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Mr. R. Baker (Leeds, England)

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Infernal Love
Infernal Love
Price: £7.64

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful..., 22 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Infernal Love (Audio CD)
As with all Therapy? albums, this sounds pretty different to what came before it. After the industrial/noise rock of Nurse, and metal-punk-pop of Troublegum, the band decided to change once more, and take things a little slower.
Infernal Love opens with one of an electronic fade-in, courtesy of DJ David Holmes, who also provides electronic noodling between tracks thoughout the album. However, before fans are immediately alienated, a blistering fast outburst of rage begins to play, and the opener 'Epilepsy' suddenly sounds like T? back to normal. Much the same for the album's first single, 'Stories'. After a sense of false security, though, things change. The utterly beautiful, melancholy metal ballad 'A Moment of Clarity', indie-rock style singalong, 'Jude the Obscene', and heartbreaking orchestral acoustic ballad 'Bowels of Love' form the middle passage of the album, and are a big departure from Troublegum's two minute punk outbursts. The album continues in a similar form, even the upbeat songs sounding melancholy and emotional. 'Loose' is the only misstep on the record, sounding exactly like something from Troublegum (except with a normal snare rather than a piccolo one - musician's jargon everyone!), and not coming close to fitting with the rest of the song.
The closing segment of the album features the band's cover of Husker Du's 'Diane', the band turning it into a string quartet arrangment, without a guitar in sight. The album's closer, '30 Seconds', starts in a familiar way, but after a minute or so, Andy's vocals are cut down to repeating 'There is a light at the end of the tunnel', fading into the background behind a cascade of noise, random sounds, guitar improv (in and out of key), and a general sonic freakout. An intense and incredible end to the record.
To compare Therapy?'s albums isn't an easy or advisable thing to do, as they're all pretty different, but I'd go out on a limb by saying this is probably their most 'experimental' album, and certainly their most melancholy.
It's also incredibly beautiful and effective, and worth getting if you're into metal with a twist.


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice stuff., 7 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Garbage (Audio CD)
The EP starts with a selection of clicking and some tinny, metallic sounding sounds. Tri Repetae is on the way. However, those delayed warm synths fade in. Amber isn't long gone.
This EP is perfect (along with Peel Session 1) as a bridge between Amber and Tri Repetae.
The first track alone is exactly that. A lot of the sounds are of Amber - quite subtle and easy going, but the structure and programming has more of the groove and motion of Tri Repetae. The extraodrinarily pretty synths come in around seven minutes - probably too late in the track to save it dragging a bit. It could do with being about ten minutes instead of fourteen overall. Tracks two and three (Autechre titles are hard enough to remember as it is, let alone at this length) are similar in construction: subtle yet complex beats and pleasant synths. It's only when we come to the final track that the EP suddenly becomes a classic. The first three tracks are good, but this wipes the floor with them. Eight minutes of lush synths, a painfully melancholy set of chords and melodies. No amount of words can sum up how beautiful this piece is, so I shall say no more than this track alone is worth the money. The other three being great is a bonus.

Draft 7.30
Draft 7.30
Price: £11.78

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A return to nothing., 7 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Draft 7.30 (Audio CD)
I've listened to all seven Autechre albums today. And I'm still confused by those saying this is a return to pre-Confield ideas. Sure, the noises here aren't anywhere near as alien or mangled as on the previous album, but whilst that was full of incredibly eerie synths, they appear to be missing here. Drum patterns that are insanely weird and complex, yet subtle and inviting at the same time, welcome you to pretty much every track. And they guide you through. And leave you at the other side. Sure, there are synths in there, but in this case the drums really are the focus point. Which leaves it, in my book, the least accessible Ae album to date.
The drum programming is downright genius. From the insane hip-hop swagger of 6IE.CR and V-Proc, to the complete lack of time sig in Theme of Sudden Roundabout and the lack of anything that makes up an actual drum rhythm in Tapr, the rhythms are mind boggling. But one can't help feel there could be something to accompany them. Tapr has it's sinister stop/start synths, closer Reniform Puls is covered in blips and pongs, and they work brilliantly. I wonder what made them decide to condense most synth work down to little sounds that are barely distinguishable from the drums.
Now, I must talk about Surripere. For it is one of my favourite Autechre tracks. I wish more of the album was like this. A driving rhythm from simple drums and clicks opens the track, fronted by a sinister and slightly foreboding synth. It's incredibly beautiful, and just shows they guys can still write utterly stunning music, rather than utterly stunning rhythms. Halfway through, the beat takes over, and turns into an intense industrial mash-up. I'm waiting for more stuff like this. It's a move on from Confield, but it's a fantastic one.
The dark, cold sound remains, I think, but unlike previous releases, it leaves me empty. This isn't the undergrowth of an alien planet like Confield, nor the industrial machine of Tri Repetae. It doesn't sound finished.
Gosh, that sounds FAR more negative than it should. I really enjoy the album. Maybe I've listened too much an am spending all my time comparing it to their previous albums.
I'm still very curious as to where they're heading next.

