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Longest Mixtape Ever
March 18, 2010 11:47 AM   Subscribe

On February 3, 2010, Autechre celebrated the month-early release of their new album Oversteps with a 12-hour netradio broadcast.

Rather than a 12 hour stream of incomprehensible noise as some may have expected, the broadcast was an excursion across all manner of genres: dub, techno, hip hop, rave, dubstep, rock, and possibly more, reminiscent of their recent mix for FACT magazine which managed to include tracks from Raekwon, J. Dilla, Meat Beat Manifesto, and the brutal death metal band Necrophagist.

The on-site chat room was disabled for the duration of the broadcast, and there was no published tracklist to this behemoth, but the Internet is working on one, and you can help.
posted by mkb (42 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
They have done this a couple of times before too: a 27 hour set for xltronic radio in 2006 (on mefi) and another 12 hour one in 2008.
posted by scodger at 12:02 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I managed to record all of the set, except, sadly, for the first hour. It really was an excellent show, with lots of sounds from all over the place. If the boys had their own satellite radio station, I'd subscribe in a heartbeat.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:02 PM on March 18, 2010


I caught their 2008 live mix, and it was in much the same vein. On preview, looks like scodger beat me to it!
posted by hyperizer at 12:04 PM on March 18, 2010


I wish Autechre would go back to making music that sounds good, like the Tri Repetae days. I knew what Oversteps would sound like before I got it: just tons of glitchy fractured random sounding occasionally harmonious electronic fiddling. I seriously doubt anybody loves it on a gut level, but maybe some people admire it academically. I think the problem is that in going for this over-complex sound they've completely divested the music of emotion. It's like a breath of fresh air whenever a clear melody or theme appears, which is pretty rare. I love electronic music, but I'd rather listen to Calvin Harris than this.
posted by snoktruix at 12:04 PM on March 18, 2010


OMG am I out of touch. Autechre have a new album...and it's melodic!?
Need to buy now.
posted by juv3nal at 12:11 PM on March 18, 2010


I saw them live last weekend in full generative mode, and it was surprisingly danceable, in an id-release sort of way.
posted by phrontist at 12:11 PM on March 18, 2010


I knew what Oversteps would sound like before I got it: just tons of glitchy fractured random sounding occasionally harmonious electronic fiddling.

Is that just pre-emptive snark or have you actually listened to it, because I think you're far far off the mark if the samples on the bleep page are anything to judge by.
posted by juv3nal at 12:13 PM on March 18, 2010


For the past week I've been listening to Autechre's full Warp catalog. Queued up all the albums (well, digital releases) and listen to them one at a time. It's amazing how consistently good their work is. Each album has its own personality, and of course it's all glitchy blender music, but it's all great.

I also have these live broadcasts. It's like a different group entirely. I just don't understand, nor like, what they're doing. I think it's awesome that they have such deep and broad interest in music and like to remix it. But I can't get behind listening to it.
posted by Nelson at 12:14 PM on March 18, 2010


I seriously doubt anybody loves it on a gut level, but maybe some people admire it academically.

I'm really wary of this. You sound like the many who were enamored with pre-Chiastic Slide Autechre. As for "random sounding", I don't know if that's right either: Autechre tracks usually sound real arbitrary on first listen, but certain harmonic lines pop up in their music that's real hard to shake off. No doubt that Tri Repetae makes for a bit of an easier listen, but don't discard the stuff they made afterwards. Music is different things to different people.

That said, the mix is astounding. It is incredibly long, and perhaps it takes time to digest like their stuff usually does.
posted by zer0render at 12:15 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


BTW, the chat wasn't disabled, it just capped at a certain number and everyone after got a "banned" error.
posted by hyperizer at 12:22 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I knew what Oversteps would sound like before I got it: just tons of glitchy fractured random sounding occasionally harmonious electronic fiddling.

It sounds a lot closer to Amber than they have been since LP5, to me.

I seriously doubt anybody loves it on a gut level, but maybe some people admire it academically.

