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Oversteps made me COMPLETELY rethink the way I feel about Autechre


springymajig
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I alwasy used to think of Autechre's musical progression as being quite linear, one album will lead to the next in quite a logical progression. I thought from Incunabula to Confield they pretty much took the same idea and kept making it harsher, noisier, more mechanical (in terms of sound design), darker, took the emotive qualities to more extremes. Like they were replacing parts of their bodies with cybernetic implants slowly, bit by bit, but this traumatising experience made them more and more emotional.

 

I felt like after that they got stuck, like they couldn't add any more stuff to them without losing their humanity so they just dawdled around as these weird cyborgs for a while, and then Quaristice showed that their cybernetic implants were starting to wear out and break.

 

But Oversteps feels like such a big departure that now I realise they NEVER progressed in such a linear fashion, ALL their albums were offering something completely new. They weren't trying to top their previous efforts each time but try something different.

 

And I think that's one of the reasons I stopped like them for a while... cos I was expecting Draft7.30 to take the ideas in Confield and push them further. That's not what that album is about. I might give Draft another go tomorrow with this in mind... maybe I'll like it more.

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Guest ruiagnelo

I always felt ae didn't follow a linear progression and i hope they don't get stuck and keep stepping on unexplored fields of the contemporary electronic music.

Edited by ruiagnelo
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Guest Greg Reason

Springy, I love your work but I really don't understand how you could see their progression in those terms. It's cool that you're seeing it in a different sense now.

 

To me, their music evolved not in terms of "becoming harsher" but as growing subtlety. Incunabula and Amber are extremely unsubtle. That's not to say they're bad records, but they're very basic.

 

As they wrote more and more music they seemed to get better at making smaller gestures. The work started to take on infinitely more detail and by the time of Draft that detail crystalized into what I would consider the greatest electronic album of our era. It was as if they now had a massive toolkit at their disposal and ran a bit wild with it.

 

I told Sean I thought Draft was the masterpiece and he commented that they couldn't make an album like that every time because it would do people's heads in.

 

Untilted, Quaristice and Oversteps are less of a head fuck but take that same attention to the minor details and the extreme subtlety of technique and composition and apply it in a less dense manner. That's big fuck-off generalization because there are still moments of intense detail but nothing so concentrated as Draft.

Edited by Greg Reason
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Guest ruiagnelo

To me, their music evolved not in terms of "becoming harsher" but as growing subtlety. Incunabula and Amber are extremely unsubtle. That's not to say they're bad records, but they're very basic.

 

 

Their first two works definitely lack the later detail they brought to their music, but i won't agree with you about the subtleties.

Sure they are very basic, but i wonder if you would still say they were unsubtle if you only knew those two records. If you get my point. I mean, is the abundance of detail in recent stuff really a reason to explain that Incunabula and Amber are their weakest works?

Edited by ruiagnelo
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Guest theSun

each autechre album, in the context of its release date, is at least a half step in a new direction every time. no album really sounds like the last to me anymore.

 

sean and rob said they made a new "system" for composing tunes (whatever that means). i like the sounds coming out but i feel like they're still getting the hang of working with their new methods/tools. if anything oversteps/mot has energized me even more for the next release, where i expect they will tread new ground again.

Edited by theSun
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Guest Greg Reason

To me, their music evolved not in terms of "becoming harsher" but as growing subtlety. Incunabula and Amber are extremely unsubtle. That's not to say they're bad records, but they're very basic.

 

 

Their first two works definitely lack the later detail they brought to their music, but i won't agree with you about the subtleties.

Sure they are very basic, but i wonder if you would still say they were unsubtle if you only knew those two records. If you get my point. I mean, is the abundance of detail in recent stuff really a reason to explain that Incunabula and Amber are their weakest works?

 

No, that's not why I would say they're the weakest. I'd say they're the weakest albums because ae hadn't yet acquired the mastery of aesthetics that they got later on. In saying "detail" I don't mean "complicated shit", just as in saying "subtlety" I don't mean "quiet shit". I mean every sound is crafted in a certain very specific way to create a certain aesthetic. And that is something they have gotten much, much better at since the early days. It doesn't matter how much overt complication there is in the music, that subtlety of touch is evident in all of their work over the last decade.