Price: £13.20

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not easy listening., 7 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Confield (Audio CD)
Now THIS one took time to get into. I knew what to expect, yet on first listen I was still confronted with this hour of incoherent, inpenetrable noise. But when it hits you, you know. Because you'll be sitting there and suddenly have an urge - nay, a need - to put Confield on.
Or at least, I did.
This one reminds me more of Chiastic Slide (their fourth album) rather than the self-titled (or LP5), which was released between that and this. Back is the white noise, crunchy beats and sublime spooky atmosphere. Only this time, it's some strange alien world where our laws of physics don't come close to applying. Or something like that. It's damn weird, anyway.
The sound of someone sucking an empty juice box through a straw from Calliper Remote (LP5) returns on opener VI Scose Poise, topped with the softest sounding synth I've ever heard. The result is magnificent. Cfern is a plodding drumbeat which goes out of time with itself and the rest of the song at various points, along with xylophones, descending bass and seemindly random plopping noises. Over the course of the album we then hear beats seemindly made of pure white noise (Pen Expers), clicks and squeaks used as percussion (Sim Gishel, Uviol), things that sound both backwards and forwards at once, and are probably both and inside out too (Bine), demented sitar-like synths (Eidetic Casein) and rhythms speeding up to probably several hundred BPM (Lentic Catachresis). Take all of those sounds, mix them with a heavy amount of almost - but not quite - random beats, spooky synths, out of place clicks and noises and a general feel of what the hell is going on?
I wanted to give a proper review of the album, but I realised that's impossible. Stick your head in a washing machine full of marbles and sand, take it out and walk into a Chinese Robot Brothel. On Mars. Whilst taking LSD. Then you might have an idea of what to expect.
It's weird, okay?


4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Autex Twin., 7 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Autechre (Audio CD)
I hereby nominate myself to be the person who doesn't love this album!
As my review title suggests, I think this is trying too hard to be an Aphex Twin album. Richard D James album, in particular. I'm pretty sure Rob and Sean *weren't* thinking that, but there are so many occasions where I think I'm listening to the RDJ Album after a track from AE. Under BOAC reminds me of Bucephalus Bouncing Ball, Corc's synths are remeniscent of To Cure a Weakling Child. And, frankly, some of these tracks bore me. 777, Fold4,Wrap5, Drane2... these must be some of my least favourite Autechre tracks. And there's one thing suspiciously missing here: atmosphere. Nothing's dark, nothing's mysterious.
Now, on to the good stuff. Whilst I feel it's quite an incohesive album, some of my favourite Booth and Brown moments are on here. Acroyear 2, a blippy, fragmented computer game soundtrack, Rae, with its stunningly beautiful synths emerging from a cacophony of breakbeats, the creepy and amusing Melve. The stand-out, as many will have you know, is Arch Carrier, with it's sinister gangsta-style strings and blippy beats.
I'm sure you'll get a hundred people telling you to get this for everyone one telling you not to, so take it as an antidote. Overall, I find the album too patchy to stand up to their other works.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2013 7:59 PM GMT

Chiastic Slide
Chiastic Slide
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £7.67