I was able to interview Sean Booth a couple times some years back. For him, taste is definitely a gut feel and that Autechre should be listened to on that kind of emotional level, but unless he's changed his philosophy much, I get the sense that he sees music releases as a static thing, like a photograph. The sound is what it is, so either you feel it or you don't, I'd guess would be his perspective.

People dance at their live sets, too, feeling the sound on this more direct, instinctive level. When the two musicians get to modify the programming in live sets, I'd argue this is when Autechre makes its body of music unique. Booth claimed that they released "sound programs" in the early naughts, generative works that are much like Eno's 77 Million Paintings. Their minidisc release is also a kind of programmable work, once you hit the shuffle key and let the short pieces permute into something new.

Maybe there will be a popular digital music format in the future that allows something a bit more dynamic than a package of MP3s bundled together, something like a Max/MSP runtime app turned into a music format, something algorithmic that can be played as music players get wrapped into smaller and more portable computers (like iPhones etc.). If there is, I'd bet Ae would be among the first to exploit it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:24 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've had Oversteps for a few weeks. It is easily the least "out there" music they've made in years. They've managed to incorporate some nice melodic elements, without sacrificing what makes them compelling - the complexity.
posted by davebush at 12:24 PM on March 18, 2010


Yep, Oversteps is unexciting work, and frankly mediocre. I'm a big fan, have gone to their concerts, have all their stuff, and like most of it, but I think they're running out of ideas, at least on this effort.

Re: the mixtape - it sounds like maybe you can get a taste of something like it from All Tomorrow's Parties 3.0: Autechre Curated, two discs, I have it, and it's pretty good (bunch of hip hop also).
posted by VikingSword at 12:41 PM on March 18, 2010


I seriously doubt anybody loves it on a gut level, but maybe some people admire it academically.

I haven't listened to Oversteps yet, but I've listened to Confield dozens of times. Once I taught myself how to listen to it properly, it became such a beautiful and rich, even spiritual work. Listening to it makes me want to cry, no joke.
posted by naju at 12:46 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not being snarky. I bought it and listened to it, but only a couple of times I must admit. I'll give it a bit more time. I tried hard with Confield, and there are bits I do like, but it's work to listen to it. This is all subjective of course, I can only say how I personally responded to it. Do people really think their recent stuff is on a par with Amber? That's a beautiful album, just obviously, no hard work required to see that.

Honestly, I think that you can find beauty in any old crap if you really want to and you're convinced it's there. I once made some really lousy home-brew beer when I was student, and my room-mate and I drank all 40 pints over the course of a few weeks. By the end, I was finding all sorts of hidden complexity in the flavor and really liked the stuff, but my brain was almost certainly playing tricks with me. If you're not liking it the first time you try it, admit it to yourself: it's just not very good.
posted by snoktruix at 1:35 PM on March 18, 2010


Do people really think their recent stuff is on a par with Amber?

It needs a different set of ears, definitely. Confield and EP7 live in their own organic, generative world that is beautiful in its own way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:02 PM on March 18, 2010


There is a remix of Basscadet that is only available on 10" vinyl. It is one of the greatest floor exploders ever. I have a really good memory of throwing that down circa 1994 and people on the floor were just screaming in delight.
posted by pashdown at 2:07 PM on March 18, 2010


It needs a different set of ears, definitely. Confield and EP7 live in their own organic, generative world that is beautiful in its own way.

"How would you rank autechre albums from most favorite to least?" is such an oddly divisive question. I like ep7, for instance, but can't stand confield.
posted by juv3nal at 2:08 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


snoktruix: "If you're not liking it the first time you try it, admit it to yourself: it's just not very good."

This is a terrible approach to anything with an element of subjective taste. You have no idea how many wonderful things you are missing out on if you approach the arts in this way. The world is full of beautiful things that are not very rewarding until you listen to or see enough context. Why settle for only those things that you will be re-exposed to incessantly whether you want it or not (you will hear enough rock and hiphop to be able to give it a few thousand chances).

