Taking Sides: Autechre vs. Aphex Twin

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After AE rolling the last several tronica polls, I'm not too surprised.

Frankly, I prefer "Perlence Subrange 6-36" to SAWII (though I probably only have the US version).

Pot Leeedom (Leee), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 02:33 (1 year ago) Permalink

42 cloth eared fools

Crackle Box, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 10:58 (1 year ago) Permalink

Can't believe I'm in the majority, what a disaster for anti-populism.

Touché Gödel (ledge), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 11:01 (1 year ago) Permalink

this is versus gd afx twin tho, leee

nakhchivan, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 12:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

the same aphex twin who nearly won in this poll

who is your favourite among these celebrated ppl named on ilx site new answers?

vs godard, kelis, other ilx faves

nakhchivan, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 12:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

shit i missed this :(

Aphex Twin classic or Dud?

;)

Ludo, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 12:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

(oh the link disappeared, prolly better that way)

Ludo, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 12:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

Eh, not an RDJ fan much to begin with.

Anyway, at this rate, we could poll Autechre vs. this kitten and AE would win.

Pot Leeedom (Leee), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 04:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

i like both autechre and aphex a lot (meaning i have like ten releases from each that i never listen to) but autechre winning it seems rather wrong imo

the late great, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 06:41 (1 year ago) Permalink

kinda like picking a really fine quality knife over a whole drawer of good cutlery

the late great, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 06:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

Is that analogy suggesting that AE's discography is one big peak and then nothing? There's good cutlery in AE's drawer. Some of the most beautiful ambient stuff in early career, sure, but I think I've listened even more to the chaotic Drafts and especially my favorite, the (relatively speaking) underrated Untilted - so funky, so fun. Lots of different aspects to them. Sure Aphex has the ambient works and his drill and bass, but he's more of a one trick guy within those two categories. Autechre's tried out different ideas for each of their albums in their chaotic, 'difficult' phase. Which most people don't appreciate as much as their earlier stuff, but back then as well there was a sense of progression and innovation for each album.

abcfsk, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 07:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

Aphex's stuff has aged much worse than Autechre's - hate to say it but it's true. A lot of the values expressed in Aphex's music: extreme eclecticism, confrontational humour (paedo jokes and whatnot), DIY production, seem very much of their time.
Autechre lacked all these, which to many 90s listeners made them seem a little dry and faceless - the typical bedroom technobods getting a sallow tan from their computer screens etc.. Whereas Aphex was always the cheeky, pranksterish face of leftfield electronica - terrorising his poor ma and pa with music made in a a tank or a bank, dressed up as a teddy, screaming at pensioners whilst simultaneously being compared to Mozart in the broadsheet supplements.
People are more attuned to the idea of the "serious" techno producer these days I guess.
There's no social stigma surrounding computers and the internet like there was in the nineties (no longer simply the domain of geeks). And lyrics like "ooh you dirty little boy" or "tampax tampax tampax" aren't so much irreverent as embarrassing in today's landscape.
Aphex Twin was the most up to date musician of his time whereas Autechre's feet were planted firmly in the future, so much so that a lot of their sounds only make sense years after the fact (I'm still getting my head around Confield tbh).

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 09:36 (1 year ago) Permalink

vs

Crackle Box, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 10:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

yes! and there must be a million knob-twiddlers out there, how many people are doing incomprehensible stuff with nasa-level control panels? i guess there's a bunch of ae copyists churning out identikit max/msp stuff but that's not what i mean. sean or rob once said that with all the software out there there's no reason for anyone to sound like anyone else. it's a beautiful dream.

Touché Gödel (ledge), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 10:31 (1 year ago) Permalink

I've never heard an Autchre melody that had anywhere near the affect on my that Flim has.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 10:36 (1 year ago) Permalink

obv melodic beauty is in the ear of the beholder but for me ae have melodies coming out of the wazoo, e.g.

Touché Gödel (ledge), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 10:41 (1 year ago) Permalink

Sicko, Flim is lovely, but I'd say the middle section of Arch Carrier when the strings swell into the mix is as (if not more) affecting. Then there's the melody on Pir. What about the codas to GarbageMx, Piezo, Cichli etc? All big contenders in my book. I used to have one of those stereos with QSurround (remember that?) which somehow only ever worked with Autechre albums.

