Very few musical acts achieve the levels of unanimous acclaim of Autechre. The English duo of Rob Brown and Sean Booth are not an act you simply like; they are an act you love, fawn over and dream about. They’ve got themselves here over the course of the last 28 years, and have done so by amassing a discography that’s about as perfect, influential and accomplished as could ever be possible. A key Warp label act from day one, they have released tens of albums, well over a ten EPs and have featured on a dizzying amount of essential compilations, mixes and remixes in that time. Without their contribution to the IDM canon, its fair to say the modern musical landscape would look very different.
Rhythmic but experimental, absorbing yet abstract, cerebral and psychedelic, their ever evolving output is up there with the likes of fellow luminaries Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin as some of the most important in all of electronic music. As well as being fine craftsmen in the studio, Autechre are also revered live performers who really manage to conjure up captivating and otherworldly soundtracks that marry heavy bass with ethereal melody. The pair themselves do not care for genre, but suffice it to say that they have mastered everything from hardcore to ambient to glitch and plenty of indescribables in between.
When the pair recently laid down an impressive set at Dekmantel Festival, we asked if they might be up for a doing an early inspiration mix, whereby they put together a collection of the sort of electro and hip hop tracks that turned them on as youths. At first they hesitated, pointing out that “we don’t do strictly retro stuff, it’s too corny.” But alas, a few days later, a huge file landed in our inbox… That file is a 4 hour and 18 minute mix that basically encapsulates not just Autechre’s own influences, but also acts as a fine anthology of the greatest electro sounds of all time. Every sub genre imaginable gets touched upon along the way, with nods to forefathers like Kraftwerk, killer cuts from Man Parrish, classics from Newcleus and retro gold from the likes of The Beat Club. It is a thrilling ride and a truly rare treat that reminds us just why we love Autechre, as well as shining a light on a vast genre that often pays second fiddle to house and techno.