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Guest ruiagnelo

To me, their music evolved not in terms of "becoming harsher" but as growing subtlety. Incunabula and Amber are extremely unsubtle. That's not to say they're bad records, but they're very basic.

 

 

Their first two works definitely lack the later detail they brought to their music, but i won't agree with you about the subtleties.

Sure they are very basic, but i wonder if you would still say they were unsubtle if you only knew those two records. If you get my point. I mean, is the abundance of detail in recent stuff really a reason to explain that Incunabula and Amber are their weakest works?

 

No, that's not why I would say they're the weakest. I'd say they're the weakest albums because ae hadn't yet acquired the mastery of aesthetics that they got later on. In saying "detail" I don't mean "complicated shit", just as in saying "subtlety" I don't mean "quiet shit". I mean every sound is crafted in a certain very specific way to create a certain aesthetic. And that is something they have gotten much, much better at since the early days. It doesn't matter how much overt complication there is in the music, that subtlety of touch is evident in all of their work over the last decade.

 

You are right, i understand your point.

But Incunabula and Amber have a completely different style from their later works. I am not defending them as better, no. I too think they are the weakest. But they are just too different to be compared to all the others.

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Guest Greg Reason

True. I'm sure they were stunning at the time. I just don't really listen to them these days whereas I still give the rest of the catalog a caning

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Guest ruiagnelo

True. I'm sure they were stunning at the time. I just don't really listen to them these days whereas I still give the rest of the catalog a caning

 

That's what i admire the most on ae: their capacity to change and explore. A lot of artists just fear it.

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can i just say it was stupid for them to release these new eps right after oversteps.. i haven't got oversteps to sink in yet and then they release more music. how am i supposed to know if i like the new stuff based on the previous albums (in which i'm still listening to ?_ ) cash grab?

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Guest Scrambled Ears

perhaps they dont even like the album concept...after all incunabula is called incunabula and they keep releasing eps of tracks that seem slightly altered in some ways from the lps...maybe they just want people to engage more individually and conceptually...after all its not like anyone likes everything an artist releases

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Guest VgqepetrahLcwg swr6

each autechre album, in the context of its release date, is at least a half step in a new direction every time. no album really sounds like the last to me anymore.

 

sean and rob said they made a new "system" for composing tunes (whatever that means). i like the sounds coming out but i feel like they're still getting the hang of working with their new methods/tools. if anything oversteps/mot has energized me even more for the next release, where i expect they will tread new ground again.

 

This got me aching for their next LP!

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can i just say it was stupid for them to release these new eps right after oversteps.. i haven't got oversteps to sink in yet and then they release more music. how am i supposed to know if i like the new stuff based on the previous albums (in which i'm still listening to ?_ ) cash grab?

perhaps. it's a bit of a catch 22 or something, we're either drowned in lots of new ae (quaristice+versions+quadrange, oversteps+move of ten) or starving for new ae (2009). there needs to be a happy medium!

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can i just say it was stupid for them to release these new eps right after oversteps.. i haven't got oversteps to sink in yet and then they release more music. how am i supposed to know if i like the new stuff based on the previous albums (in which i'm still listening to ?_ ) cash grab?

perhaps. it's a bit of a catch 22 or something, we're either drowned in lots of new ae (quaristice+versions+quadrange, oversteps+move of ten) or starving for new ae (2009). there needs to be a happy medium!

quaristice is the only period in which i think they released a little too much too soon. i love hearing an album and a companion ep back to back, but throwing in versions made it a little hard to wade through everything.

 

move of ten was right on time for me though, it got me instantly more into oversteps.

