Home > Music > Autechre – LP5 (1998)

Autechre – LP5 (1998)

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Now this appraisal might become entirely irrelevant and useless if I ever get around to Confield, but at least compared to previous Autechre material, LP5 is “Expert Mode Unlocked” given tangible audible form. At least from an aural perspective it comes off even more abstract and artificial than before, although repeated listening has clued me in to just how much of the band’s previous techniques and arsenal remain. Now, I realize this is a snooty and even elitist way of describing how I’ve engaged with LP5, but bear with me – after all, I might end up reviewing one of Autechre’s earliest albums at some point, and I need an excuse to (most likely inaccurately) work in the phrase “filthy casual”.

For better or worse, there’s a great deal of musical substance on here that I’ve never even considered trying to incorporate into my own work. I guess that sort of makes this album an antithesis of self, just like the last album I wrote about. For one, the emphasis on ‘ambient’, slowly evolving soundscapes that I picked up on from Tri Repetae is still around; I’d go as far as claiming these are even more necessary since consonant phrases are on the decline here. Some of these tracks arguably have pop style hooks; I don’t think it’s the main intent, especially since the sort of modal, more conventionally structured songwriting I’ve heard on previous Autechre albums is hard to find here.  Instead, Autechre seemingly relies more heavily on percussive rhythms this time around, and furthermore does some very strange things with tempo. I kind of want to make a song using the constant BPM change gimmick of “Fold4, Wrap5”, although incorporating such a thing into the sort of music I actually like to write could be … difficult.

If there’s one thing that Autechre definitely does well on LP5, it’s that they nail the ambiences. As I’ve said before, that’s definitely not easy to do, but at it’s best, LP5 has spawned some incredibly vivid mental images in my head. The architecture metaphors people like to throw in when talking about this band are at least apt, although sometimes the slow evolution and attention to transitions does something especially amazing, like briefly turning “Drane2” (arguably the hit single of this album) into the world’s most hellish call center about 2/3rds of its length in. It helps that that track in particular has one of the densest soundscapes; most of the tracks here are a bit sparser and take more time to sink in, but you can still get some sort of storytelling potential out of them.

To be honest, it didn’t take me as long to value LP5 as highly as I do now; it’s not perfect, and nor is my understanding of it, but the depths that remain are certainly worth plumbing.

Highlights: “777”, “Under Boac”, “Drane2”

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  1. 2016/05/25 at 09:03

    I got into Autechre by listening to their stuff in order (as maybe you’re planning to?) and yes this was my impression as well – like, “whoa, they’ve really jumped off the deep end here”. Little did I know just how deep that pool goes. LP5 is always gonna be a favorite of mine because it does so many neat things without throwing the listener overboard – I think it was “Under Boac”, the track that sounds like a brick going through a washing machine, that really cemented how much I liked these guys. It’s not the best track here but it I loved that they had some mischievousness to them.

    • 2016/05/25 at 18:05

      The order I’ve listened so far is “Tri Repetae” -> “LP5” -> “Incunabula” -> “Chiastic Slide”. I can definitely notice the stylistic differences, although I suspect a lot of the changes I talk about in the review of LP5 happened (at least in part) on Chiastic Slide.

  1. 2016/08/24 at 19:12
  2. 2017/06/06 at 18:59

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