Autechre: LP5 (1998, Warp)
At a time when I’ve been scrambling to get as much quality 2014 release listening in as possible lately (working on my year-end round-up, due to run here soon!), it’s nice to break away and visit some of the albums that really made a lasting impression on me. Autechre’s LP5 from 1998 was their first album I’d really heard since Tri Repetae, and even that was one I’d never properly picked up; I still tended to associate Autechre with their earliest Artificial Intelligence material. LP5 feels like something entirely different and new compared to anything that preceded. There are references to the melancholy pads and musicality of their previous few albums, but absolutely none of the more typical fare that graced their debut. Instead their sights are firmly on the future — tracks like “Fold4, Wrap5” and “VoseIn” still sound incredible to my ears, strangely alien but not unapproachable. Add to it that LP5 was one of a few albums that got a domestic US release by Trent Reznor’s short-lived Nothing imprint and it’s an unlikely candidate to be one of the only casually affordable albums of theirs at the time of release. And yet what a marvelous first impression it ought to have made — LP5 still sounds fresh over 15 years later.