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interview in The Australian around their studio methods and upcoming Australia tour. Quote here because paywall. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/music/uk-electronic-duo-autechre-a-good-fit-for-dark-mofo/news-story/4891d8a017c356016d7769ccb50d54d9

 

UK electronic duo Autechre a good fit for Dark Mofo

 

It’s a show business routine observed countless times around the world every night of the year: when the performers take to the stage, the lights dim to momentary darkness and the crowd is conditioned to understand that the performance is soon to begin.

 

When English electronic music duo Autechre is about to play, however, there’s one major difference: once the lights go out, they stay out.

 

Most major touring artists — in the spheres of pop, rock, dance, heavy metal and everything in between — put quite a lot of thought and effort into their light show. For some, the timing of certain ­visual effects is just as important as hitting the right musical notes at the right time.

 

Accordingly, an entire profession has emerged around this skill: that of the lighting engineer, whose job it is to make the on-stage happenings look as beautiful and compelling as possible at all times, in the hope that the entire concert experience leaves an indelible impression on the minds of those who paid to see it.

 

Autechre is different in many ways, but in the live arena, it might be the only popular act to take this singular approach of removing all light sources. This policy, dating back years, has become an attraction in its own right.

 

Picture it: a dance floor filled with bodies moving to loud, disorienting, shapeshifting sounds composed by two men who have devoted their lives to learning and mastering a sequencing software whose limitations are boundless.

 

On stage, their screens are dimmed to the lowest possible setting, and only the booming speaker system gives you a sense of where they are positioned in the room. But otherwise? Total darkness, for an hour or more. To the inquisitive music fan, doesn’t that sound like just the sort of thing that should be experienced at least once in your life?

 

“There’s something more cinematic about not being able to see it, paradoxically,” says Rob Brown, who formed the duo in 1987 with Sean Booth.

 

“Because you’re listening to the music, and you don’t have to close your eyes; we’ve done you that favour. It’s almost like everyone was listening to a really high quality headphone mix, but with that anonymous kind of group dynamic in the room.

 

“Taking the lights out really does give people something else — which is really backwards, but it works,” says Brown via Skype from his home in Bristol.

 

“There’s something about following that line with us for an hour or longer: we’re in the same place together, and it’s not like there’s any border any more. With lights, it almost defines the border between the ‘them’ and the ‘us’. With this, it’s more immersive, it’s more inclusive, and there’s really no compass whatsoever.”

 

There was a transition period towards darkness, of course: the duo didn’t just flick a switch from one show to the next.

 

After its 1993 debut album, Incunabula, was released on independent label Warp Records — home to Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada, among others — Brown and Booth followed up with Amber the following year.

 

While touring that album, they played under amber tones, but began to query their lighting engineer about exploring the darker end of the spectrum. They knew red occupied the lowest frequency, but entire shows dren­ched in that one hue wasn’t quite working for them. Brown recalls: “Sean was getting to the point of saying, ‘F..king hell, just turn the lights off.’ ”

 

So they did, and so it has continued, though not without slight difficulties in booking venues that agree to the unusual blackout request. It’s fitting, too, that one of Autechre’s three Australian shows this week is part of the Dark Mofo festival in Hobart.

 

Another way in which Autechre is not your average electronic music act is the fact that its most recent release, NTS Sessions 1-4, is an eight-hour collection of music that was first broadcast live on digital radio station NTS in two-hour blocks on four consecutive weekends in April.

 

“Some people will take it and run with it, and they’re our kind of people,” says Brown of the eight-hour duration. “That’s what happens when you expose yourself to certain things: at first it might seem daunting, but afterwards, you realise: Actually, well, why isn’t all stuff like this?”

 

Though Incunabula and Amber were rooted in electro, hip hop and industrial music, it was 1995’s Tri Repetae that truly announced the duo as creators of a sound that is entirely and unmistakably its own.

 

That intent has certainly carried through to NTS Sessions 1-4, which received a near-perfect rating on influential online music magazine Resident Advisor, which defined the style of music using just one word: Autechre.

 

“A lot of people were really enamoured by that moment, because it was finally not IDM,” says Brown, referring to the “intelligent dance music” label with which the duo has been laden for many years, alongside Aphex Twin and others. “It was finally not ‘glitch’, not ‘electronica’. I think we’ve always seen (our music) like this; we’ve always seen it as us.”

 

Between those early releases in the 1990s — which are easily accessible to anyone familiar with the concept of using computers for sound composition — and today, Autechre has released an extraordinary amount of material.

 

During their 31-year partnership, Brown and Booth have amassed what Resident Advisor has described as “one of the most labyrinthine sound worlds in modern music”.

 

It is music created without instruments, as such, but instead programmed using software called MaxMSP, which essentially operates as something of a third member. As they pass files between their home studios in Bristol (Brown) and Manchester (Booth), the software is constantly responding to their individual habits and instructions.

 

“It’s hard for me to describe it as ‘learning’ from what we do,” Brown says of MaxMSP. “If anything, we build systems that actually register the kind of things we like in music, or the things we would do. It sort of impersonates us. It’s a system that gets more and more vast and increasingly complex, but is actually built on doing the things that we like to do. Sometimes we’ll connect certain modules and patches — and then there’ll be two things playing off each other, like me and Sean playing off each other.”

 

Brown compares the software to the concept of building with Lego: with enough blocks, the possibilities are limitless. While that blank-slate approach to composing and arranging music might be terrifying to some, for these two friends — who met through Manchester’s graffiti scene in 1987 — the software has enabled a perfect fit between two men and their machines.

 

“We love it,” says Brown. “I think we’re both quite easily distracted, and we like to get our teeth into something that appears to be new. I think that’s why we’re not getting bored at any point soon. The way I see it, I’m not a programmer; I’m not even a musician. We’re just inquisitive.”

 

It is that sense of boundless curiosity and exploration that Autechre will bring to Australia this week, for its first visit to these shores in eight years. When the lights go out, and stay out, do not be alarmed.

 

Autechre will perform in Sydney on Wednesday, followed by Melbourne (Thursday) and Hobart (Friday).

Special thanks to Embers for getting this one.

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“It’s hard for me to describe it as ‘learning’ from what we do,” Brown says of MaxMSP. “If anything, we build systems that actually register the kind of things we like in music, or the things we would do. It sort of impersonates us. It’s a system that gets more and more vast and increasingly complex, but is actually built on doing the things that we like to do. Sometimes we’ll connect certain modules and patches — and then there’ll be two things playing off each other, like me and Sean playing off each other.”

 

 

 

 

 

I suppose it's the next best thing to Sean & Rob actually playing off of each other. It's like they're building their own VALIS. Soon, if not already, we'll have a 100% ersatz Autechre (AEsatz) 

Edited by AJW

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http://www.ele-king.net/interviews/006477/

ロブ:それは大きいね。
Rob
:Real big parts of it.

ショーン:“all end”は、『Exai』の“Bladelores”というトラックに似ている。そして、最後のセッションだ。“all end”は、『Exai』の“Bladelores”のアイディアのいくつかを展開したもので、NTSのためのスペシャル・ヴァージョンと言えるよ。だから“Bladlores”の終章、終りということだね。
Sean:All End is similar to a track called Bladelores from Exai. And it was the end session. All End is an expansion of some ideas from a track on Exai. Bladelores. Kind of a special NTS version of that track. So the name is about, how it’s the end of Bladlores.

ロブ:終りのすべて、全部。
Rob
:And it’s all of it.

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Sean:

In Europe, if you want people to be quiet, you have to sit them down

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Sean:

In Europe, if you want people to be quiet, you have to sit them down

 so true

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