Autechre, SIGN, Warp | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, January 18th, 2021  




Dec 02, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

After over three decades of making music together, British electronic duo Autechre (comprised of Rob Brown and Sean Booth) show no signs of slowing down any time soon. Releasing two new albums within a span of one month, Brown and Booth pick up where they left off on their previous record, the expansive NTS Sessions 1-4 from 2018. SIGN (the predecessor to their most recent LP PLUS, which was released a mere 12 days after it) continues the duo’s deep dive into creating all-encompassing ambient soundscapes, occasionally juxtaposed with the harsh and relentless electronic textures and rhythms that have come to define them.

SIGN is at its best when emotion is to be found just underneath the seemingly inhuman coldness of Autechre’s signature brand of haywire electronic skronk. The album’s opener, “M4 Lema,” begins with sporadic squelches of metallic-sounding noise before a succession of ethereal and bright synth tones begin to erupt amidst the clamor, sonically resembling a piece of machinery being brought to life. The mournful “Metaz form8” features icy walls of ever-oscillating buzzing which are pierced by a melancholic and haunting synth melody that permeates the song, making it among the most emotional pieces of music ever created by Autechre.

With SIGN, Autechre continue to create paradoxical soundscapes that can be simultaneously chaotic and ethereal, harsh and euphoric, mechanical and biological. Sonic atmospheres that are cold and robotic achieve the volatility and ephemeral nature of a living organism. Whether it be the lulling and spacey ambience of what sounds like video game loading music or the piercing shrieks of industrial noise, one can count on Autechre to find a beating heart within it. (

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