Release Date: May 19, 2016
Record label: Warp
Genre(s): Electronic, Experimental Techno, Experimental Electronic, IDM, Glitch
Autechre shake off context like water from a rain slicker. Their music has grown impenetrable, and since 2011's Oversteps it has arrived in increasingly large lumps of obtuse sound. First came 2013 double-album Exai, which messily referenced all eras of the UK duo's career, alternately brilliant and frustrating. Last year, they dropped a collection of hour-long live recordings with all the ceremony of someone donating a bag full of secondhand clothes.Now there's elseq 1-5.
Review Summary: Autechre continue to break ground they didn't know was there.As much as Autechre’s self-appointed disciples would have you believe otherwise, the duo they so love to deify are actually human, susceptible to the same creative troughs that everyone else is. To point out something so obvious might seem a little odd, but over the course of a generation, Sean and Rob have unintentionally fostered the myth of their infallibility by way of their mind-boggling consistency. It’s easy to buy into the hyperbole that surrounds them, but only if you ignore the fact that they’re constantly upending their process to remain as in the dark as possible.
Released in digital formats only, Autechre's twelfth album is mammoth. With over four hours of music split into five discrete parts (with each available for separate purchase), it is more than twice as long as 2013's Exai, their previous longest album to date. Freed from the constraints of the physical format, these masters of electronic sound design are able to really stretch out.
Arriving in a month thick with surprise album releases from A-listers like Beyonce, Drake, James Blake, and Radiohead, Autechre’s Elseq might not surpass its peers in terms of buzz or anticipation. But it has definitely got them beat in sheer volume. The five-part series—which was posted to the UK-based electronic duo’s webstore last week—adds up to more than four hours of music, out-clocking its peers by a significant margin.