By chance I was listening to Mantronix’ second full length Music Madness the same day as I got Autechre’s ten tracks strong Move Of Ten from Soulseek (sorry Sean & Rob, your fans are broke).
I recall the Brits naming producer Kurtis Mantronik as one of their biggest inspirations when starting out. Listening to each artist’s oeuvre without context it might be difficult to connect the dots. But it’s really the same work, the same attitude, continued. Both stick to the harsh percussion, the sharp edits, the heavily processed sounds, the same adventurous spirit.
Mantronik was one of the few producers in the hiphop scene who was actually concerned with constantly updating the electro formula. On Music Madness he has harmonica and big band jazz samples. In 1986, that is. And while the kicks and snares are as unmerciful as ever, he also reaches towards a more structured, arranged, refined electro thing.
An image that often gets into my head when Autechre is pumped into my ears: the same nameless dude messing around with a drum machine, but fed through a constantly arriving stream of new formulas. It’s all about the studio wizardry, the studio as space shuttle travelling towards sonic landscapes never before seen.
You might say there is a certain romantic pop sensibility in most of the Mantronix catalog. But a track like nth Defuseder.n, with its driving beat and grand atmosphere, is defined by a similar thirst for beauty. It’s all about reaching that next level. New visions in sounds. Autechre stay true to their b-boy roots.