Autechre - Oversteps

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It’s not often I listen to an album and find almost nothing of value in it. Like, literally, not even one good track. Oversteps by Autechre takes me as close to that wilderness as I’d like to go. This is their tenth album, and although I’ve only limited exposure to earlier releases, my feeling that this is certainly as ambient as they’ve ever got seems to be backed up by a little research.

This is electronic music of a pure sort: heavy on the electronic, low on the music. There’s moments, indeed, when some beats kick in, when something emerges out of the sounds and is, momentarily, quite listenable, if not enjoyable, but such moments are few and far between. Redfall is the most prominent example. Admittedly, it sounds like three tunes overlaid on each other, but it comes together nicely, pitching and falling with something recognisably human about it.

D-Sho Qub has some nice beats carrying it along; hidden amongst all the distortion and synthesised sounds there’s a decent but basic breakbeat track happening, but you’re listening to it through a broken radio on a busy road with all the windows open. Art music, experimental music, synth music, the soundtrack to a ‘80s movie starring Jerry Lewis about two robots that fall in love; who knows?

‘IDM’ seems an uncomfortable title generally, the more so for this, I don’t think it needs a genre. If you’re a fan of Autechre’s earlier work you’d be interested in buying this, otherwise you’d probably not come across it anyhow. There’s a narrative happening here, of something. And, i’m pretty sure with repeated listenings you could tease it out, but, crucially, I don’t think I really want to. In summary, steer clear unless you’re already a fan, or unless you want to hear something that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable and confused.

Oversteps is out now on Warp through Inertia.

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locky said on the 18th Apr, 2010

Maybe try reviewing the next Ministry of sound compilation..