I am not intimately familiar with IDM, but I can draw some parallels from my history of listening to harsh noise.

About 20 years ago I joked with some friends that if we made a Merzbow cover band we could just go up on stage and do anything at all and nobody would know the difference. Today, after years of listening, going to concerts, talking to other fans, and making my own music, I can pretty reliably tell if an unknown piece of music is by Merzbow vs. Hajokaidan vs. The Haters etc. and I can recognize a significant number of Merzbow tracks by name (including almost anything on one of his CDs that I have owned).

Similarly when I first got into harsh noise I was an adolescent and just liked the intensity and hatred and anger in it. But today I can get much more nuance, and even in arguably the least listener friendly genre there are subtleties (both cerebral and emotional) that became apparent after years of acclimation and reflection. And it also acted as a gateway to more deeply appreciating a number of other related genres: 20th century art music (including aleatory music, serial music, cluster compositions etc.), free jazz, free improv, ambient, power electronics, psychedelic music, prog.

I shudder to imagine the intellectual and creative poverty that accompanies an attitude like "if you don't like it the first time, give up on it".
posted by idiopath at 2:24 PM on March 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


juv3nal: "I knew what Oversteps would sound like before I got it: just tons of glitchy fractured random sounding occasionally harmonious electronic fiddling.

Is that just pre-emptive snark or have you actually listened to it, because I think you're far far off the mark if the samples on the bleep page are anything to judge by.
"

This is precisely my question. I have it. As someone said, it's a lot more of a return to Amber than anything in over a decade. It's definitely *not* Amber, but it's not Confield, or Chiastic, or hell, even Draft. It's like Quaristice, only more fully developed with it's melodies.
posted by symbioid at 2:43 PM on March 18, 2010


phrontist: "I saw them live last weekend in full generative mode, and it was surprisingly danceable, in an id-release sort of way."

All their livesets are very danceable. The past 3 or 4 shows I've seen IIRC were all very popping bass heavy dancey sets.
posted by symbioid at 2:45 PM on March 18, 2010


Perhaps I should modify it to, "If you're not liking it the first few times you try it, admit it to yourself: it probably isn't to your taste". By all means, keep trying, if you've got the time. How long do I have to persist with it until I am allowed to pass on it, months? There's a lot of stuff competing for my attention. Maybe you should try listening to track from Confield to get an inkling of what I'm talking about here. This is fairly impenetrable stuff.
posted by snoktruix at 2:48 PM on March 18, 2010


The world is full of beautiful things that are not very rewarding until you listen to or see enough context.

I certainly agree with that. I'm just suggesting that there are also cases where the beauty is so dilute and hard to appreciate that's it's arguable whether it really exists. But since we can't make rigorous arguments either way, perhaps we should all just assume that any work of art at all is brilliant and profound, or would be if we just took the time to appreciate it.
posted by snoktruix at 3:08 PM on March 18, 2010


I guess this is what we mean when we say "divisive." Far from being impenetrable, when I listen to this track from Confield, I honestly hear a totally solid hip-hop banger. Listening to it now, nodding my head and tapping my feet. And those reverse strings struggling to break into the mix break my heart every time. Maybe my brain is broken ;)
posted by naju at 3:19 PM on March 18, 2010


And that's as good as this is it? Come on... don't bullshit me.
posted by snoktruix at 3:23 PM on March 18, 2010


snoktruix: "Maybe you should try listening to track from Confield to get an inkling of what I'm talking about here. This is fairly impenetrable stuff."

LOL fairly impenitrable

Here are some some works by artists I name dropped. or alluded to above
Merzbow
Krzysztof Penderecki
Iannis Xenakis
Alvin Lucier
The Haters
Hajokaidan

tl;dl: Basically what that Autechre track you linked to is to me on a first listen is a more approachable version of something between the Xenakis piece linked above and the Merzbow - similar things going on structurally with pop-friendly timbre and melodics.
posted by idiopath at 3:26 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


snoktruix: "cases where the beauty is so dilute and hard to appreciate"

Dilute is the wrong metaphor here. Try well hidden or challenging maybe.
posted by idiopath at 3:29 PM on March 18, 2010


Merzbow? That's nothing... .
posted by snoktruix at 3:37 PM on March 18, 2010


I'm just suggesting that there are also cases where the beauty is so dilute and hard to appreciate that's it's arguable whether it really exists.

