Ian Fenton + Mixlr
|Sasha Frere-Jones||Apr 16, 2020|
Today, a transmission from Ian Fenton of the frozen reeds label. Take it away, Ian.
Way back on lockdown day five, I suffered a huge shock to the system. My day job looked set to evaporate, and more or less has since. Within hours of absorbing the news, my favorite musical act began streaming tunes on Mixlr. A few short breaks aside—one of which involved the official release of eight hours of live recordings—this continued for several weeks.
Autechre being Autechre, this broadcast has involved a great deal of early hip-hop and electro. It has involved hours of classic and obscure electronic music of a more institutional bent. It has involved hours of great, under-heard tunes by their friends and acquaintances.
It has involved introducing the fanbase (narrowly embodied by a bunch of garrulous characters in the Mixlr chat) to some less familiar acts such as MDK, Kindohm, and the mighty SDEM. The latter promptly stuck the hitherto unreleased tracks of his which had hit the stream up on Bandcamp. A better three pounds you will not spend.
There have been a few playbacks of entire albums, including The Residents’ Not Available, which came across far better than I remember it; Trout Mask Replica; the bonus live disc from that recent huge Tangerine Dream box; and a good chunk of Parmegiani’s De Natura Sonorum.
In some ways, the whole experience has resembled an online, self-quarantined version of the ATP festival Autechre curated in 2003, an event seemingly everyone I know attended. I can’t say that being glued to the stream almost constantly has done a lot for my productivity, but it has helped me to keep my head together in somewhat grim circumstances.
And one final shout: streamed during an afternoon of old 80s radio mixes, a big discovery for me personally was Paul Mulhearn’s Best of 1986 mix, which you can listen to and read the heartbreaking story of here.
Thank you, Ian.
A Redditor upload a bundle of Autechre tracks that have appeared only on compilations; and this ad hoc set is described, vaguely, in a Reddit post. I can’t speak to the legality of this but I am a huge fan of this music. The first two tracks, from the 1992 Warp collection, Artificial Intelligence, are the first Autechre songs I heard. They’re dance music, and a lot of it is “normal,” and then comes the mid-to-late Autechre, which isn’t.