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 10:48 (1 year ago) Permalink

i dunno dog latin, autechre sound waaaaaaay more dated to my ears. nth generation dsp fuckery and all that pseduo random nonsense seems so early 00s and isn't something that i think will ever make a big comeback. compared to crusty old tape saturated analogue techno which is one of my favourite sounds and never gets old, infact in the current context of techno, those early AFX releases sound better than ever. cf lots of recent surgeon dj sets.

it almost seems like autechre spent all their time trying to make their music random and alive in a way that just naturally happens when you walk away from the computer and start having fun and plugging things in to things. i think aphex got on to that vibe earlier than everyone else.

Crackle Box, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 10:48 (1 year ago) Permalink

There's a bit in this Steve Albini AMA on reddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/td90c/i_am_steve_albini_ask_me_anything/) that almost veers close to this, Crackle Box:

"Digital recording systems engender a kind of production that is overly concerned with editing and manipulating the sound after recording, rather than concentrating on recording music in a flattering manner to begin with. I don't like the way this perspective tends to flatten out performance nuance. That's the aesthetic problem I have with it."

Obviously 'performance nuance' is v. different between Jesus Lizard and Aphex Twin, but I'd wager that AFX and JL are closer in those terms than AE and JL.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 11:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

nasa level control panels? that's just a bunch of controllers. i don't hear anything particularly complex in autechre's music, processing wise. especially compared to the acedemics. but then again, why would they attempt that kind of complexity, they're making 'pop music' and those kind of max/msp projects take years.

i much prefer the complexity that arises with a fluctuating current running through wires and modules and your jamming around then your girlfriend puts the washing machine on everything drops a quarter tone for a second and then all your lfos and envelopes go a bit funny. ha. now that's randomness.

Crackle Box, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 11:01 (1 year ago) Permalink

ledge, that idm dude i quoted upthread has this blog:

http://rachmiel.org/blog/

he's an instrument designer, very good software instruments, and he's quite passionate about all the software out there 'there's no reason for anyone to sound like anyone else. it's a beautiful dream' stuff.

Crackle Box, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 11:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

xxpost Ae always insisted that there was nothing random about their music. Maybe the kind of bangin' analogue techno of Aphex's "Classics" R&S era is having a resurgence, but that's natural retromania at work. Who's to say drill'n'bass won't make a comeback at some point in the next 5-10 years?

If the DSP-fuckery thing sounds early-00's it's because so many IDM bandwagonjumpers were copping Ae's style at that point that the market became saturated and collapsed in on itself (it hurt Ae very badly during their Draft/Untilted days). But they'd been working on and honing that sound since as far back as Chiastic Slide in the mid-90s. I find something like Cichli or Rae have a greater a emotional impact today than, say, 4 or Girl/Boy Song, which I've always loved but offer diminishing returns on the whole. Of course your experience may differ. I certainly overplayed a lot of Twin back then, to the point I prob don't need to listen to much of his work again.

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 11:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeh that's why i said pseudo randomness, i.e they're always creating relationships between controller data to achieve a certain kind of complexity that most people interpret as sounding 'random'. i just feel like their music sounds too much like processes at work and that doesn't really excite me. i have the same aversion to a lot of serial music.

i guess someone like keith fullerton whitman is a well known example of someone who adopts similar techniques but his music seems to transcend the process. or something. lol. this is all wank, aphex just makes decent tunes innit

Crackle Box, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 11:24 (1 year ago) Permalink

of course the flipside of 'no-one should sound like anyone else' is that everyone makes music that only they want to hear - i think this might be evinced by that dudes blog (thx for link anyway though).

Touché Gödel (ledge), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 11:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

CB - see I like the approach Autechre take here (and appreciate Aphex's alternative route). For me, Autechre really do take the "music is math" philosophy to its logical conclusion - the idea that machines, given the right input, can create their own art that somehow creates an impact on the organic human mind. It's like machines in a factory suddenly coming together to make a rhythm, or someone hitting on that magic number of monkeys required to write the perfect novel. I find it fascinating to think that algorithms and generative processes could move me so much, and often imagine Ae as scientists/mathematicians rather than composers, feeding numbers into the loop until it creates a mesmerising fractal image of infinite beauty - every element, be it awkward or jarring or perfect, held in a symbiotic relationship with the rest.

That's pretty far-fetched, but it's cool to think about.

