This impressive 2-disc compilation showcases some of the most cutting edge examples of electronic listening music in the early 1990s. All contributions are of a high standard and the music still sounds fresh and innovative in 2010. Polygon Window by The Dice Man opens the first disc on an undulating, mid-tempo beat, followed by a series of sonic gems like Musicology's Telephone 529 with its spacey voice samples, the rhythmically complex Crystel by Autechre and The Clan, a semi-symphonic soundscape by I.A.O.
Some of these artists were no doubt influenced by the German pioneers like Tangerine Dream but they've evolved beyond those structures to create something quite unique. Multiple layers endow certain pieces with a profoundly cinematic quality, e. g. Spiritual High by UP! which has a trance-like texture in which different types of vocals alternate. Musicology's Preminition, on the other hand, has R&B type female vocals throughout.
On the second disc my favorites include Link's percussive Arcadian, B12's solemn Scriptures, Autechre's quirky Chatter, Beaumont Hannant's bubbling & percolating Utuba, former Cabaret Voltaire member Richard H Kirk's plinking, plonking & lilting Reality Net and Seefeel's chiming & echoing Spangle which reminds me somewhat of Popol Vuh's majestic Nosferatu. In my opinion Disc 2 offers more variety and contains more memorable pieces.
These artists created striking, varied and sometimes sublime sonic sculptures. With their strangely compelling patterns and arrangements, the sounds are anything but clinical. Often applied like instruments, human voices are sparingly employed on many of the pieces. Owing to the stylistic variety I enjoy listening to this compilation in one go, something I would rarely attempt in this genre with an album by one artist. Artificial Intelligence ought to appeal to a wide spectrum of electronic music lovers - from the fans of intelligent techno to the followers of the classical avant garde.
This music was very important to me way back then (and still is). I know electronic music probably wasn't actually better in the early 90's, but it certainly seemed that way to me at this point in time. I was dicovering Black Dog, B12, Aphex Twin, Autechre, Plastikman, Underworld and Orbital. Several of these artists are still some of my favourites of all time. This was the heyday of Digeridoo, Impact (The Earth is Burning) and Cowgirl. Yeah I know, rose-tinted glasses and all that. But maybe I was at the right age at the right time to make all this seem very, very important. I discovered Derrick May, Carl Craig and many others later on, but this is the stuff of my youth. Anyway, the cd.... To be truthful I think I heard AI2 first. I was already familiar with most of the artists on this cd when I was introduced to it. Dice Man being Aphex Twin, Musicology being B12 and I.A.O. being Black Dog, I think.. It's interesting to hear how some of the artists have developed and changed over the many years. Autechre's Crystel does not resemble their more recent stuff in any shape or form, although I'd love to hear it in a club even now. Aphex Twin's changes over the years need to explanation, his Surfing on Sinewaves album remains a favourite of mine. it's represented here by the track Polygon Window. The only track I feel doesn't fit in at all is Loving You Live. Edited down from it's original 20 something minutes...what's the point? I don't think it belongs with the other music here anyway. An early ambient classic, sure. But the constant samples of birds and waves just don't do it for me anymore (and I was bored of it back then, too). So, 4 stars because of Loving You, but the rest is great. Just do yourself a favour and try to track down the original albums in this series.
This great compilation showcases some of the cutting edge artists making electronic listening music in the early 1990s. The music still sounds fresh and innovative now, especially tracks like Telephone 529 with its muted voice samples, Crystal (Autechre) and I.A.O. (The Clan). Some of these artists were no doubt influenced by Krautrock pioneers like Tangerine Dream, but they've expanded on these influences to create something quite unique. Some of the pieces are highly evocative in their multi-textured splendour, like Spiritual High by UP! and The Egg by Autechre. The sounds on Artificial Intelligence have stood the test of time very well to provide enduring listening pleasure. This one is good, but Artificial Intelligence II is even better as it contains a host of classics by artists like Autechre, B12, Link, Beaumont Hannant and Seefeel, amongst others.
This compilation stands frozen in time (like in an air bubble) in 1993, which was a wonderful year for electronic music. Around that time electronic artists were creating fantastic music, like Autechre, B12 and Black Dog on Warp, and The Orb elesewhere. It was a heyday, now sadly gone, but this compilation remains as a reminder of those times. I usually don't like compilations, so it is a sign of this compilation's quality that I rate it so highly. There isn't a bad track on here. If you like Warp, or IDM, or electronica or have the barest liking of electronic music, you really need to own this CD. The cover art is even magical, everything about this compilation has an air of quality and magic about it. They sure don't make them like this no more!
This compilation has been massively influential across the electronic board, whether directly or filtered through x amount of other artists. What's more, it still makes for a decent listen now; the excitement of innovation is clearly not quite as great some years on, but all the tunes here are very well crafted, and soaked in steely emotion.