Track of the Day: 'Montreal' by Autechre

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

From Jason in Portland, Oregon:

In regard to the current track-of-the-day prompt, one of my all-time favorite albums to work to is [English duo] Autechre’s 1994 sophomore release, Amber [available in full on YouTube]. Its minimalist-leaning electronic tracks have a hypnotic focusing effect on me. It’s so pronounced that a few songs into the album, I swear I can actually feel my brainwaves changing.

That said, since this series is about individual songs, rather than whole albums, if I had to pick one tune from Amber to put on repeat while I write, I’d probably pick the relatively dreamy, layered “Slip.” It stands out on the album as slightly more memorable than the other tracks, from the first listen, without disrupting the album’s overall effect. It was through “Slip” that I first heard of the band, and thereby found the album.

It’s a good track, but its repeating scratch-like sound was a bit distracting to my ears, so I made an executive decision to go with the second track off Amber, “Montreal.” It tends to melt more into the background while maintaining its energy. Check out both to decide your own preference, and feel free to recommend another favorite song/album for getting work done: hello@.

(Track of the Day archive here. Pre-Notes archive here.)