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The turning point., 7 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Chiastic Slide (Audio CD)
From what I've read, this album was recieved by an amount of shock when it was released. "Unlistenable!" "Too experimental" and so on. Maybe it's because I was listening to Merzbow before I even got into Ae, but I never thought this was that out there. That said, it's definitely a move on from Tri Repetae. Whilst all the mechanical beats and clangs of Tri Repetae are there, this time they've been mangled into more complex rhythms, strange time signatures and beats that are impossible to follow (I never have a clue what's going on when Ciapter changes from 4/4 into 3/4 half way through).
There's something that stops me liking the album as much as its predecessor. I think it might be lacking in mood points. It's not as overly cold, and uses far less reverb and soft sounds for that lonely feeling Tri Repetae gives me. In this case, the paranoia of before has been exchanged for white noise and random crunches here. It sounds a lot rougher than their earlier albums. The melodies, too, are becoming increasingly sparse. Whilst 'Cichli' is awash with lush strings, most tracks are more similar to its contrasting followup track, Hub, a mixture of crunchy, scrapy beats backed with a soft, dischordant synth that doesn't really make its presence known until half way through. Recury is a popular track, and one of my personal favourites too. An ever onwards moving hip-hop beat becomes increasinly soaked in cello-like abstract synths, reverbed yelps and strange background grinding noises that sound like the track was recorded next to an industrial factory.
Unless you're into noisey and experimental IDM type stuff (in which case, you probably have this anyway), I'd recommend being familiar with what came before Chiastic Slide before diving in. It's worthwhile, but you'll learn to love it far faster if you've got an idea of what to expect.

Tomb Raider 3: The Lost Artifact (PC)
Tomb Raider 3: The Lost Artifact (PC)

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My least favourite Tomb Raider., 7 Oct. 2003
I have all six now, and this is the one I never feel in the mood to come back to.
For those who don't want any spoiling: don't read ahead (although I think this is fair of all game reviews).
My first gripe is the story. Due to the nature of the game (choose the middle three 'zones' in your own order), there's no place to fill you in between zones. So the storyline, for sixteen levels, stays the same. You're picking up some artifacts and giving them to a bloke. Only then, three levels from the end, do you actually find out what's going on.
Over the six games, Tomb Raider has its fair share of over the top enemies, ridiculous storylines etc, but this one does have to take the biscuit. Maybe if they introduced it as the game went along, as with 1, 2, Last Revelation and Angel of Darkness, it'd be more believable. Still, every time I think about it I wonder what the writers were thinking.
Then there's the small matter of level difficulty. Now, I'm all for a challenge. If I wasn't, there's no way I'd be playing any Tomb Raider games. But putting Temple Ruins, one of the hardest levels in the game, if not any TR game, as the second level (after the stupidly simple Jungle) is ridiculous. Again, this is due to the zone-mixing thing. The levels couldn't get increasingly harder as the game goes along, as there's no set order, so the hard levels are plonked in higgledy-piggledy throughout the game.
Both of these things make it feel very, very disjointed. That, along with the fact that some of my all time least favourite levels are here (Madubu Gorge, Lost City of Tinnos), make it easily my least favourite Tomb Raider.
Of course, it has its graces. The gameplay is as delightful as the others (with the exception of Angel of Darkness), the graphics are beautiful, and some of the levels are among my TR favourites (Aldwych and Crash Site the two that spring to mind).
A lot of fans seem to love this game, so perhaps it's worth trying. Who knows? Personally, I'll probably not play it from start to finish again.