I'd agree that trying to evaluate the beauty of a sound is a subjective process and doesn't provide much of a basis for deciding whether something is good or bad. But there is a complexity and richness to later works that the earlier stuff lacks. Perhaps there is value here.

As challenging as the newer stuff is, there's the process of getting to those beautiful moments that makes the journey more rewarding and enriching than being fed easy-to-digest sounds.

On subsequent listens, I find something new and beautiful from diving back into the fractally-rich sounds of Confield-era Autechre, and while I definitely like the listening ease of Amber and Tri Repetae, I don't think they have the same power to surprise and move me, the way they did when I first heard them.

I've been to their hills and valleys and taken in the sights. The newer territory contains multitudes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:59 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Their song Reniform Puls from Draft 7.30 is especially frustrating for me. I really like the first 3 minutes, which to me sounds as good as anything they've done. Then it transitions into essentially random joyless glitching for the rest of the 8.5 minute song. It's like the two versions of Autechre in one song.
posted by snoktruix at 4:09 PM on March 18, 2010


snoktruix: "Merzbow? That's nothing... ."

Merzbow is distinctly not nothing, his body of work is notable for the kind of music that remains itself no matter what you add to it, so it would be more aptly dismissed as being everything. At once. Existential questions aside, my point is that much more challenging music (structurally, timbrally, attention span-demanding etc.) than the stuff you are pointing out is definitely listenable and rewarding. If we applied the same standards to reading the publishing industry would be dominated by books written for the reading level of an average 9 year old child. Of course more challenging isn't always better. But my objection is to dismissing all music that takes work, or thinking, or acclimation and exposure over an extended period of time.
posted by idiopath at 4:16 PM on March 18, 2010


I didn't mean to dismiss all such music (or art, books, etc.). Of course some music takes time to grow on you (it might not even be "challenging"). In this instance, I've given it some time (years actually) and it's not growing on me, so I guess I'll move on (sadly).
posted by snoktruix at 4:45 PM on March 18, 2010


On subsequent listens, I find something new and beautiful from diving back into the fractally-rich sounds of Confield-era Autechre, and while I definitely like the listening ease of Amber and Tri Repetae, I don't think they have the same power to surprise and move me, the way they did when I first heard them.

Perhaps the reason why Amber has that effect on you, is because it is immediately accessible, and while there is depth there, it's somehow more easily exhausted because the surface "likability" of its mood is so overpowering. Whereas with Confield, it's like learning a new language - it takes some time to break the code, but once you do, you discover a new landscape. I love Confield. At the same time, their last two albums do nothing for me. Oversteps seems rather to tread along using the same old idioms, with nothing much new - and what it does is not particularly interesting. Same with Quaristice, treading water. It's not offensive, just not challenging, and doesn't seem to break new ground. Amber is very different from Confield, but Oversteps doesn't take me into new territory. Confield seemed to me sharply defined with deliberate aim and effect, where Oversteps is meandering and frankly - weak sauce. Maybe it's me.
posted by VikingSword at 4:46 PM on March 18, 2010


I dug up my old interview texts for Sean Booth's views about some of the discussion about aesthetics in this thread:

BP - If Autechre was just starting out, do you think you'd be able to make an album like Confield?

SB - I have absolutely no idea! (laughs) I hadn't really thought about it. I mean if one had already existed already, yeah, there would be a much better chance. Do you know what I mean? If it existed already, eh, you'd be able to reference it and make it, so yeah of course you would be able to do it. I mean it's not a question of whether you're able. I don't whether we'd be able to just pluck it out of thin air the way that we did, if we'd just arrived on the scene. I'm not even sure if we'd be the same people, so we wouldn't be making the same music, for definite.

