Simply put, Autechre are a remarkable duo. As if the release of the monolithic elseq 1-5 wasn’t enough two years ago, they trump that with a daunting eight hours of material, divided into four NTS Sessions. Yet as with elseq, fans – and newcomers – will find that the effort they put in is reflected and built on by music that continues to give. Once again there is a remarkable variety within these pieces of music, which range from confrontational to oddly soothing. The ‘oddly soothing’ music often has a caveat, with a sense of unease often present around the edges, but if you head for the fourth set of sessions you will be confronted with the massive ‘all end’, an hour-long piece that achieves an incredible, almost euphoric ambience, like being suspended inside a thundercloud. Elsewhere the duo use their obtuse beat making to create unusual breaks and lopsided tracks that begin to make more sense as you listen to them more – but they still challenge, stimulate and sometimes exert an odd charm. Even after several weeks living with this music it still feels quite early in the reception period, so thoughts may change along the way – but rest assured, NTS Sessions shows all signs of being up there with Autechre’s very best work.
Ben Hogwood
5 out of 5