100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #75 Autechre – 444

Released : 1993

Like many of their contemporaries, Rob Brown and Sean Booth started out in the northern graffiti and B-Boy scenes of the mid to late 80’s. Part of a loose movement of like minds which initially were cool on house music, they preferred instead nascent hip-hop, creating home made mix tapes and electronic patches which at that point didn’t seem to have a natural home.

Similarly, it was acid house, built on the cheap and by then almost obsolescent Roland drum and bass synthesisers that began to usher in experimentation and an aural space which was designed to be far more immersive and deep than it’s overground rivals. Brown and Booth’s first release as Autechre was 1991’s Lego Feet, it subsequently gaining the attention of Sheffield’s boldly experimental Warp label.

Neither Autechre – or Warp – created the much despised “Intelligent Dance Music” handle which the latter came to be closely identified with, but their Artificial Intelligence series of releases, which also featured the likes of Aphex Twin and Richie Hawtin anchored it in critical terms. Autechre’s debut Incunabula was in fact a compilation made from tapes which Booth and Brown had been sending in to Warp over several months (Much to their chagrin), and 444 closed it, a dream-filled, dawn watching cluster of hypnosis-as-techno, a come down journey with skeletal beats and ghostly synth washes. For listening, a PhD was optional – but an imagination was essential.

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