BP - I guess what I'm asking is if there were necessary steps between your first album and where you are now.

SB - Yeah, it's inevitable I mean if you do anything for a long time you get familiar with aspects of it and things become easy and transparent. You don't have to think as much. I mean the thing I've noticed all the time is just how natural things have become. I don't have to consider things at all anymore, you know, you just literally sit down and do what you feel like doing, because the machine has just become an extension and you don't have to think about learning about using it at all. It's like having an extended finger (laughs). But yeah it's sort of I mean I don't know really, I mean you can't really say, whether or not you'd do something "if", "if", because that "if" is just, if it's just far enough in the past there's gonna be so many things it would be corelative with, you know? You just can't possibly say, it's not even the sort of question you can answer honestly, you know? I mean I could just say something, but whatever, I can't be bothered anymore that's why I can't be bothered doing interviews; it's just too much bullshit game-playing, you know. It's like, yeah. I don't know -- it's weird that part of life, it's like you're expected to do it sort of thing, like you've got an onus on people that buy your records to explain what you're doing, even though you wouldn't even bother to explain it to your mates, you know what I mean?

BP - Do you think Warp would take a chance today on something like Confield, if you were just starting out?

SB - Yeah, Warp.. I mean, I don't know, it's hard to say. I mean, when we met em they were really taking a lot of chances and they were really against the grain at the time it was like pure hardcore. When we met em they seemed like the kind of the label that would really, I suppose they just let the artists do what they wanted. They just seemed that way, just from the stuff they'd been releasing. Like A Word of Science is pretty nash album and Frequencies, even though they were like pretty unpopular, I thought they were wicked. They're obvious a label that are prepared to stick their necks out for something they like, so, yeah I don't know really. I can't really say what they'd be like if I met em now cause I know em too well, it's impossible to say, and it might be the same for them.

I don't even know if something like Confield could have developed hermetically, completely hermetically, you know. I don't know if we would get to that point naturally without anybody having heard our material, it's impossible to say, you know. I mean this speculating about what the future could have been had the past been different, and that's just complete denial of the chaos of existence, innit? You know, you have to appreciate that everything relates to everything.

BP - How do the fractal and crystal covers of EP7 and Confield relate to the music, thematically?

SB - Well we don't do it by means of explanation, we do it because it something else that we're satisfied with aesthetically that we like and then we don't really plan any other consideration if there's something that we've developed a technique for or something that we've got an interest in there's a good chance that there's an aesthetic reason for it that's pretty pure, if there's an intent to be anything beyond that, it just tends to be the love of the thing in itself, you know and the way it relates to us, I suppose, I mean that's kind of it, and yeah the graphics are just another example of what we like, really.

BP - No statement about...

SB - No, not at all, no more than the way that I tie me shoelaces, you know. I mean it's just to what kind of people we are, and you know, I mean we've been doing our own graphics since, well since LP5. I think you've got a sort of idea of, I mean we're quite diverse aesthetically as well, you know, in terms of visuals, so but at least we feel we are, maybe we're not, maybe everything seems like its personal if that's the case, then i guess we've done a good job of being honest of what we like, you know, i mean the images don't really necessarily relate to the music anymore then that they're just you know what we like at the time, the same way the music is, really. Um, I guess the only thing that relates one to the other is that we did it.

BP - No statement about generative...?

SB - No more than like the tracks are making statements about each other, do you know what i mean? I mean if you've got two tracks in a release, you don't say track 2 is making a statement about track 1, so it's just the same way the sleeves isn't making a statement about the music, do you know what i mean?

BP - No hint about you and Rob operating as a pair?

