Tuesday 27 July 2021


Running through the list to make some selections for the upcoming BC Friday, there are some definite ones on there but as I've mentioned in previous posts a lot of them are things I said I would pick up 'soon' a decade ago. Still there's been some interesting developments along the way, I've picked out some that are of a similar school of sound, even if I don't end up getting them *this* BC Friday. Join me on this particularly IDM-ish instalment of things I'm looking at.
Thought I'd start off with Abfahrt Hinwil, the duo behind the Toytronic label. Toytronic has been a great source of IDM and ambient for me over the years, but to my shame I never actually got around to picking up the main release from the two, the equally difficult to spell Links Berge Rechts Seen. Which is a shame really as it's the album that set me off on that journey all those years ago after like so many other finds in my library it cropped up on Grooveshark of all places - I was supremely into anything IDM I could get my hands on then, and with artwork that is very evocative of Autechre's Amber (as seen above!) and that distinct Designer's Republic-esque hi-tech flair, it ticked all my boxes.

The intro track 'Bumperstufe2' is typically IDM, from its title down to the actual production on show. If you'r familiar with the genre at all you will find it fairly standard (though I admit perhaps it's just the sheer amount of the genre I've heard over the years) That's not a mark against it by any means though - my love of this sound is well documented after all. By the time of the compilation's original release in 2002 the other big name IDM artists were moving on to more intense versions of their sounds, so having this slightly Artificial Intelligence era style sound kicking around is lovely for me - the breakdown at 1:40 is a divine encapsulation of exactly what I mean. Beautiful stuff.

Speaking of moving on to more intense versions of their sounds - Autechre next. I've mentioned many times over the years that they kind of lose me with the direction they take after Tri Repetae, focusing more on the more magled techy sound without the contrasting almost organic melodies of before. It's potentially one of the hottest electronic music takes I have, Chiastic Slide is OK and all, but it doesn't resonate with me like Clipper from Tri Repetae does for example, and I've never really been able to get into anything after that unfortunatley. Not to say I don't admire what Autechre have done as a group though, they've been at it for a good 30 years now, the stuff they were making is crazy complex for the times it was released in a lot of the time, and in recent years have reliably dropped album(s) every year or so which takes some doing.

And that's not to say I don't dip my toe in every now and then: Altibzz, the opening track for Quaristice is lovely and there are a few tracks from after Tri Repetae that I do like a whole lot too. Enter Yeesland, a great demonstrator of that hyper-mechanical direction they started to take around this time. Yeesland still has that melodic streak that keeps me interested and the introduction of that lovely synth pulse around 1:38 gives the track that contrast that I loved so much about earlier Autechre. I'll still keep trying to explore their later work every now and then, but even just exploring the shallows there are plenty of releases to get stuck into. I'm an outlier in that their early sound might still be my favourite though - the recent release of those late 80's / early 90's demo tapes was a real treat for me.

And finally, some straight up techno stuff from Richie Hawtin under the F.U.S.E. alias again. It's nice to see him working under that name again, I had perhaps rather cynically assumed it was just going to be a one off revival for the 25th anniversary of Dimension Intrusion and it's new companion album (though oddly in places this release is credited to both Richie Hawtin and F.U.S.E. so it might be that his Brother has taken up the name? It's just credited to Hawtin on Bandcamp to muddy the waters further.) At any rate, it's quite a bit different from the F.U.S.E. of old, but not a million miles removed - Dimension Intrusion was one of the Warp Artificial Intelligence albums and so had plenty of that brand of ambient-ish techno on show, albeit with a bit of a minimal edge in parts as you'd expect given Hawtin's other work)

But nestled between things like the cascading arpeggios of title track and the delicate ambience of Nitedrive there were tracks that were much heavier beasts. Tracks like Substance Abuse and Train-trac come to mind - these tracks stand out just because they're so different from the main body of the album and perhaps feel a little out of place (and in fact Train-trac was taken off the anniversary re-issue), but the tracks aren't bad - Hawtin is right at home in either mode. Enter Syntax, part one of which is an acid drenched experience that is expertly crafted with peaks and valleys. I have in the past critiqued Hawtin's more minimal work but here I think there is a nice balance, just when I find myself getting tired of a section, in drops something to keep it fresh - and I'm a total sucker for that extended outro where everything slows to a crawl and the arpeggios get stretched out to their base components. Recently I was thinking I might be a bit bored of 303 stuff but this one has certainly made me eat those words a bit.

And that'll do it for this time, it's been nice to mix things up a little bit, think it's been a while since I went on an IDM trip like this! Got a bit heavier on the text front this time than I iamagine when I started, but it's been a little while too so I can give myself a bit of leeway I suppose. I'll be back soon enough with more but until then - as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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