Review Summary: Soothing, but little else.
With their last few records, Autechre managed to go totally off the deep end. They refused to return to the lulling, repetitive sound of their well-known early work, and instead focused entirely on experimentation and abstraction. Albums like Quaristice
were mind-bending, abrasive affairs, and usually lasted upwards of seventy minutes: it was like they were perfectly calculated to be nothing but annoying for those unused to that kind of cold, inhuman, and bitingly artificial music.
is different. It's not a complete regression, but Autechre reinvents themselves in their former image here, recalling past records without sounding regurgitated. Songs like "qplay" and "os veix3" are perfect throwbacks to the days of Amber
: that is, they're propelled by a simple yet aggressive melody, which is subtly accented by various bloops, bleeps, and discordant squeals. Yet everything feels slightly unhinged; the intrusions of these varying effects are much more random and discombobulated than they were on those 90's records. Thus, songs like "0=0" and "d-sho qub" are somewhat off-putting.
Despite this, Oversteps
is overall the closest Autechre's ever gotten to easy listening, especially with the added inclusion of numerous ambient tracks, like the soothing "Pt2ph8" and the vast, expressive "krYlon". But even songs that lay more on the IDM side of things simply lounge around, drifting past. Thus, much of Oversteps
is fuzzy and unmemorable, which is where my quandary with the album ultimately lays. It's a fine listen, an Autechre album released after 2000 that's actually agreeable and even soothing enough to easily make it through fully without experiencing varying degrees of pulsating anger, or at least without regrets. But the album's lack of personality is a severe drawback, especially since the majority of the album is so low-key; it all just blends together, even for the most attentive of listeners.
So, basically, Oversteps
is solid to chill to. But don't expect to be entertained/enthralled in the slightest.