9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2007
Not one of the crucial releases of the genre but surely in the next category down as an interesting and indeed decent early work (1993).
Although the album is forward looking, some of the beats and hooks seem slightly arbitrary; you get the strange feeling that the album came from a time before drill n' bass had been thought up, which to an extent is true, but Aphex Twin managed grittier stuff than this the same year and earlier (See I Care Because You Do). A few of the synth sounds are also sounding dated in a slightly Soft Cell-esque sort of way which D. James managed to avoid. Put next to Autechre's later work, it sounds more downbeat and relaxed than it is perhaps supposed to.
However, it is somewhat greater than the sum of its parts; the dark yet welcoming soundscape is one which you can easily immerse yourself in from start to finish, especially in the car, and in this abstract way it almost seems to anticipate Draft 7.30.
When I first flicked through this album I was worried I'd be forever frustrated that nothing quite seems to kick in properly, but on a full length, focused listen I found this was not at all problematic, and of course if you want something that really kicks in there is plenty later on in Autechre's catalogue. Its easy to get hold of this album these days without breaking the bank, so if you're already 'in to' Autechre I suggest you go for it.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
One of their first releases, this was released as part of Warp's wonderful 'Artifical Intelligence' series.
It's the sound of Autechre before they got harsh and too robotic. What most people call 'classic Warp', this would sum it up. People say electronic music sounds too cold and distant. Sure, this album is defintely cold and distant, but conversely it's also one of the most beautiful ambient electronic albums available. Though it sounds machine-driven, it sounds beautiful. It's proof that machines make sweet music too.
On here the exquisite 'Bike' is just beautiful to listen to, and 'Basscadet' with it's clashing, stuttering beats and manic handclaps is easily proof that Autechre could make both challenging and beautiful songs in one.
My favourite Autechre album.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2003
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2003
This is one of the best albums by any Warp label artist. It doesn't require you to lock yourself away and play the album numerous times before a verdict can be made, like much Warp label material. It is an album that is easy on the ear, yet demonstrates a moody and intensely intricate quality that a lot of other electronica can only dream of, so it cannot be described as background music, unlike newer artists such as Mum and Royksopp. Much better than later albums such as Confield.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Nothing here gripped me in the same way as my two favorite Autechre tracks "Eutow" and "Chatter" but this album is on the whole, melodic and enjoyable and reminds me in parts of Beaumont Hannant's Woven Textures. Autriche with its disembodied, floating voices is very evocative, whilst Bronchus impresses too with its atmospheric buildup, something like a virtual thunderstorm. They make the most of their unusual repertoire of sounds on Incunabula to deliver perhaps their most accessible album that would be perfect for a sci-fi movie soundtrack.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2012
Well Sean and Rob themselves are known to have called this one 'cheesy'. I really can't agree with that it's marvellous. I used to have this one around '94, liked it a lot, got nicked by burglars, and I've been remembering this lil band. I recently bought Confield, Untitled and Chiastic Slide as well - and sure those are very different but terrific as well. I really want all of their albums, I already asked some people 4 some more 4 my birthday soon and I'm waiting for amazon to dispatch Amber. No really these guys are exceptional no matter what they do. This first one is maybe warmer and a bit more lush than their later ones - and i can imagine themselves they're disappointed about their early stuff but I find that a shame, it's all good. Opinions vary a hell of a lot about Autechre, across their different albums, but myself I consider them a golden combination of friendliness with inquisitiveness that always leads to calm, patient music that never gets out of line and won't never shock anybody - but it sure isnt boring or well i dont think its cheesy at all. I cant wait to see them develop a true sense of sexyness in the future and they will blow us away even more!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2004
Surfing on the wave of the Artificial Intelligence compilation, Sean Booth and Rob Brown swoop into the lime light with Incunabula, their first album under Autechre. Compared to other electronica artists of the time, Autechre already stood far from the crowd. Incunabula is a haunting and sparse echo of the future. Cliched as this sounds, hearing is believing. From the outset, 'Kalpol Intro' sets the scene with three minutes of minimal melody and a faint rhythm that brings to mind a long deserted city scape. Indeed, Incunabula his a very architectural sound to it as Autechre's killer prescision wafts over the listener.
The ambient tracks, such as 'Bike', 'Eggshell' and are filled with hollow emotion. However, dispite the sombre aspect of the booming basslines chasing the fleeting hook melodies, these tracks are filled with an indescribable serenity.
Bearing in mind that this is the vinyl format, plenty of tracks can be used for mixing. The more clubby outings on the album (although pretty much all the tracks have basslines and beats worthy of playing out), 'Bass Cadet,' and 'Doctrine' are monsters in their own right. 'Doctrine' bombards you with slaps and slices of rhythm and a driving, moving bassline. Any of the tracks on this album will produce cheers from any crowd slightly in the know.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2007
To the uneducated ears, this may sound tired and boring (i.e. if you only got into Autechre "'cos they do groovy glitchtronica") but this was groundbreaking stuff, referencing thier roots and looking to the future at the same time. If you don't like this, then sorry, you're missing out! go away and give your ears an education, then come back and relisten to this gem of an album. Chilled, funky, beatiful, stirring, emotive electronica.
Wise up sucka's
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2000
If you're a fan of Aphex Twin, FSOL, Boards of Canada etc and haven't got any Autechre then buy this now. If you're an Autechre fan and haven't got this one what are you doing? Sit back, relax and you will not be disappointed. The album will say the rest
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2001
I bought Incunabula as a fan of Warp's AI series and having particularly enjoyed much of Black Dog's output. Incunabula shows a fair amount of originality, but frankly it is only on a few tracks that they manage to make this gel into something beautiful and coherent. In particular the album is let down by careless and repetetive use of cheesy drum loops (see "Bike" for perhaps the worst of this) and a lack of momentum.
Buy the album - it's good despite my gripes - but also buy Spanners and compare.