Autechre - Amber 2xLP
As an obvious precursor to Boards Of Canada's bleary and beloved electronica, Autechre's second album Amber ranks as the most accessible of their albums. Released in 1994, Amber retains much of the Incunabula's structural signatures for clipped breakbeats, whirling snares and hovering basslines. Autechre engineer these magnetic rhythms with liquid melodies that tumble and fold upon themselves. This rhizomatic approach to composing melody results in a hypnotic listen that have lead many to erroneously qualify this album as beatless. This magician's trick of obscuring the rhythm in plain sight makes this album all the more intriguing. In fact, there's only two tracks - the brief noodling interlude in "Nine" and the pastoral drawl of "Yulquen" – that escape the grips of Autechre's drum programming. Autechre are at their best on Amber when they turn toward bold gestures and cinematic overtures. This is especially true for intricately sequenced phrasing found on "Piezo" and "Further" which cycles elegantly with a weeping melancholy in almost Vangelis-like stanzas. The deus-ex-machina heft of the albums closer "Teartear" erases much of the album's illusory self-vaporization in one grandiose electro-clad march of gristled paranoia.