Tri Repetae
Tri Repetae

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Try repeating., 7 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Tri Repetae (Audio CD)
Oooh, a pun title. It's me that's repeating, though, because, as other reviewers have said, the album is a wonderful contrast between beautiful ambience and metallic, mechanical beats.
Whether this album is as cold or atmospheric as Amber is a fine line. Whilst the previous album relied on sweeping synths, the effect is produced here by its metallic feel. It's not all robots and big machines, but it does give the impression of a distinct lack of human contact. Most of the drum sounds throughout the album sound as if they're recorded from people hitting and scraping pieces of metal. The beats are far slower than on any other AE release, I believe, and this gives it the chugging, machine-like nature.
The synths and melodies are far more abstract that anything the boys had done previously. It's harder to hum along with anything here. This gives it a kind of lonely feeling, which is something I actually really like in it.
This album was the interim. It mixed the accessability and obvious rhythms of the earlier albums with the less melodic more mechanical nature of the later ones. Were I to recommend any album to introduce someone to AE, this would be the one I'd choose. From here on you can pick which direction you'd like to go in.
Standout tracks: Dael, the opener. Constantly moving, subtley changing throughout. Stud, a very dark, mysterious epic, with hi frequency clicking beats. Eutow, a cascade of square synths and the only track I liked on first listen. Overand. Long, very subtle ambient. Reminds my of Aphex's Selected Ambient Works II.
One of my favourite Autechre albums, second only to Amber.


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amber... what to say?, 7 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Amber (Audio CD)
One of my favourite electronic albums, were I to try and seperate everything by genre. This album builds on the ideas of Incunabula, but irons out both its predecessor's faults: the sounds used here don't sound anywhere near as cheap or dated as Incunabula, and the songs are all perfect length. Nothing drags on, nothing pulls out too early.
Now, these things are good. The structure of a good album is there. Luckily, Amber provides the content, as well. By far the band's most ambient work, truly gorgeous sweeping synths wash over beats which pre-echo the complex blips and bangs of their later rhythms, but are far less intrusive, and complement the synths perfectly.
As with Incunabula, this is definitely a mood album. Each piece adds something to the very cold, mysterious atmosphere the previous has made. Whether it's a lonely mountaintop, a mysterious spacescape or the silhouette of a motorway leading to an industrial city (the moment I knew I loved this album was listening on the train to London one evening), its existence conjours something cold.
Luckily, each track stands up on its own as well as being part of the album. Particular standouts include the incredibly subtle Yulquen, the hypnotic symphony of Silverside, and most of all, Piezo, a track which captures the whole album in its nine minute run from fast beats to freezing synthscapes. The piece is amongst my favourite songs ever, and quite rightly so.
I'm hoping one day, Booth and Brown will match the heights of this album. They're never going to do anything that sounds like it, but maybe they'll do something as strong and enjoyable. For now, I'll keep this, with Tri Repetae a very close second.

Offered by westworld-
Price: £14.98

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilled and melodic debut from Autechre., 7 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Incunabula (Audio CD)
I'm not sure why some people insist on seperating the two eras of Autechre so much. Yes, the difference is obvious. But so many times I've seen people insist if you like the early stuff, you'll hate the later work, and vice versa. Personally I really like this album, as much as Draft 7.30.
The two downsides of the album are thus:
1. Yes, as other people have mentioned, some of the sounds are quite cheap. No, not Casio-cheap, but lots of the clap percussion and layers of hi-hats sound suspiciously like General MIDI. The synths squelch all over the place, too, like Rob and Sean have just found the resonance knob.
2. It drags a bit. With over half of the tracks being more than six and a half minutes, most of them could do with shortening. It's just a small thing, but I rarely find myself getting all the way through Doctrine or Lowride.
Now they're the things you need to bear in mind. However, the up-sides of the album include:
1. Atmosphere. Think Aphex's Selected Ambient Works 85-92, FSOL's early radio broadcasts, or even their Lifeforms album in places. It's music that sucks you in and leaves your brain elsewhere, to spew a cliché. Whether it's the reverb all over the synths, the soft sounds of them or the melodies themselves, I don't really know, but the whole album is very moody and atmospheric.
2. Easy going. You can put it on, chill to it, even hum along with some of the melodies. Something possible with few other AE releases, or indeed few other releases on Warp (especially with some of the stuff the label's putting out at the moment).
3. Kalpol Introl, Bike, Eggshell, 444. These four track are truly sublime. Some of the band's most ambient work (especially the first), and certainly some of the most beautiful melodies they've created.
If you like complex, ever changing IDM-me-do hard hitting stuff, stay away from this and go with anything the band's done since Tri Repetae. If you're a completist of the band, or fancy an introduction, or just want some easy going electronica that has more substance than the latest chill-out compilation, then you could do a lot worse than Incunabula.

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