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 11:47 (1 year ago) Permalink

"Digital recording systems engender a kind of production that is overly concerned with editing and manipulating the sound after recording, rather than concentrating on recording music in a flattering manner to begin with. I don't like the way this perspective tends to flatten out performance nuance. That's the aesthetic problem I have with it."

To be honest, editing and manipulating the sound after recording, and not the performance, is what electronic music is all about. The above comment may apply to rock bands, but certainly not to techno; when electronic acts liked The Prodigy started acting like they were a rock band, that's when things started to go wrong.

Tuomas, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 12:52 (1 year ago) Permalink

my analogy was meant to imply that

1. autechre are a one-trick pony who do one thing well

2. aphex has a much wider range and has done many things well

the late great, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 13:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

Tuomas and the late great OTM.

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 13:19 (1 year ago) Permalink

A most unlikely kids book.

Mark G, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 13:19 (1 year ago) Permalink

It's a tempting analogy but I agree with abcfsk, there's actually a lot of range to their work. Not an awful lot in common between Amber and LP5 and Confield.

Touché Gödel (ledge), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 13:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

xxp I don't agree with that at all, in fact if anything I'd switch the two

frogbs, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 13:37 (1 year ago) Permalink

Is it just me, or is "Clipper" (and I guess other bits of "Tri Repetae") the closes Autechre came to sounding a lot like Aphex, or at least not dissimilar? After that it was really off to the races for the duo.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

It's not as though Autechre made an entire career out of one idea, but there's a clear philosophy and a trajectory core to their work, starting at Tri Repetae and running through to the present. Aphex on the other hand would have clearly defined jumps in style from release to release, track to track, but it became apparent around the time of Druqks that really he only had about 4 or 5 kinds of track.

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

one man's clear philosophy and core trajectory is another man's stuck in a rut

the late great, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

I also never quite got the impression Autechre was ever taking the piss, even when they probably were. Aphex, on the other hand, like many a genius, seems impressively aloof about his own work.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

So aloof that he hasn't released anything of significance in over 15 years...

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:13 (1 year ago) Permalink

blow me.

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:13 (1 year ago) Permalink

blowtechre

am0n, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:22 (1 year ago) Permalink

i understand that incunabula and tri repetae and lp5 and confield don't sound exactly the same

then again neither do saw i or saw ii or icbyd or windowlicker or rdj albums

the late great, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

i still think it's weird to call Ae a "one trick pony". i think they've easily got the range of Aphex and then some.

frogbs, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:32 (1 year ago) Permalink

this is a silly part of the conversation tbf. Both acts had a wide remit. Both were lumped into the same category, but there's actually a huge gulf between them. Weirdly, it was when I first heard Autechre (after having been an Aphex fan for a good while) that I remember thinking "are these guys taking the piss?"

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:33 (1 year ago) Permalink

Yes, but Aphex Twin is often truly taking the piss! The one time I saw him on live, lying with a laptop on the couch while three giant dayglo bears stumbled around the stage .... ?

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:36 (1 year ago) Permalink

I mean, I loved it! And it was better than listening to Autechre goof around in the dark, for sure. But I guess I've always liked their mathtronica more than much Aphex.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:36 (1 year ago) Permalink

"Flutter" is kind of a musical joke and I'd think some other tracks too

frogbs, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

what is great about afx is that he can "take the piss" and still end up w a sick track (windowlicker and flow coma remix come to mind)

the late great, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

flutter is the non repetitive beats one?

is that a joek or a *serious artist statement*?

the late great, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:40 (1 year ago) Permalink

bit of both imo

'it was advised that DJs "have a lawyer and a musicologist present at all times to confirm the non repetitive nature of the music in the event of police harassment.'

Touché Gödel (ledge), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:41 (1 year ago) Permalink

I always took it as a joke, and it's a great track besides...

Agreed that Aphex clowns around better than anyone. In fact after the first few years it's the stuff he doesn't clown around on that's lackluster (outside "Flim", obv)

frogbs, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:43 (1 year ago) Permalink

give drukqs another shot, esp the acoustic stuff

the late great, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

Yes, but Aphex Twin is often truly taking the piss! The one time I saw him on live, lying with a laptop on the couch while three giant dayglo bears stumbled around the stage .... ?

― Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 15:36 (16 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yeah that's what I mean. I was used to Aphex and his pranks, but when I heard Ae for the first time my reaction to the music was totally, "You've got to be kidding me!". I think it was Fold4, Wrap5 that provoked that reaction actually.

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 14:54 (1 year ago) Permalink


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