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Amber

Amber

7 Nov 1994
4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Amber
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
To my mind, 'Amber' stands alone as one of those rare works which sounds utterly unlike anything else anywhere; Autechre themselves have not since produced anything else to match it for sheer emotive ability or grace.
This album, with its crystalline sounds and delicate layering, manages to express spaces which cannot exist in the 'Real World'(?) with an extraordinary lucidity, a dream brightness... There are moments when emotions are communicated and experienced which have no definable place in daily life; despite its age this music is still some of the most genuinely futuristic that I have ever heard.
Favorite moment: in track 6, 'piezo', when the bizarre and previously slightly annoying rhythm carries the listener into a vast, warm, burnished machine-jungle twilight and suddenly tesselates, makes sense as a part of the whole... something between melancholy and trancendence.
If all this sounds overblown, then try these two words.(They've been used before, but they're true):
Alien. Beautiful.
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Format: Audio CD
Amber' is a remarkably atmospheric record - pure electronica with a cold, programmed, robotic feel which is nevertheless eerily compelling.

The opening track `Foil' sets the scene superbly. Mechanical pulsing drones are overlaid with unconventional bursts of sound and percussion to create an unlikely but effective melody.

There is beauty too on this record - `Silverside' features glacial synth washes sweeping over heavily-treated babbling vocal effects and harsh mechanical beats. The track ends with a lovely synth flourish. The following track, `Slip' has almost perky beats and frolicking percussion.

But the over-riding feeling to the record is of a robotic dystopia which conjures up `Blade Runner' style visions. The sound is cold: `Further' is driven by dripping sounds which could be melting glaciers, but `Amber' is haunting and really gets under your skin. The strong closing track `Teartear' is brutal and menacing and sounds like a legion of battle robots on the march. Overall, it sounds hard to believe that this record wasn't made entirely by machines and that is a compliment to how well its atmosphere works.

My only criticism would be the length. At 74 minutes `Amber' is too long and its slight lack of variety shows through. Even so, I like it very much.
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Format: 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.
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Format: Audio CD
Ambient music at its very very best. This has to be one of my very favourite all time albums and ranks alongside Harold Budd/Brian Eno's The Pearl in terms of subtlety, delicacy and beauty. On the whole, Autechre make music that appeals to a warped sense of intellectualism - being rather cold and industrial. This album is the one album in their canon that bucks the trend. This album is full of emotion and sparkle. Lovely.
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By 77 on 25 Feb. 2008
Format: Audio CD
"Slip" is easily one of the greatest songs ever devised by humans; a triumphant, lethargic stab at contentment, with one of the most effective melodies you'll ever hear. It's a timeless, genreless track that not only sounds unique in the Autechre discography, but is practically a genre in itself. When I listen to it now, memories of a holiday I went on two years ago flash back with force, as I would listen to it obsessively back then; several times a day, just basking in the sun (I live in England, just so you understand the novelty factor) and trying to focus my attention on just one of the layers that make up this song, but always failing as it flooded my mind with its aimless perfection.

The rest of it? Man, there's just no way I can evaluate it fairly. It was the opening, claustrophobic synth of "Foil" that put me off this album for so long; it was rare, during those halcyon days, that I would dare venture past that opener. The raindrops that announce the entrance of "Further" always amazed and confused me whilst walking down dry, dusty Portuguese streets, as it contrasted completely with my surroundings by giving the impression of being in a forgotten cave with water falling from the ceiling. Well, until the roller coaster screams demolish any chance of you have of forming a clear mental picture, that is. And that's just where Amber succeeds; for such visual music, your mind rarely gets the chance to settle, producing a dream-like effect of various images and senses flashing before you, constantly out the reach of tangibility. I think I may have synesthesia, come to think of it. Nothing imposes itself on the listener here, so you're on own.
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