SB - It will do inevitably, because we did it, you know? What I'm saying the link is, is... if you want to create a tangible link, then we are it, because there isn't any other. We don't sort of go, oh well these tracks would look really good with this kind of graphic, it's more like, I really like this, I want to put this in the sleeve, what do you think? do you like this? yeah, I really like that, that's the kind of thing I'm into at the moment -- excellent, let's do it. And then it's on there -- you know, that's it, I mean we don't really think any more about it, really. It's just what kind of mood we're in at the time, same as the music, you know.

I think that the fact that there's only us tying the two things together makes it more interesting, I think you know we're revealing more about ourselves over the years, when we're doing it that way, i think the less contrived you are about the way you present music the better, really, although there is an opportunity for expression, so it's good to take it and to do something. I wouldn't call it art in itself, though, I mean obviously it only exists as packaging for music, so.

BP - No message to listener; just information passed between you two artists?

SB - Inevitably when you produce something there's a dialog; but um I think in the case of sleeves it's just designing a package that we'd like to hold at that time. Um, I guess we make a consideration about the music, beacuse its, the music is usually already there by the time we get to doing it, but it's usually a case about just sitting and making something that we like, cause I guess if you like it then that's all you need; you don't need anything else related to it.

We're not creating conceptual products, it's just an expression of taste, that's all, you know. We're not trying to say anything with what we're doing. We're literally just putting out what we'd like to be out there, you know, I mean I buy quite a lot of music and I think the world would be a better place if Confield was in it, you know, if I could go into a record shop and buy it, I'd be pretty happy. I mean that's the only reason we do it, no other reason to make music really.

...

I mean, all music is generative. Okay, any music. There's no.. as long as there's a rule and there's a determination in terms of process and you've got an algorithm. Any music can be broken down like that. I mean, it's really easy, the algorithm just becomes more complex in certain cases and simple in others. It might not have anything to do with how the music sounds, either. It might not be exactly directly or indirectly related. No, I don't use random number generators -- I fucking hate em. They're rubbish. I use a few chaotic operators but in terms of how much of it is bound to the system, I'm not really sure. Um, it's kinda like saying, if you program a drum machine, that the drum machine is writing the track. If that's the case, then we might as well not bother doing anything. I mean, should we give up? (laughs)

BP - What I mean is, is the instrument a third member of the group...

SB - No not at all. It just facilitates. It's just tools.

BP - Seems chaotic, like you're on the edge of losing control.

SB - The software is available, so as far as we're concerned we have to consider its use, and so we apply it where it is necessary, where it seems applicable. I mean, you know, they are tools, we're the people that are using them, there's a definite distinction got to be made -- you can't start treating software like it's got a personality or taste, you know? Taste is what defines people, it's what makes us different to software -- we're not software, you can't possibly consider a bit of software to be like a person. It's not 2001 -- I mean, it is, but it's not. We're not talking about fucking HAL, we're talking about a few bits of number crunching objects that don't really do a great deal until you feed them numbers and tell what to come out with.

It's like any generative processes are so-called lifelike algorithms; it's like cellular automatons supposedly replicating life-type behavior, it's fucking rubbish. They don't do anything of the sort, but they make really nice patterns. But I wouldn't imbue them with intelligence, just because there is intelligence behind their creation. It's like saying pyramids are clever.

It's silly, really. Yeah, I'm well into like messing with algorithms, 'cause I like the way things can interfere with each other, but... and I really like the exactitude of control you can get and the amount of math you can have within your system, or amount of system within the system, you know. I don't think any different now, to the way I felt when I was plugging a 202 into a delay unit that reads the square wave and generates a delay at that pitch and then changing the square wave width so that the delay unit gets confused. I don't feel any different now to the way I felt then, it's just the same, I mean, the fact that we're using computers to do it now, just makes it different set of criteria, different quanta.

I suppose the best part about it is designing systems from the outset using raw components, but that's not really different any from knocking PCBs up in college, so. It's all the same kind of thing, really. Electronics and the kinds of systems we use for programming are dead similar, that's probably why I use them. I don't do a great deal of codebase stuff, I'm pretty shit with code.

BP - Ever work on programs that run and sound like Autechre?

