Autechre: Move of Ten EP Review
Let’s make one important fact crystal clear: Autechre are 9,000,000 times smarter than me and you. Autechre albums are categorically unwieldy, with schizophrenic beats and agoraphobic drone. The music is often composed with boutique, tampered software, further obscuring the production process. “Getting” Autechre either means embracing a level of technical music-wonkiness unfit for polite company or convincing yourself that humans can actually dance to glitch. For these reasons, reviewing Autechre’s work can be futile and borderline indignant. Exasperated, the online music website Silent Ballet threw its digital (and metaphorical) hands up, running the review of the English duo’s most recent LP Oversteps back and forth through Google Translator.
I don’t want to be entirely dismissive. Autechre are a crucial component of the intelligent dance music-scene—past, present and future, as they have also undoubtedly unlocked the key to time travel in their spare time. Much of their ongoing experimental work focuses on decontextualizing fragments of music; in other words, repackaging drum machine-fills and synth tones until they hardly resemble their original selves. On Move of Ten, things get complicated right from the get-go.
All-but-random notes and an arhythmic beat comprise opener “Etchogon-S,” and the song’s lack of structure makes for a long five minutes. When the more palatable, surfing-in-cyberspace-groove of “y7” begins, you can’t help but think Autechre are sniggering in a corner somewhere, self-satisfied that you wore your patience paper-thin listening to “Etchogon-S.” Much of the album’s midsection clickitybloops along without leaving much of an impression, either positive or negative.
Move of Ten ends with three standout compositions. “M62” recalls the impressive bass-jams of Squarepusher, whereas “ylm0” features icy piano keys that could have been recorded in a wormhole. Finale “Cep puiqMX” sounds like a soccer anthem with subtle doom-metal riffage and a fast dance beat. What makes tracks like “y7” and “ylm0” enjoyable is that Autechre pander to us mere mortals with cheeky sci-fi soundscapes, instead of 11th dimension mathematical orchestration.
Move of Ten, although technically released as an EP and a supplement to Oversteps, weighs in just shy of 48 minutes. It is hard to classify as a full-length or an EP, and, honestly, it succeeds as neither. Too meandering as an EP and in want of an album’s thematic cohesion–it’s best to cherry-pick your favorite tracks from Move of Ten. If you want to listen to a new top-notch IDM album, try Flying Lotus’ Cosmogramma or last year’s Squarepusher-release Just a Souvenir. Maybe you could revisit classics from Boards of Canada or Aphex Twin? Unfortunately, Autechre are trapped in the future.
— Will Wlizlo (Nowlikephotographs)