Autechre can not really be characterized by a mixture of influences. Their universe is so singular that it seems to have no origin. Their music is firmly erratic: it escapes history and its logic.
It is however interesting to listen to their podcasts ("Fact Mix 122", "Dekmantel Podcast 035"), an inventory of sorts of their favored artists: Mantronix, Ultramagnetic MC’s, Kraftwerk, Brian Eno, Grandmaster Flash, Man Parrish, The Art of Noise, 808 State, Cybotron, etc. All in all, these are “classic” influences when it comes to electronic music. But it’s the line up of the 2003 edition of All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival, curated by the duo, that reveals the extent of their curiosity, far from the fields of electronic music. They invited, amongst others, Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, and Earth, a Seattle-based drone metal band. References not as common as Herbie Hancock’s “Rock It”!
This is the path on which this playlist follows, by offering a musical journey through the deepest – and unexpected – inspirations of the group, all of them cited with a hint of admiration during one of their interviews.
Rob loves Jon Hopkins’ track “Temple”, Isolée’s melancholic house, Perc’s subtle techno, Burial’s twilight dubstep, Fennesz and Sakamoto’s luminous ambient, and not forgetting Bernard Parmegiani’s three second jingle composed for Roissy-Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
Sean Booth is fond of contemporary techno (Cygnus, Kyle Hall, Rrose, AnD, Ancient Methods). He admires Untold’s grooves remixed by James Blake, Sunn O)))’s avant-gardism, Objekt’s elusive style, The Residents’s weirdness and Coil’s theatricality. He has the ironic Mr. Oizo’s album Moustache on repeat and proclaims to be Scientist’s “biggest fan”. And if he had to leave England for a truly deserted island, he would take Beefheart’s Mirror Man Sessions with him so he could listen to those other worldly fluctuating rhythms until the end of days!
David Lynch’s disturbed temporalities fascinate the band just as much. Rob recalls the haunting “The Pink Room”, one of Badalamenti’s instrumental rock themes featured in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Not to be outdone, experimental music is present in Maurizio Bianchi’s industrial sounds and Chris Douglas aka Dalglish’s dark ambient. When a journalist compared Autechre to Stockhausen, Sean humorously retorted that the German composer was a “grandpa”, and assured he felt closer to the Japan-based Incapacitants’ noise, Swedish-born Carl Michael von Hausswolff’s noisy experiments, or the concrete music of Tod Dockstader, another “granddaddy” yet much less famous.
Lastly, some classics cannot be left aside: Detroit techno (Drexciya), its German cousin (Moritz von Oswald under the name Maurizio), “Digeridoo” (Sean Booth’s favorite Aphex Twin track), not to mention hip-hop from REQ aka Ian Cassar, a Brighton-based graffiti artist.
Listening to this whole selection offers new perspectives, and allows you to rediscover Autechre’s mutant body of work.