You may think many things when you hear a track by Autechre. But “I could make a cover version of this” is probably not among them. This is high-order, mind-bendingly complex-sounding electronic music. Much of it seems like isn’t so much composed as it is generated.
Yet, some artists have attempted to make acoustic versions of Autechre tracks. In fact, these are pulled off magnificently, and they all add a new dimension to the originals, making me appreciate them in new ways.
Cfern — Alarm Will Sound
The first such cover I came across was by the modernist chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound, who once made an entire album of Aphex Twin covers.
Cfern was one of the first Autechre tracks I ever heard, and remains among my favourites. Alarm Will Sound’s take accentuates its jazziness. But the stand-out of the cover must be the performances of the percussionists, who faithfully replicate the intricate syncopated beats, and step up to the plate to replicate the increasingly unusual sounds towards the end. Kudos!
Cichli — Pink Freud
This Polish jazz quartet have an entire repertoire of Autechre covers. An hour-long concert of them playing nothing but Autechre tunes is available on YouTube. (The highlight of that video has to be the drummer pouring rice on his cymbals during See on See.)
Stylistically, they remind me a lot of the Norwegian group Jaga Jazzist. The music takes on a new jazzy life of its own. These are very impressive reworkings, great to listen to in their own right. If I didn’t know, I would sometimes struggle to even realise I was listening to a cover version.
Eggshell — Oix
As far as I can tell, this is just some guy on YouTube. But with an impressive solo post-rock take on Autechre’s early ambient-techno classic.
Eutow — Sonance
This drone metal cover of Eutow loses the manic euphoria of the original, but it certainly offers a new and unexpected perspective. While Autechre’s version is almost trance-like, Sonance transform it into something altogether darker.
Overand — Sunken Foal
This is the most electronic-sounding of the covers I’ve featured here. But nevertheless it apparently contains guitars and xylophone. What I like about this is that while it has a very different texture to the original, it does attempt to be sonically faithful, with pleasing results.