Autechre has never exactly been know as a group that give you warm fuzzies, but on this release they pushed the harsh boundaries of their electronic music into an even more cold state. While Incunabula soothed with warm pads and lush sounds, Amber roughed up those edges ever so slightly before the musicians Booth and Brown really stripped things down and got downright jagged for this release.
One of the best parts about this release is that you not only get the 70+ minute album of Tri Repetae, but the group has also tagged on two import-only single releases in the form of a second disc (that also runs well over 70 minutes). With this release, the group has produced some of the longest running tracks they've ever done to date as well, which for some people will mean monotony, while others will simply relish the extended textures.
The opening disc starts out with a huge blast of flatulatory bass and soon the track is offset with all kinds of clicks and clanks that echo all over and make you feel like you're in the middle of a controlled machine breakdown. Really, that theme seems to run throughout the two discs, whether it's implied directly through the inside album cover art or simply in clanging, but controlled tones that comprise the discs. "Clipper" is a long track with all kinds of garbled electronic chatter and a fuzzed-out beat, but it works with the underlying rhythm that changes ever so slightly while subtle changes take place in the foreground. Some tracks do tend to drag on too long without enough of a discernable change (like "Leterel"), but perhaps that was just another point that the group was trying to make with the album. Most of the time, we still have control of the machines, but every once in awhile the machines have control of us. They also manage to lay down some amazing ambient work near the end of the disc that recalls work like Aphex Twins Selected Ambient Works Volume 2 on tracks like "Overand" (with really high-pitched tones that peak into the mix) and the electronic/digeridoo-esque sounds of "Rsdio."
The Anvil Vapre EP (the first of two contained on the second disc) starts out with the absolute classic song of "Second Bad Viibel." Not only did the track feature a video by Chris Cunningham (of "Windowlicker" and "Come To Daddy" fame), but it's nearly impossible to listen to the clunking, fuzzed-out epic without images of demented robots coming to mind. The EP also contains the amazing (and also very long) "Second Peng," which might be one of the creepier ambient/IDM tracks you ever hear (hint: turn it way up on headphones while listening in the dark). The dark, harsh sounds continue on the Garbage EP as well, and "Garbagemx36" may also find you shivering as you listen to the cold syths and creeping glitch noises that scurry along through the track.
Overall, the disc is a very solid release from the group and another one that is fairly essential in terms of the IDM genre. Because it is such a long release, it's not something that's very instantly accessible in terms of listening (I'll admit that it didn't start sinking in for me until after the second listen). Given the patience, though, one may just find that the complex structures and tracks start to grow nearly every time you listen to it (whether it's as background music or with cradled headphones as mentioned above). It's darker than the groups previous work, and a bit more harsh, but no less interesting.