The steady transmogrification that has marked Autechre’s career up to this point continues with the release of Oversteps. Marking the 10th official LP from the duo of Sean Booth and Rob Brown, this collection of songs often abandons overt rhythms and conventional percussion, and instead leans on keen construction of unsettled sounds carefully balanced into combined presences. The arrangements hang in spaces of their own definition, each track making and breaking its own new set of rules. The approach seems as intently focused on the precise attributes of the chosen sounds as well as how those sounds are wielded. Brittle shards of electronic crystals, ringing panes of translucent metal and soulful robotic chirps are put to work to create otherworldly harmonies of songs with typical Autechre titles such as “ Known(1),” “See On See,” a “0=0,” “krYlon,” and “Redfall.”
However, the British pair hasn’t completely forsaken their techno roots for the inscrutability of abstraction. Distinct, well-planned drumbeats find employ in “Qplay” with its rising and falling breaks and “Treale” is a slow-paced bit that could be categorized in the trip-hop bin. As the name might imply, Oversteps finds Autechre moving ever farther from easily defined musical touchstones. It doesn’t always make for a relaxed listen, although it is certainly capable of settling in as a moody background or standing in the forefront captivating rapt ears. The swarms of noise can be both comforting and disconcerting, but each finds a place of its own as this duo continues their run of impressively novel music making.