Exai - Autechre (Warp)
Not another Autechre album...
...no-one in modern electronic music is supposed to make more than a handful (never mind 11)...and in doing so, prove themselves to be left standing at a post they may well have erected years ago, only to watch younger technicians leave them standing...
...well, Rob Brown and Sean Booth have the audacity to persist - because they've got nothing better to do?
What's it like, though? Like Autechre, and more so - like Autechre grown up and giving the young pretenders a good kicking. Every devious detonation of bass and percussion blasts the competition out of the water. What competition? Nobody has or can (sensibly) try to sound like Autechre. Such is the studious configuration of rhythms they concoct - they've got more time signatures than Dave Brubeck.
It's bass music for brainiacs - sophisticated manoeuvres in the dark such as 'Draun Quarter', which plays skittish percussion against a leisurely keyboard line, whilst 'Fleure' features trademark scrambled electro transmissions that brilliantly breakdown in an atomic blast of boosted bass dynamics before burning out. Tension between hi and low-end dynamics drive the album; whiplash beats and deformed drones, brutal mutations evolve, as on 'irlite (get 0)'. To paraphrase Derrick May, 'cloudline' is like George Clinton and Stockhausen are stuck in an elevator with only a sequencer to keep them company - a breathing space amid the intense arrangements which hardly constitutes peace, but to these ears is underpinned by the spirit of The One as rewritten for mechanized funkateers.
Here is Rubik cubism in sound which appreciative listeners can spend hours trying to lock together in their heads, only to fry their brains - but oh what a delicious mystery.
One Album of the Year, already - perhaps the Album of the Year - in February? Surely not. Yes.