Autechre listening survey: Amber


Feb 1 2008, 3:14

Autechre : Amber (1994)

Continuing my survey of the Autechre discography.

First listen...

This was really the first Autechre album I actually owned. It looks like the US release date was in 1994 or 1995, so I most likely bought this in my sophomore year of college (1994-1995) when I was still just really discovering electronic music beyond the industrial scene. It seems kind of amazing to me now that I could have had any hangup about purely instrumental music, but I can remember playing Amber for an old friend in my car and giving him a lot of (as it turned out, unneeded) justifications for its existence before even playing it. "It doesn't have any vocals, but it's really cool!"

I find myself anticipating the lovely higher-pitched melodies that drop into Montreal around 02:46 right from the beginning of the song. A sign of a well-listened track for sure.

The word "icy" has probably been used to describe this album in more reviews than I can count, but you can't really deny it.

Silverside starts, and I find myself having a hard time concentrating on the code I'm working on. This is an all-time favorite, and it's completely captivating. Maybe I shouldn't be doing this at work. :-) The chopped-up vocal samples are a bit spooky here. Without getting too pretentious, the image I get in my mind is walking alone through a fog where foreign, unintelligible voices are coming from all around.

Piezo is jumping out at me right at this moment of being of foreshadower of the insane polyrhythmic work that would come later from the band.

Yulquen is spooky and mesmerizing. A track like this reminds me that Autechre don't really need the beats to make interesting music.

Teartear is exquisitely dark and menacing right from the opening note. I completely understand how this album got under my skin back in the 1990s.

Second Listen (several days after the first)...

Who doesn't love that opening hum/drone on Foil?

Slip is sounding downright bright and cheery on this listen. I'll nominate it for Autechre's happiest track.

This time through I keep noticing how some tracks have lovely extended endings. Often the tempo is slowed down or the beats disappear altogether. A nice example is Further.

See Also:
Autechre listening survey


  • frolix22

    The first Autechre record I ever listened to and I can still remember the dawning realisation that this was something really special. Nil remains a contender for my very favourite Autechre track.

    Feb 1 2008, 9:44
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