AUTECHRE – Drane (from the Peel Session disc, recorded 13 Oct 95)

The track itself is a 10+ minute expanse of typical twittering Autechre percussion and childlike melody, progressively more and more overcome by a slightly watery, buzzing drone. But since it’s Autechre, that doesn’t really do it justice – you’ll have to listen yourself. Suffice it to say it’s good stuff if you like trippy minimalistic freaky alien machine techno.

This review, if you could call it that, is really a stepping-off point for some broader musing. This track, along with the other two (“Milk DX” and “Inhake 2”) from its album, is claimed to be live somehow, in that it was recorded in real time on John Peel’s radio show.

Problem is, I’m not sure if I can tell the difference. This being electronic music, the easy-to-spot cues from “more human” music are absent: quicker tempos, missed notes, less-polished sound, etc. Furthermore, the music is typical for Autechre in the way that it leisurely develops, in true minimalist fashion, one or two ideas over the course of a ten minute track. Development like that is easy to reproduce “live,” I suspect, simply because you’ve got the time.

So for me this is a thorny one: it seems as if whether or not we’re to take “Drane” as “live” Autechre comes totally down to authorial intention. What would my English professor think? And more importantly, given that I can’t tell the difference, is there any worthwhile distinction between “live” and Memorex?