Autechre - Incunabula 2xLP


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Label: Warp

Our Review:

Incunabula is the debut release for Autechre. When this album was released back in 1992, it gave the impression of being an inscrutable object built through a cryptic logic seemingly without any reference beyond itself. As the duo progressed through their increasingly complex array of electronic sequencing throughout the '90s eventually upgrading to Cycling '74 technology a decade or so later, the ghostly allusions of deconstructed acid house and b-boy hip-hop found on Incunabula become all the more apparent. Autechre's Sean Booth and Rob Brown had mentioned in interviews well after the release that Incunabula was compiled from various tapes by Warp, aligning itself rather unintentionally with Aphex Twin's first volume of Selected Ambient Works. We can thank Warp thus for the curated sound for Incunabula, which gracefully evolves through an almost literary storyboard of prologue, conflict, climax and denouement. The first few tracks awaken with twinklings of synthetic melodies that spiral around rounded 303 squelches often detached from a rhythmic spine. The eccentric pleasantries of Incunabula's opening numbers darkens considerably with the mechanoid breakbeat monster of "Basscadet" with its industrial menace and ear-worm burrowing melodies grafted a swaggering rhythm prescient of what Pan Sonic and Carsten Nicolai would groove through sine-tones and white noise many years later. Autechre work through several other swaggering chunks of crisp breakbeats, heavy percussive blows and lush melodic constructs in "Eggshell" and "Doctrine" before dissolving into clouds of future-science ambience for the album's hushed conclusion. An auspicious beginning to say the least.