Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Autechre- Oversteps

Autechre's brand new album called "Oversteps" is out as of last week. I am such a geek about Autechre that I ordered both the vinyl as well as the cd. Although I would suggest for anyone except the FLAC snobs to just get the vinyl, because it has a download code so that you can get a free 320kbps MP3 download along with your purchase of the vinyl (which is indistinguishable from FLAC in my opinion).
The vinyl album really does have incredibly deluxe packaging. The two 180g vinyl records along with a foldout poster are each kept in thick cardboard sleeves and then housed inside a hardback "boxed set" style outer cover. Very nice...
Someone put together a sampler of the album on you tube.

While this album still has the obvious Autechre hallmarks, it does have some big departures from the albums of the last decade. The two departures that stand out the most to me are the use of tonality and the allowance of space between areas of tangled density. This could have been a very bad thing, because I myself, love the atonality and the density of the "techno-beats-in-a-digital-blender" of their albums since EP7.  But I think what has tied all of their albums together since "EP7" is their ability to make something as non-organic as purely digital music into something that is very organic and very abstract. After all, musical editing technology makes it easy to create beats in exactly the 4/4 time signature and tones exactly according to a specific key. What is difficult is to get the technology to go outside 4/4 beats and to work with dissonance and texture..

Autechre almost reminds me of techno music's answer to free jazz....

 What I like about "Oversteps" is that it keeps the organic quality of their previous work but creates more space. The percussion seems to be pushed to an accompanying role, while allowing the abstract tonality to step in as a major player.

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