You probably already know which side of the Autechre fence you sit on before I even get started on this review. Either you’re in rapt appreciation of the complex, constantly shifting micro-structures in their music, or otherwise you find them frustratingly impenetrable. Admittedly, the UK duo have often seemed wilfully ‘difficult’s in the past, with 2001’s ‘Confield’ and its predecessor ‘Draft 7.30’ ushering in a period of extreme austerity and cerebral exercises that were often more interesting to contemplate than actually listen to. In recent years though Autechre have been going through something of a purple patch, with 2010’s stunning ‘Oversteps’ album reintroducing some of the warmest and most approachable music had fashioned in some time, before the sprawling ‘Exai’ took things slightly further out into the dark earlier this year.
As hinted at by the similar sleeve art, this latest EP ‘L-Event’s offers a companion piece to the main ‘Exai’ set, but it’s a considerably different beast, one that’s far more sharp-edged and contorted. Crushed metallic tones re-emerge as a motif continually here, with the hyper-dense ‘Tac Lacora’ offering up one of most headscrambling compositions Autechre have done since ‘Gantz Graf’, as serrated webs of noise rush in seemingly every direction at once. That said, there’s still comparatively gentler and more approachable moments to be found amidst these four tracks. ‘M39 Diffain’ sends vaguely funky robotic bass tones bouncing against halftempo arrhythmic beats that suggest ultra-deconstructed hiphop, while elsewhere ‘Newbound’ ventures out into optimistic sounding crystalline synthscapes, though there’s still a sense of lurking menace in the background amidst a forest of restless bass rumbles and laser-like textures. If you’re an Autechre fan, you probably need this.