AUTECHRE – OVERSTEPS (Warp)

 
Warp Records stalwarts Autechre return with their tenth, count ‘em, tenth album. Rob Brown and Sean Booth usher in the new decade with the complex and intriguing “Oversteps” — a melodic and strangely emotive record that emits far different sonic vibrations than the duo’s last three full-lengths.

There’s no conscious way one can fully understand the compositional mind of Autechre, you just put them on and know that patience will reward. But with this new album the duo’s vibe will immediately pull you in and have you convinced machines must feel love before opening track “r ess” is done. Their signature klings, klangs, and syncopated rhythms are in full effect here, and with repeated listens they become infectious, full of darkened corners strobed with light. Yet, one wouldn’t call this a beat heavy album at all, the tempo is more subdued and textured, which reveals a definite maturation of the duo’s sound and synthesis. All this to say for non-fans: this is Autechre’s most accessible album in over a decade, and for non-non fans: their most solid release since “LP5”.

Tracks “see on see” and “O=0″ are the most heartfelt electronic songs I’ve heard in quite some time. I have no specific explanation as to why, but they hit hard and true and feature those brief moments of light I was talking about amidst darker and more heady tracks like “ilanders”, “known(1)”, and the fantastic “Treale”. My cousin Chris said he was unsure what to make of “Oversteps” after his first playthrough, but after a few days and a couple more ‘relaxed’ listens he likened it to BOC meets Blade Runner. I find the comparison fitting, and highly recommend the album for all fans of more challenging electronic music.

Another win for Ae. Please play Toronto this year.

Peace.

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