--to the point where I'd think of total lack of marco-level changes as being their signature compositional approach. Listening to Confield at first, for example, I was really thrown off by how a lot of the tracks seemed to go absolutely nowhere compared to the 'ABCD'-type progressive structures in a lot of Aphex, Venetian Snares, etc.
this is one of my main gripes, I think older tracks have a macro structure while nts does not. tracks like parhelic triangle and uviol are repetitive but they have certain moments that break the flow and add a certain 'climax', it's more contained and obvious what the easter eggs are. all of the other tracks ive listed in the thread are like this too. also have to say, it's not like i only like ae tracks that have a macro structure, but compare nts to bine, the trees, WNSN and others and they still don't sound as good. it's like this:
I don't think this at all, I think NTS takes longer to digest than earlier stuff because there is so much more depth in different ways. I swear I hear really weird off tuned echoes that I've seen them talk about in interviews, but it takes a while to notice this stuff and I always forget where they are because the songs are too long and I'm high as fuck
You might be right, i also forget where those noticable parts are, where in previous tracks i always remembered. gonk tuf hi had some moments yesterday but then i have issues finding them again. im not sure if this is better or worse overall, its still less interesting than earlier releases.
I'm very much enjoying NTS so far. As of now, I would say it beats out elseq for me, maybe not quite as good as Exai though.
I think there's two main things I would criticise:
- Too many of the tracks are almost completely lacking in progression, despite almost all of them being upwards of 10 minutes. Go peruse through any tracks of theirs from the last decade and as you skip around the track it's like several completely different tracks all woven together. Used to be the case if you played me a 2-3 second snippet of an autechre track I could tell you the rough timestamp. I think I would struggle significantly with most of NTS in that way.
- It feels just a tad too jammy. Like they just put a 16 step pattern on loop 4-8 times, and then switch to the next 16 step pattern, etc etc. Glos Ceramic is maybe the worst offender here. It feels like the patterns in some tracks are kind of just bolted together, without particular regard to a sense of flow or transition.
I don't necessarily mind jammy autechre, and certainly the track lengths are not the sole culprit here, as I would say Gonk Steady One does far more than it even needs to remain thoroughly interesting throughout. I think it's just that the tracks here are lacking a certain metamorphic quality, or perhaps to a certain extent lacking attention to detail.
None of that is stopping NTS from being on constant rotation for me though.
well then you hit on key things i feel too. i dont have a single track that stands out to me as "i _have_ to play this over and over!" right now
As to the original post coax, I think you're wrong. A lot of your points could be said about much of their recent (elseq i'm looking at you) stuff, but really could be thrown at almost any Ae ever...as Spiral said, it's maybe still just new to your mind. That said, I don't think I disagreed with any of your criticisms in general, I generally prefer the denser, more structured/focused stuff and just straight up more contained/condensed tracks and albums...but also I think that AE_LIVE sets are absolute peak Autechre? The long-windedness of some Exai/elseq/NTS is not my cup of tea, but there's some really good stuff in there no matter. But also your holding up feed1 as an example for good sounds/mixing? Um, naw, methinks you need to reassess that one. :) I do think NTS may open up more for some over time... As you pointed out, there is some stuff in it worth revisiting that reveals new layers upon relistens, I think you may find there's more of this than it seems? Maybe not of course, I kept expecting that to happen for me with elseq and it just ain't there. sorta like you said, you hear it once and that's about it....that's elseq for me, of course. Some of NTS falls in this camp imo but much of it is still pretty interesting (especially hearing it via CD, it seems there's slight mastering differences to the digital? or I'm just hearing it in HQ in the car, unsure on this) and some tracks are just catchy as fuck.
I'll also say (probably said it in the NTS thread already) that I really think they're sorta losing some perspective in this Max world. Relistening to some Exai and Oversteps and AE_LIVE and elseq and of NTS over the last month or two, they're getting caught in some traps imo. They're still pushing the boundaries of their creative environment but I really feel they're stuck in doldrums in ways...listening to Oversteps today, so much of the sound-scapes and melodic timbre and effects and perhaps even the melodies themselves are all over NTS...and everything in between. Not just in the "Ae being Ae" sort of ways of any artist really hitting the same sorts of area you might expect, but really just comes across as stagnant in ways comparatively. That said, it's not 'bad' to work in a comfortable environment (especially one as complex as whatever the Max world they have built up)....I dunno, just random blabber, don't take anything I said here too seriously, even though I meant it all, sorta just stream-of-conscious.
feed1 is a beast imo and also has a great composition, it really builds and is awesome, one of my top ae tracks (although that list now has dozens of tracks). i think the sound works, it's very tightly designed and also in your face.
i put elseq up there because of the great tracks on it. feed1, c16 thread, latentcall, eastre (great atmos), mesh cinereal, freaulaeux and others, which eclipse anything on nts both emotionally and structurally i think, not to mention all their older albums, nts can't even touch'em... it's not like i love every track on elseq still. i can't point to a _single_ track on nts that clicks right now in the same way even though there are tracks which seem promising, but i'll have to wait and see.
Edited by coax, 23 September 2018 - 05:35 AM.