Exai

  • Record Label: Warp
  • Release Date: Mar 5, 2013
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
Buy On
  1. Mar 4, 2013
    80
    The album could have been pared down a bit, yet it's a drop in a bucket for Booth and Brown. Prior to this, their discography clocked in at 18 hours or so. What's another two hours?
  2. Mar 7, 2013
    90
    While it still remains potentially unwieldy and awkward for a casual listener, it brings an order of chaos to a chaotic sound, representing the best of all Autechre’s work in a cohesive distillation. For devotees who are willing to gaze into the digital abyss, Exai holds unfathomable depths.
  3. Uncut
    Mar 1, 2013
    80
    This two-hour epic very occasionally rests on its laurels by using sounds from past palettes, but is characteristically rich and adventurous. [Apr 2013, p.67]
  4. Mojo
    Mar 7, 2013
    80
    150 minutes of challenging, organic electronica. [Apr 2013, p.95]
  5. Mar 5, 2013
    70
    It's one of those hard to grasp music forms--listen to it on headphones and the acuity of it improves, listen to it on speakers and another side is revealed.
  6. Under The Radar
    Mar 22, 2013
    65
    It's a challenging record. [Mar-Apr 2013, p.97]
  7. Mar 1, 2013
    90
    Exai shows they still occupy a special position in the current generation of forward-thinkers, producing music that couldn’t have been made at any other time other than now, unostentatiously trailblazing a path for others to follow in.
  8. Mar 5, 2013
    70
    They may no longer be cutting edge (who is these days?), but Autechre's intricately psychedelic pieces are still chock-full of detail, intrigue, wit, intensity and poise.
  9. Mar 4, 2013
    80
    Exai represents a career-spanning work, one that encapsulates almost every phase of their evolving aesthetic, and whether you're a fan of their early work or their recent output, it stands as a remarkable synthesis that coheres only through the deftness of its sonic architects.
  10. Magnet
    Mar 15, 2013
    95
    Autechre's are notions are studied as they are transportive and on Exai, the duo fairly dares us not to lose ourselves. [No. 96, p.53]
  11. 75
    Exai operates within a comfort zone--one that’s dazzling, but given the sheer length of this thing, also far from easy to stomach as a whole.
  12. Feb 27, 2013
    90
    The two hours of Exai is something else. This is Autechre operating at their highest level since 1998’s LP5.
  13. Mar 4, 2013
    80
    As a body of music Exai lividly pulses, possessed by a half-life of disturbing magnitude.
  14. Mar 26, 2013
    62
    Listening to the record as a whole is sort of like meandering through an exhibit of miniature, spasming wire sculptures.
  15. The Wire
    Feb 28, 2013
    80
    With Exai they've created a work which reveals renewed faith in their own identity and which should act as compass in years to come. [Mar 2013, p.57]
  16. Feb 27, 2013
    80
    Fans certainly won't be bowled over by the innovation on offer, but as a refinement of their sound it is the ne plus ultra Autechre album, honed and executed to perfection with only a few drifty moments that suggest it could have been cut down to a single LP.
  17. Jun 4, 2013
    80
    Longtime fans will be pleased to hear that not all of Exai is a mature, intellectual exploration of the possibilities of electronic music.
  18. A tangled and glorious mess of aggressive glitches and clipped synths and stuttering beats and hints, shadows, and fragments of tunefulness.
  19. Mar 7, 2013
    70
    For those of us in between, it's like that aforementioned jigsaw puzzle: confounding, occasionally satisfying, and forever keeping you guessing as to what image its shapes are trying to form.
  20. Feb 27, 2013
    70
    Booth and Brown are old hands these days, their territory firmly staked out. It’s gratifying to see, if only briefly, that they haven’t lost the element of surprise.
  21. Mar 5, 2013
    80
    As always, it's a lot to take in; even after a dozen listens, the album's too oblique to really register in the memory. That slipperiness does nothing to diminish the moments when things really stick, though.
  22. Mar 8, 2013
    80
    Not always easy, but definitely worth it.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 29 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Sep 27, 2013
    9
    Review? No, just some words about this highly detailed, heavy and amazing album by Ae.

    When i first listened to this album, i wasn't able
    Review? No, just some words about this highly detailed, heavy and amazing album by Ae.

    When i first listened to this album, i wasn't able to hear some kind of coherent object or concept. But after a couple of runs, i found this "red thread" in the core of the sounds and the feel they bring. The design is just amazing. Brilliantly taking the listener to another world. I was always a big Confield fan. And still are, but this album is already taking over that place...it took Confield 1 year to get at that place.

    Exai is not only great to listen from beginning to end, but also, because it contains 2 CD's, as a 2 part album. The 2 parts have their own feel and drive.

    Some, IMHO, stand-out tracks are Irlite (Get 0), Prac-F, Bladelores, Nodezsh, Spl9 and Cloudline. My fav Ae track is still Lentic Catachresis though.
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 18, 2016
    10
    Why a 10? Without apology, but understanding that beauty is in the eye of the beholder;
    Completely ahead if it's time, this 2013 release came
    Why a 10? Without apology, but understanding that beauty is in the eye of the beholder;
    Completely ahead if it's time, this 2013 release came at a defunct dry spell in music. At the time, it was the only release that shouted freedom from norms - and still does - loudly, quietly, and tastefully.
    Verging on some of the weirdest and most experimental Autechre albums, it does so in a highly digestible way. It has a strange feature that the more one attempts to decipher the music, the more elusive and enigmatic it becomes. A beat goes on for a while, one's brain accepts it, and then one realizes that it has been brought down into the newest of places, all the while bobbing their head. Impossibly combined sounds are made possible, beats are morphed without one realizing until minutes later, and arrangements pull one around in ways only few musicians can pull off - needledrop any song on this album and it will be apparent. Also a deeply soulful and yes emotional album, this one is for the years to come. Probably the best Autechre to date. Of course, it may be intolerably challenging for some sensibilities, but so is top 40 to most of us.
    Comparable albums, oddly enough, other than all the other obvious ones; Hello Nasty by the Beastie Boys and Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder. They both have that hidden incredible ingenuity, that manner of luring the listener into some incredible headspaces.
    Thanks Rob and Sean - you guys killed it.
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 16, 2013
    7
    An enjoyable album for most IDM or experimental fans. I'm not the biggest Autechre fan but I can appreciate them for their textured andAn enjoyable album for most IDM or experimental fans. I'm not the biggest Autechre fan but I can appreciate them for their textured and complex rhythms, mixed with some of the craziest patterns I've ever heard. If you're not heavily into IDM or Autechre I suggest you start else where, it can be a bit overwhelming for those new. Full Review »