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Exai [VINYL] Box set

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Features

  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging

Product details

  • Vinyl (4 Mar. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: WARP.
  • ASIN: B00AU1A3OC
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,289 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

BBC Review

As Autechre, Sean Booth and Rob Brown have produced some of the best electronic music of the past 20 years. Characterised from the beginning by gloom and intricacy, their sound has grown more complex and austere over time.

But while they leave barely a single tone unsplintered, or beat unglitched, Autechre’s project isn’t solely an academic one: their sound has always oscillated between the abstract and the direct. Its roots lie in the modernist collage of hip hop, and the early morning, transcendental energies of warehouse rave.

In recent years Autechre have become victims of an impeccable reputation and regular release schedule: a steady stream of good and sometimes great albums since 1993 doesn’t generate the kudos of the comeback.

But while 2010’s Oversteps and Move of Ten were both engaging, the two hours of Exai is something else. This is Autechre operating at their highest level since 1998’s LP5.

Opener FLeure is effectively a false start: a spindly, arrhythmic take on drum and bass that’s closer to the aggressive experimentation of the Confield to Untitled period than anything else here.

Exai is often abrasive and fidgety. The whines and nervous beat clusters of tuinorizn sketch a paralysing unease; nausea bubbles up from the gastrointestinal croaks of Flep, a breakbeat-powered track that’s sick in both senses.

Balance is provided by some of the most gorgeous tracks Autechre have ever produced. The metallic arpeggios and hypnotic washes of jatevee C channel the shimmer of Detroit techno at its most optimistic. Closer YJY UX gestures back to the unearthly solemnity of the Amber era.

Given the confidence Booth and Brown display in revisiting previous styles with fresh and intense purpose, it’s tempting to see Exai as the first chapter of late-period Autechre, where lessons learned over two decades of producing are distilled into thrilling new forms.

That’s certainly true of bladelores, a 12-minute track justly situated at the heart of the album. Having established a sense of echoing space, a surging wave of pads – that seem summoned from some Balearic collective unconscious – eventually resolves in a smear of sound that communicates an emotion Autechre have provided in spades, but never expressed so directly: joy.

--Chris Power

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I'm not a massive electronica fan but I've spent the last 12 months 'giving it a go', only to be disappointed most of the time. However Autechre's music draws me in, I'm absolutely amazed at the sounds they create. When someone plays a tune on a guitar, I get it. I understand the concept and how that works but how the hell do Autechre create their music and how do you describe it? Exai is a 2 disc, 2 hour journey to another musical solar system. Layer upon layer of multiple sounds reward the careful listener....eventually. This is my 6th Autechre album, some are easier on the ear than others. If you are new to their music I think Exia is a good place to start. Others may suggest starting with 'Ambre', a great album but doesn't prepare the listener for future exploration of their excellent music imo.
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Format: Audio CD
Sean Booth and Rob Brown aka Autechre return with their 11th album `Exai', over 2 hours of the most beautiful, complex, and uncompromising music you will listen to this year.

The palpitating `Fleure' opens the album, straight away you know its an Autechre album! A barrage of hostile beats and rhythms clash, mutate and multiply. After 3 minutes, a clearing appears and momentary headspace is allowed before blasts of digital percussion and menacing noise unsettle you only for the briefest moment before the track fades. Autechre really do know how to put you through an emotional wringer, and this is only the first track! The majestic `Irlite' follows, 10 minutes of beautifully intimidating music, almost classical in its structure, tonal shifts and moods play havoc with your ears but you can't help but be drawn in.

`Irlite' is not alone in its epic length, `Bladelores', and `Recks on' give Autechre time to weave incredibly subtle and complex compositions, and all sounding quite different. `Bladelores' is a meditative looped track which shifts gracefully along. "Recs on' uses the only `recognisable' sample on the album, an industrial-snare stomp over some delicious digital washes before changing halfway through to more buzzing, pixelated beats. Whether tracks are long or short, the quality, range and variety of the music in `Exai' is phenomenal.

Towards the end of the album, the sublime trio of `spl9′, Cloudline and `deco Loc' will simply blow your mind, each displaying rich and varied compositions, unbelievable skill in execution and just a delight to listen to. `spl9′ could be Autechre's angriest track ever.
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Format: Audio CD
This latest release from the dynamic duo points more towards their Quaristice sound but feels a lot more developed, a whopping 2hrs 32secs of mind bending digital manipulation and intense arrangements will keep any fan or electronic experimental affectionado more than engaged for a while. Although it holds no big surprises Exai is a natural evolution of Autechre's sound and proves yet again that the lads are still on top of their game.
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By ESP on 4 Mar. 2013
Format: MP3 Download
As a member of a hip-hop dance group we find Autechre to be a great source of challenging dance material. Our routine to `61e.CR' is still one of our favourites. And Autechre is still, at the end of the day, all about hip-hop, street and dance. Booth and Brown just `get' rhythm - they are just so good at it.

I'm not going to give Exai 5 stars as that would be dishonest. In my opinion it isn't perfect. So what are the negatives? Well I for one do find the track names a tad silly, and if they mean so little I'd prefer it if they had no titles at all! Also, as you might expect with 2 hours of music, there are a few areas where I felt I was listening to padding (I don't think Booth and Brown would win any prizes for editing :) ). Also, I feel that the sound-scape isn't quite as varied as say Confield, with a bit too much squidgy synthesizer at times. But that's the negative stuff out of the way. What we're left with is still something quite amazing and rewarding - if you are prepared to listen to it in the right way.

I've listened to Exai a few times now and I must say that it is up there with the best. I've even played it back-to-back with Confield, Draft 7.30 and Untilted and it seems to follow-on very nicely from those albums. Some think oversteps is in there as well, but I cannot hear it myself. With bands such as `Boards of Canada' seemingly struggling to find any creative energy at all (8 years and still waiting!), Booth and Brown can be relied upon to deliver work that is still challenging and worthwhile. And there are lots of treasures in Exai - you just have to dig for them sometimes.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ferocious and alchemical, Autechre haven't sounded this wholly invigorated and fresh for many years. At two hours plus long it's something of a curate's egg and you'd need to be slightly unhinged to attempt it all in one sitting. Maybe this is Booth & Brown's stab at their own 'Drukqs'?

As ever they use angular electronic palettes and timbres quite unlike anyone else - there's no mistaking who is making these complex, crunching, swarming soundscapes even when they tip a cursory hat to such (relatively) new kids on the block as dubstep's wobbly bass. It's as impossible to single out tracks as it is to distinguish where one ends and the next begins, when more often than not there are more ideas in one track than a whole album from a contemporary.
The album comprises of both the latter-day abstract swarms of skittering nano-bots as well as shadows of the b-boys from outer space encountered on Lego Feet, Incunabula and Gescom.

Overall this is dense, challenging, labyrinthine music quite unlike anyone else. I'll be trying to unravel its occult mysteries for the foreseeable...
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