Discussing Autechre’s new album, SIGN, Andy Beta makes comparisons with outer space:

the Manchester duo’s sound remains singular in the canon—not just of cutting-edge electronic music, but in a section of outer space that few other artists ever venture towards, much less wholly inhabit.

While Philip Sherburne talks about how the album catches the ‘light’:

Even the softest material on SIGN isn’t all that different from the most austere or amelodic material on NTS Sessions; it’s just been smoothed into a form that catches the light differently,

It is interesting to compare this with the idea of music and space. When I listen to Autechre’s abstract music there is nothing that says ‘Manchester’ to me, let alone out of space. It is a reminder of the idea of space as metaphor.

Listened SIGN, by Autechre from Autechre

11 track album

I have always struggled to find the words to describe Autechre. The usual discussion of form and structure never seems to apply. In Tom Breihan’s review of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, he talks about ‘submitting’ to the music. I think of Autechre in the same way. What stands out about this album are subtleties.

Marginalia

Phil Freeman in Stereogum:

SIGN sounds like they’ve reached the end of this particular journey — they’ve traveled as far out as they can and are now coming back, to rejoin humanity

Philip Sherburne in Pitchfork:

SIGN is surprisingly direct: lean, intermittently sedate, frequently quite pretty.

Andy Beta on Bandcamp:

Paring back the beats to let their melting ice cap melodic sensibilities take center stage, the effect feels desolate and elegiac at once.

Bookmarked Autechre: NTS Sessions 1-4 (Pitchfork)

Autechre’s eight-hour NTS Sessions adds another level of the British duo’s legacy. Though it’s created by a computer, it will bring you to another plane of human existence if you let it.

This review of the latest offering provides an interesting insight into the non-human actors within electronic music. The argument put is that the more albums made the more Autechre they become.

Even when they are proudly flouting their influences, retracing the daisy chained 808 madness of Mantronix or the nauseating cacophony of early Coil, they claim full ownership. It’s not possible for Autechre to sound like anything except Autechre. And, with each new release, they somehow sound more like Autechre than on the previous one. The sound design is fuller, the programming more intricate, the shock of the new hitting just a bit harder than before.