SB - Yeah, we've done a fair bit of that. We've already done a couple of releases of recordings of systems that generate recordings. I think our first Fals.ch release came out about 18 months ago, maybe even two years ago. We've done a few things like that. You don't get the familiarity aspects, you don't get the sort of direct communicative aspects you get with recorded music.

BP - How so?

SB - Well, because it's not direct communication, really. Well, you could say that it is. There's a case to argue either way. For me personally, I don't feel like it's a "direct-er" communication, if you like, or it's not a succincter communication. It's kinda like writing fifty different poems, that are all very very similar. I tell you, it's almost like releasing every version of a track we'd do. Instead of doing eight versions of a track..

BP - Recycled tracks?

SB - No, a lot of them are just sort of remixes of the same track. Same basic premises with a few things changing. Might be based on the time between pressing stop and start, or something. Quite often its user input-based, but the users don't know that they're creating input, you know. I think these are the most interesting systems, really, cause they think its random, but you know it isn't.

...

BP - Seems lots of electronic musicians are heading in this direction. University of Aberwrystwth in Wales working on DNA to music sequencing. Lots of groups exploring natural processes in music...

SB - It has to be something that you love, you know what I mean? No point in DNA sequences... It's kind of conceptually quite interesting but it might sound crap, and you know, if we thought it sounded crap then we wouldn't pursue it. We wouldn't say, "Well, like let's continue this project because it has to be a representation of a DNA sequence," because then you'd be sort of denying your own taste and I think taste is all that can define you in making something.

BP - It's just an example of a source of material.

SB - If you really like the way it sounds, then... It's such a slim chance of that being the case, and I think... you wouldn't be in control of the numbers, you'd be a slave to a number set that isn't anything to do with you. It might be that you really like that number sequence, but I don't think there's a great chance of that happening, not compared say to algorithms, where if you just keep increasing one number then another number changes and creates a nice curve, and you might really like that curve. But I don't think a DNA sequence is going to generate any really nice curves, I think it's just a set of switches, isn't it? I mean, it'll appear almost like a random sequence, so, I can't see it being that aesthetically pleasing.

BP - Different organisms with same proteins but each with different sequences, take a musical comparison of sequences.

SB - I think it'd just annoy me though, because I couldn't change the numbers. I don't think I could work that way. I couldn't work like that. Nah, I'm into extrapolating data but I think that you have to create it in the first place. You can't just start with somebody else's data, it's like, we're not MIDI files, if we're gonna do that.

BP - Evolution is creating new sequences all the time.

SB - Yeah, but why should we be observers? Do you know what I mean?

BP - So your goal is to create evolving systems of your own?

SB - Well, yeah, I mean there's no point in just being an observer of a system.. yeah, I mean it depends on how you define an evolving system, I mean. If it's something that always different every time you use it, then yeah, we are. But I don't think we're necessarily like biotechnicians, you know. And I also don't see the point in just playing the role of the observer, I mean if we were gonna make music using DNA sequences, it'd be really boring. I mean, we might as well become photographers, you know. I mean, what're you doing? You're just reiterating something that already exists, and, alright fair enough, it's beautiful. But you're not responsible for that.

BP - It's just one example...

SB - No, no, if you throw a rock in a pool you're responsible for the ripples. So using the ripples for information would be quite nice. But if you... and also, you'd be responsible for that, because of the angle of the rock going into the pool, and the shape of the rock, and the depth of the water would all be influencing the way the ripples worked, and you'd be wholly responsible for the ripples.

If you just take something that exists from an independent interaction, then you're essentially sampling, which is like photography and like a lot of other things, uh, which is not quite as interesting to me personally, though I do see there is a great forum for exploration, for communication or sort of comment within those areas. I don't think these are necessarily as interesting to us as those of synthesis. I think we're more interested in synthesis, really, generally.

I think natural processes will inevitably going to be a part of whatever system you use, I mean, without electrodynamic properties we wouldn't have any of the systems, any of the systems used to make music, period. I mean, in terms of the sort of music we make, I think it's there inevitably anyway.

