Are You Sitting Comfortably? Then Listen With An Open Mind.

Autechre's debut Incunabula is seen in the eyes of many as a step forward in the electronic genre. Autechre's debut varies in style ranging from hollow to benevolent within the music. Initially the first album brought out by Sean Booth and Rob Brown would actually join a catalogue from Warp Records entitled Artificial Intelligence. Its purpose? To show the change and immense capabilities in electronic music from 1992-1994. Although they're known as the leaders of IDM, techno, and the electronic genre now, as unknowns Richard D. James, Autechre, The Orb, and Richie Hawtin are the few who contributed to this collection for their label Warp. There is no doubt that series has left an imprint on the minds of many for the generation only learning to love a relatively new genre. Obscure and unrelenting at times, IDM can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Incunabula is the testament of Autechre's and a genre's legacy, which is still going strong after 20 or so years.

It may be the reason from immense progress that so much of Incunabula feels linear in a way. Each direction of the music takes a turn for the better, even if it isn't something new to the ear nowadays, it can be seen across the genre in the present time of Autechre's vast influence. Although the style changes from classic electronic movements, ambient, and sometimes minimalistic techno Incunabula shows how important Autechre was for this movement. Incorporating all signs of experimentation within their debut there wasn't much to go from there. "Kalpol Introl" remains to be their most popular and noticeable song on Incunabula; the album's only single would later be featured on Darren Aronofosky's modern masterpiece Pi. The serene, whirling, and calm "Kalpol Introl" is what electronic music was about at the time. Pure experimentation, these tracks as other electronic artists in the early 90's are to thank for such an solid, exciting, and unusual approach. If anything Autechre's debut signals the foretelling of a progressive genre; the very same year Aphex Twin's minimalistic ambient techno affair Selected Ambient Works 85-92 would see great admiration from all. With each new artist, a new classic would be brought to the forefront.

The album plays a similar tune for lack of a better word. From "Kalpol Introl" the track "Bike" follows in its footsteps within the peaceful and humbling waves of electronic. The eeriness ensues within "Autriche", but the overall feeling is not lost within the music. As I said the tune of the album is similar in stature, just different in tone, much of "Autriche" as well as Incunabula takes a moderate and gradual climb within each track, by either peeling and whisking away at the layers or adding a few more. "Basscadet" is where the energy starts to pick up, its hand drum intro with glitchy atmosphere is relevant as addictive in every sense of the term. Gradually building upon the initial beats "Basscadet" sets of in a dark journey in the mind of any IDM enthusiast. With each murmuring of "I have no idea what's going on", a layer is slowly put together to create 5 minute session of excitement. Although one of the shorter songs on Incunabula it remains one of the strongest. "Eggshell" may scrap the minimalistic techno beats from the former track "Basscadet", but the subdued haunting atmosphere works even better. As the various twists and turns of ambient music skew towards waves of electronic benevolence a resounding and proper closer "444" takes Incunabula full circle. Summarizing the album from its beginnings towards it's smooth end.

Incunabula can be seen in the eyes of many as a journey for beginning of a relatively new and exciting genre of electronic music. Each track takes on a different approach within its tone and atmosphere, from serene and peaceful, dark and menacing, to eerie and haunting all is here to love.

Grade: A


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