Sound of the Singularity: Autechre – Feed1


“Stuff this down your earholes,” is how Tom Ravenscroft introduced this new Autechre track on BBC Radio 6 on Friday night. Feed1 is the first studio track the electronic duo have shared in three years, and besides ransacking your earholes, its digital fizz and clanking metallic chain reactions will fire all your synaptic dials into the red.

One listener texted in: “It sounds like I’m listening to a disease,” and you get the idea this is Sean Booth and Rob Brown’s exact intention. Their 10th album Oversteps in 2010 was their most accessible and structurally conventional since 1994’s ‘ambient’ album Amber, but they followed it up in 2013 with Exai – a set of pristine nano-scale contortions that’s completely untethered from the grid.

Feed1 takes us even further into the wormhole, with it’s serrated digital flutters, grinding gears and random kicks flattening everything into smithereens. It’s an eviscerating 12 minutes that’s a distinct nod to their take-no-prisoners live show.

For 25 years Autechre, along with fellow Warp label mate Aphex Twin, have been concocting algorithms that have changed the possibilities of electronic music and composition in general. But after AFX’s soft-focus Analord acid series and his genuinely warm, beautifully-rendered album Syro, Autechre are the maybe only ones left on the label who can still stop you in your tracks with this much force. If the hypothetical dystopian Singularity is in motion, Autechre are already speeding up the process – the machines are winning.

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