Album Reviews

Album Review: Autechre – (Oversteps) (Warp)

By | Published on Thursday 18 March 2010


Listening to Autechre is a challenging enough affair; but attempting to describe their music is even harder. So much so that the accompanying press release hasn’t even tried to, although that could just be a deliberate ploy to maintain the mystique.

Whilst Rob Brown and Sean Booth’s early 90s releases fitted right in with the emergent IDM scene and alongside their associated Warp acts (Aphex, Plaid etc), over the years the Rochdale duo have refined their experimental sound to something that inhabits its own utterly self-contained universe.

Whilst it’s not exactly as accessible as the Little Boots album, to put it mildly, ‘(Oversteps)’ is less dissonant than other recent Autechre releases. Melodies are sparsely deployed, whilst discernable rhythms are even harder to come by, but at times this is compelling listening. A number of tracks feature what can only be described as chiming gamelan harps populating landscapes of alien oddness, which act as a kind of motif to anchor you in the album. Elsewhere tracks announce themselves with ghostly ambience before utterly random beats disorientate you, or glisten like stalactites before shattering into a million different pieces.

You can’t dance to it. Chilling out is impossible. Self-indulgent it may be, but there is a strange hypnotic allure in its symphonic otherworldliness. MS

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