When Autechre came on the scene in the mid-90s, it felt like the electronic duo had invented an entirely new musical language. In the years since, their releases have been fairly consistent in quality, but their impact diminished as the shock of the new wore off. Is experimental music still experimental if we already know what it's going to do? And is it fair to wish Autechre could still blow our minds the way they once did?
Not that they haven't grown as artists. The influence of avant-garde jazz is more prominent on Exai, and you can hear discreet little references to contemporary dance-floor trends mixed in with the slippery deconstructed beats and wobbly drones. Even after all this time, they still find small ways to surprise. However, Exai is their longest album yet, and that two-hour duration should really have been cut in half. This much material is exhausting to make your way through, the stretches between moments of genius way too long.
Top track: Bladelores