I think, the trick is to be aware of what you like within that, just the same way it is with everything. Probably all it comes down to is taste, that's the only thing you can say is constantly there and is constantly feeding what you're doing, and it's the only thing you can possibly lay claim to.

BP - So no meaning, just taste.

SB - It's all about taste, completely about taste. Yeah, 100%. Totally.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:54 PM on March 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: Maybe there will be a popular digital music format in the future that allows something a bit more dynamic than a package of MP3s bundled together, something like a Max/MSP runtime app turned into a music format, something algorithmic that can be played as music players get wrapped i

RjDj is almost exactly this. Very neat. It's based on PureData rather than Max, but the concept is as you describe.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:22 PM on March 18, 2010


I think autechre are some of the best djs around, regardless of their productions. I'm really excited to hear this mix, but I suspect that their mixes are made by some computer algorithm. Behold: http://www.archive.org/details/Autechre.
posted by fuq at 9:54 PM on March 18, 2010


I've always been mixed on Autechre. I've followed them from the first Artificial Intelligence compilation but got off at LP5 when I found I was buying their stuff and never finding myself in the mental space where I could listen to it.

Around that time, I saw them live at the best Lost party ever. East london warehouse, main room was on a wooden beam floor that you could see the room below through, with the same deal above you. Autechre were in the chill out, which was a cavernous space filling the full three floors. The transition from the close, organic, dark space full of bodies heaving to the pounding techno (Fumiya Tanaka & Jeff Mills IIRC), into the enormous white industrial cathedral draped with fractured tonality. Unforgettable.

Not long after the party, they did a remix of '8' by Various Artists (Torsten 'T++' Profrocks alias at the time) that is actually a fairly straight 4/4 club track. I used to play it in when I wanted to take a set to a more fucked up place. Great texture.

Various Artists - Remixes I think it's also on the first Fat Cat compilation.

I still dig Incunabula out late at night. Think I'll put this mix on in the car.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:42 AM on March 19, 2010


So it looks like Oversteps can be found on youtube. I've had a bit of a listen and there's definitely callbacks to older style stuff there. Treale hearkens back to an earlier era sound for sure.
posted by juv3nal at 2:25 AM on March 19, 2010


A couple of months ago I went through the Autechre catalog for the first time in awhile. Like a lot of people, I'd relegated some of their later stuff to "disappeared up their own ass noodling". (I'm in the camp that puts Amber as one of the great electronic albums of all time).

Anyway, I was doing other stuff, not really paying to which album exactly was playing, when I was struck by just how beautiful and awesome a particular sequence of tracks was.

To my chagrin, when I looked at my playlist it was Confield, which i'd dismissed years ago as twiddly glitchy wankery. Well actually, it was to my delight, because it meant I had a "new" Autechre album to explore. Now I rate Confield pretty highly.

And now there's there's an *actual* NEW Autechre album! Will I fall in love with it now, or in 2016?
posted by the bricabrac man at 4:11 AM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not long after the party, they did a remix of '8' by Various Artists (Torsten 'T++' Profrocks alias at the time) that is actually a fairly straight 4/4 club track. I used to play it in when I wanted to take a set to a more fucked up place. Great texture.

Various Artists - Remixes I think it's also on the first Fat Cat compilation.


They drop that in this mix. It's pretty sick. Discogs seems to think Various Artists means that it's an actual compilation, though!
posted by mkb at 6:57 AM on March 19, 2010


Autechre are one of the best things to throw at my monkey mind when I really need to concentrate. I really do celebrate their entire catalog [heh]. Thanks for the linky too. I'm old enough where I forget to go looking after my favorite artists now and again and didn't realize they had new stuff on the way. The streamcap is just so much extra gravy.
posted by Fezboy! at 8:49 AM on March 19, 2010


Oh damn, I love coding to Autechre and I had almost forgotten about them. Awesome.
posted by ch1x0r at 5:20 PM on March 19, 2010


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