Mettle (1994)




1 Dark Smile
2 Snatch
3 Sliver
4 Tomato Dawn
5 Justice Loop
6 Protoski
7 Exhale
8 Bone

All titles written, performed, and produced by Tara Patterson, Kevin Hector, and Mark Van Hoen.
Published by Copyright Control/Chrysalis Music. Recorded at The Enclosure.
Photography by James Bignell, assisted by Mark Van Hoen. Sleeve by The Designers Republic.

The 1994 CD was released on The Orb's Inter-Modo label

Autocreation in 1994
Left to right, Mark Van Hoen, Tara Patterson, Kevin Hector





NME Sept 1994

Techno, a word that means everything from Jungle to Ambient, is rarely understated. Hardcore nutters stick the earache controls to overload; chill out fans wallow in weighty, drawn out epics.
Which is probably why 'Mettle' has arrived amidst this madness with a minimal amount of fuss. Autocreation[ who include R&S locust] have deliberately played it low key, using an obscure American single and "Trance Europe Express 2" compilation to whet appetites and "Mettle" itself is no electronic pig out, more a series of subtle dishes to tease the taste buds.
Even the LPs closing track " Bone" the nearest track to an out and out and out dance track here pounds away quietly, like far off explosions, leaving the hooks to minimal instrumentation and delightfully restless back ground rhythms. A Stunner.
Not that the rest is yawnsome beatless swirling. Locust may be famed for his dark ambient soundscapery and his trademark moodiness is highly evident here. But cohorts Tara Paterson [ a renowned underground DJ] and Kevin Hector managed to place his evil sound wedges in a context of chugging beats and firm but delicate percussive sounds. Check opener "Dark Smile" the rather ludicrously titled "Tomato Dawn." or the deep penetrating " justice loop" if you think you can't make powerful techno without cracking a few eardrums.
Occasionally the whole thing disappears under a cloud of its own reverb, usually reappearing seconds later to continue unabated. the threesome will eventually have to move their sound along from Locusts distinct rumblings if they don't want to be overshadowed by his higher profile.
"Mettle" remains an assured debut that should outlive the genre that spawned it. And as the first non orb release on the Intermodo label, it makes Alex and Co's return to nurturing the more adventurous elements of the dance scene. Its a dirty job but they've done it.
8/10 Ben Wilmott



On September 1994

This record is a dark brooding work from London's Tara Paterson, Kevin Hector and Mark Van Hoen. for Kevin Hector most chill out music is " coffee table music" because its too nice and sounds like,"They didn't really mean that."
Definitions aside this is powerful music in electronic mode which coaxes the listener impulsively with its spacy codas and mantra like repetition. Deep down dubby bass and shimmering keyboards,programmed with a generous flare for invention, is what we are talking about here. Far reaching music from the next galaxy. Sounds like they mean it too.



Select August 1994

Ably assisted by Dutch Knob wizard Mark Van Hoen [ AKA Locust] Autocreations sound is based around stark heavy kick drums and then overlayed with, well, not much else. similar to the Drum Club and Pressure of Speech, they present disturbingly barren soundscapes - dark, meandering moods for your mind to nervously roam around in.
Towards the end of "Justice loop," an acid squiggle rises in the mix and then stops dead. Y' know, life's like that - no hedonistic respite, no fun,etc.........
Andrew Perry



The Wire September 1994

Mettle by Autocreation (Londoners Kevin Hector, Tara Peterson and Mark Van Hoen, who dubbed up Seefeel's 'Plainsong' to beguiling effect on last years 'Pure-Impure' EP) is also brilliant partly because it doesn't sound like anything else, except perhaps the "End Credits" sequence from a John Carpenter soundtrack. That comparison makes Mettle post apocalyptic, I guess, in that the "End Credits" in Carpenter's films have to detail the numb shock of audience fall out, and project an image of the central characters rebuilding their lives after being visited by cataclysmic events which they barely understand. What Mettle really is, however, is post techno. Perhaps tracks such as 'Protoski' and 'Tomato Dawn' couldn't exist without the last 10 years of popular electronic music, but the inputs have been distilled, hybridised, filtered and cross-referenced to the point that everything that was solid has melted into the thin, rarified are of original thought. You could probably break an Autocreation track down to about four component parts: this is music low on content but high on atmosphere. Like a David Lynch film, Mettle's ultra-minimalist machine compositions turn techno's shiny surfaces into reflectors for the niggling, background detail of your day to home existence; the dust on the carpet, the corpses of insects, the grime around the sink.