Country : United Kingdom Label : Warp Genres and styles : Ambient / Electroacoustic / IDM Year : 2020

Sign

· by Alain Brunet

Any connoisseur of electronic music knows that Autechre, an English tandem once associated with the IDM trend, is a must. For three decades, the duo has been offering major works and performances. