the Japanese-exclusive "nu-Nr6d", but adding threes up to them will get you a nine. Most other songs on Versions and keep this theme as well. On that note, Warp's catalogue number of Quaristice is 333, the sum of digits of which is also nine.
    • Oversteps's Warp catalogue number is 210. Should be self-explanatory. Also, the companion EP is called Move of Ten.
    • Exai's title is a phonetic reading of the Roman numeral XI. The 11-by-11 pixel grid on the cover art actually has "Exai" written out in a deceptively cryptic pixel lettering. XI is also part of one of the songs on the LP, "T ess xi". The accompanying LP, L-event is similarly a pun on the word "eleven."
    • The Warp catalogue numbers of SIGN and PLUS add up to fourteen if you add them digit by digit (3+2+9 and 3+3+8), implying both are the fourteenth album. SIGN in particular has a song outright called "au14".
  • Canon Discontinuity: Their first release was the generic oldskool rave single Cavity Job (1991); the fans and the duo themselves rarely acknowledge it. Averted when it was included in the 5-CD EPs 1991-2002 box set.
  • Common Time: For a duo that makes a lot of structurally and sonically complex music, it's a surprisingly common thing in Autechre's songs. Sometimes, deceptively so, like in "Perlence" from Quaristice, "prac-f" from Exai and, most infamously, "Gantz Graf" from the EP of the same name.
  • Darker and Edgier: Confield is far more dense and chaotic than their earlier works. And then there's Gantz Graf...
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The cover art for Draft 7.30. Behold.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Their first commercial release, the Cavity Job EP, is pretty much standard early 90s rave music.
    • Incunabula and Amber, while more experimental than Cavity Job, lack the noise influences that would go on to define their sound, though Amber is a little closer than Incunabula.
  • Epic Rocking:
    • Nearly each album contains a few lengthy pieces, including: "Windwind" from Incunabula; "Stud" and "Rsdio" from Tri Repetae; "Nuane" from Chiastic Slide and "Sublimit" from Untilted.
    • Ambient piece "Perlence subrange 6-36" is almost an hour long, which counts on length alone.
    • Exai is 2 hours long and features 7 songs over the 7-minute mark.
    • AE_LIVE is a growing collection of live sets featuring otherwise unreleased music (as well as mixes of existing Max patches). The initial set went for about nine hours, the pre-SIGN update increased the length to nearly 29 hours.
    • elseq 1-5 is over 4 hours long and half of the songs are over the 10 minute mark; 3 are over 20 in length, with "elyc6 0nset" being 27 minutes.
    • NTS Sessions is an eight-hour album, with the average song length being 15 minutes. The last song, "all end", is nearly an hour long by itself.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Parhelic Triangle" on Confield ends with the percussion fading out, right before it fades back in and drowns itself into buzzing noise.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • "Flutter" from Anti EP was specifically programmed so that no two bars included the same rhythmic pattern at all (see Take That! below.) From then on, Autechre's output would grow more and more algorithmically generated.
    • On NTS Sessions, a small section of "all end" appears as the coda to "splesh," a song that appeared roughly 3 hours beforehand.
      • Said section was previously heard at the end of "bladelores" off of Exai.
  • Genre Roulette: Seriously, compare Amber to Confield. That Other Wiki has. It's difficult to pick out at times, but Autechre's love for classic hip-hop from both the UK and the US is very apparent throughout their catalogue; it's whatever chaos they decide to lay over top of those rhythmic and sonic foundations that makes this trope.
  • Hidden Track: LP5 has an untitled droning song after 12 minutes of silence on "Drane2". EP7, conversely, has something similar at the polar opposite end of the album, being concealed in the pre-gap portion of "Rpeg".
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The majority of their albums' names are linked to what number it is chronologically (see the Arc Number entry above), e.g., debut album is called Incunabula, derived from a Latin word meaning 'the earliest traces of something'; third album Tri Repetae has the prefix 'tri-' indicating three; a chiastic phrase has four parts, thus the fourth album being called Chiastic Slide; LP5 and Draft 7.30; eighth album Untilted has eight letters in the title and eight tracks; Quaristice has the catalogue number 333 which adds up to nine; Exai is a phonetic reading of XI, the roman numeral for "eleven".
    • More recently, the EP Move Of Ten has also drawn speculation over its name: it's their first release after their tenth album, it was released in 2010 and its title is possibly a Punny Name (they were on tour during the release).
    • Furthermore, three of Autechre's early EP's each had their own quirk when it came to naming the songs on them. On Garbage, each track's name is followed by the suffix "-mx" and a number which represented how much of the EP the song took up as a percentage. On Envane every track name ended with the word "quarter", and on Anvil Vapre each track name begins with the word "Second".
  • In Name Only: EP7 and Move of Ten, both ostensibly EPs, are similar in length to an average album. Taken to extremes with - a digital-only "EP" that contains not one, but three Envane-length EP's and, on top of that, "Perlence Subrange 6-36" on its' own.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: On the few occasions that an Autechre song will have vocals, they'll be distorted to the point of being unintelligible. "IO" from Quaristice in particular is this from start to finish.
  • Last Note Nightmare:
    • A few songs from Confield have sudden, abrupt and rather noisy endings that contrast with the odd, but not completely terrifying moods of the rest of the track, such as "Eidetic Casein" and "Uviol".
    • The majority of "Recury" from Chiastic Slide seems rather calm compared to the ending, which features loud static that borders on Noise (though not Harsh Noise).
  • Leave the Camera Running: Autechre's Max patches can theoretically evolve for a long while, as demonstrated on their Twitch streams. A good on-album example would be "Perlence Subrange 6-36," a slowed-down stem from the original "Perlence" (specifically from its' ending) slowly evolving for about an hour.
  • Meaningful Name: Out of context, "6852" seems like a pretty run-of-the-mill name for an Autechre track. This, however, was an exclusive song made for ATP Concerts's Made in Japan event to benefit the victims of the 2011 Japanese tsunami disaster. A country that consists of 6852 islands.
  • Mickey Mousing: The music video for "Gantz Graf" depicts an abstract metallic object being transformed throughout the song, its movements painstakingly animated to create a frame-perfect sync with the song's complex structure.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: Possibly the poster child of this trope. This is the cover of their most popular album, Tri Repetae, not counting the sticker. Even the back cover is plain.
    • The only thing that distinguishes Anti EP from being completely minimalist to Tri Repetae's look is that it's not a Textless Album Cover.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Over a third of Autechre's official discography tends to end its' songs abruptly - usually mid-beat.
  • New Sound Album:
    • Tri Repetae was more industrial sounding than prior efforts and took great influence from classic hip hop of the 1980s.
    • Chiastic Slide is when the algorithmic tendencies began to show.
    • Confield, an entirely algorithmic album, polarized everyone who heard it.
    • Oversteps, influenced in part by grime and dubstep, but being overall more melodic than its' predecessors (and successors).
  • No Name Given: Their fifth album does not have an actual name, though WARP and the Bleep Store list it as LP5, similarly to its' accompanying album EP7.
  • Punny Name: Confield (pun of "Canfield") and Untilted. Also Basscad.EP, a collection of remixes of "Basscadet", from Incunabula.
  • Rearrange the Song: All over the place with Quaristice's accompanying albums, Quaristice (Versions) and Quadrange in particular adds a whopping five versions of "Perlence", up to a total of seven.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: SIGN and PLUS are essentially two halves of one double album, with the former being more melodic overall, and with the later having more beat-focused songs. This trope, however, is not reflected on the front covers of either, since it's the red-orange SIGN that is the calmer half.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The title of their eighth album is Untilted, not Untitled.
  • Sampling:
    • "The Plc" off of Quaristice samples Run–D.M.C.'s "Here We Go".
    • "Lowride" from Incunabula, which itself is a chain of sampling: it samples Miles Davis' "The Doo-Bop Song", which sampled Gang Starr's "DJ Premier Is In Deep Concentration", which in turn samples the original song, Kool & the Gang's "Summer Madness".
    • "Goz Quarter" from the Envane EP features a vocal sample from "No Awareness" by Dr. Octagon (AKA Kool Keith).
  • Self-Titled Album: Subverted. Due to the fact that a title is not printed anywhere on the case, LP5 is sometimes referred to as Autechre as it is the only thing etched into the jewelcase.
  • Sensory Abuse: Most of their songs play it straight, but the worst offender right now is "Gantz Graf".
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Second Bad Vilbel" refers to a town in Germany.
    • "Acroyear2" shares the name with an alien gladiator from Micronauts.
    • "Theme of Sudden Roundabout" references a local landmark near where Rob and Sean used to live, while "Montreal" refers to the Canadian city and the friends that they have there.
    • According to Ian Anderson, the chaotic text kerning on Quaristice's cover art was inspired by old DOS disk defragmentation programs.
    • Reportedly, SIGN and PLUS might've been both named after "sean pls", a We Are The Music Makers Forums meme referencing, in this context, Sean Booth.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Track: Their ambient leaning tracks can be seen as this. The hour-long "all end" which concludes the 8-hour long NTS Sessions was described by Resident Advisor as "a cathedral filled with billions of vibrating light particles" and was considered an album highlight by fans and critics alike.
  • Surreal Music Video: "Second Bad Vilbel" (which was directed by Chris Cunningham) and the iconic "Gantz Graf" video.
  • Take That!: In response to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 against raves with music defined as a "succession of repetitive beats," Anti EP features not only a disclaimer warning about the repetitive nature of "Lost" and "Djarum", but "Flutter" was specifically programmed to have no two bars sound the same.
  • Theme Naming: With Confield being a pun on "Canfield," it's little surprise that its' song names reference scientific terms, like "fern", "casein" (a type of protein) and "catachresis" (semantic error). "Parhelic Triangle" is itself a pun on the term "parhelic circle".
  • Title by Number: "444", "777" and "6852".
  • Uncommon Time: While they usually use Common Time, some of their material distances itself from 4/4, notably the 5/4 "Cichli" on Chiastic Slide and the 7/4... "777" on LP5.
  • Word Purée Title: Most song titles range anywhere from "Perlence" and "Cipater" to "Cep puiqMX" and "DekDre Scap B". Some of those titles could be references to other things.
  • Word Salad Title: Some of their more coherently named works.