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Oversteps (and keep in mind this is just my thinking while listening to it) represents a dramatic leap forward. Their previous albums were very beat oriented, and they contained a definite progression. Draft, Untilted, and Quaristice were the peaks in terms of beat production. Each taking a unique production approach while also retaining a certain aesthetic. Oversteps on the other hand is a slap in the face to those who wanted even more progression from the past. Not because it isn't as impressive, but because its just aesthetically very different. What Sean & Rob did on Oversteps with melodies is as intricate as what they did with beats. It may not sound as technically impressive because its much slower and subtle, and perhaps less technical effort was required to produce it, but to me they pulled off something I have never heard before. It sounds effortless though too well crafted to have not been slaved over. The melodies float around in your head as they evolve and eventually each tracks sort of comes together. Later when revisiting the album (and this is kind of hard to put into words) you pull away from observing it at a macro scale and it all but feels time has stopped. I feel locked in, and I hear it more internally (if that makes sense), as if I have suddenly transported myself into the middle of an intense day dream (a kind of feeling). I can hear the music but my brain is far more focused on clinging to each previous melodic change, letting it ride itself out inside my head.

Edited by karmakramer
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The other thing I like about Oversteps is that it sounds like a really nice balance of old and new... something about it sounds old... something about the sound design... like they took old fashioned sounds and then put all the intricate detail and mixing into them, and scrambled the sounds up a bit... I mean, Islanders almost sounds like they took something from Amber and then turned Draft7.30 into a meat grinder, and then put that song from Amber into that meat grinder.

 

Well... that's how I see it.

 

The other thing that's made me excited is that I've realised just how unpredictable they are. I gave up on them for a while because I assumed that their "linear progression" meant less and less melodies... but now that's obviously changed... and turns out I really like Untilted anyway... so even if I don't like what they come out with next, I'm reeeeally excited to hear it just because I know none of us will be able to predict it.

 

I feel like I've discovered them for the first time all over again!

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Guest HWNDarkside

Up to Oversteps I always thought every new release was at a different level to their previous release. Each album pushes then into new territory and sets a new benchmark for their sound. Although their new work may reference what's gone before it's always been at the next level.

 

Until Move Of Ten. For me it's their first album that contains deliberate throwbacks to their previous work and is nowhere near the genre-redefining experience their other albums have been. That's not neccessarily a bad thing though (although M62 isn't a great track IMO and sounds like anyone could have made it), I'd be quite happy with another Confield, Untilted or Draft 7.30.

 

Maybe after 23 years they are finally at the edge of their musical boundaries??

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What Sean & Rob did on Oversteps with melodies is as intricate as what they did with beats. It may not sound as technically impressive because its much slower and subtle, and perhaps less technical effort was required to produce it, ...

 

I agree with your post in general, very good perspective. One thing I'm not so sure about: I think the sound of the melodies is quite technically impressive (and quite a lot effort may have been required) in that every frequency or pitch sounds different, so a very organic sound spectrum is achieved. Not like they would just pitch samples up and down, do you know what I mean? More like an instrument that was built from the ground up and that sounds different in every register.

But maybe all of that is just normal for synth guys and it's more "standard" than I think.

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Guest HWNDarkside

but sometimes I wonder what they could do with the sound they created on confield and draft...imagine if they took it further.

 

I do, often. I thought what I heard on tour was pretty close - a shame so little of it made it's way on to Move Of Ten.

 

As for fans not being ready - bollox - I think that's exactly what they want

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oversteps is great, sure.

 

but sometimes I wonder what they could do with the sound they created on confield and draft...imagine if they took it further.

 

at the sydney gig, one of the guys I met (I think it was you, Greg) said he spoke to sean before the show and asked if they could ever make another draft and he said they could but their fans wouldn't be ready...or something like that.

 

what a bunch of crap! bring it on, I say.

 

I really can't believe Draft is 7 years old right now.

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Guest Greg Reason

oversteps is great, sure.

 

but sometimes I wonder what they could do with the sound they created on confield and draft...imagine if they took it further.

 

at the sydney gig, one of the guys I met (I think it was you, Greg) said he spoke to sean before the show and asked if they could ever make another draft and he said they could but their fans wouldn't be ready...or something like that.

 

what a bunch of crap! bring it on, I say.

 

Yeah that was me. I didn't ask him if they'd make another Draft though, I just said I thought it was the best.

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Guest hahathhat

another tri repeatae would work, unless they thing it'd make me bleed out my eyes or something. better safe than sorry, really, and it saves me the $10 or whatever i would drop on it.

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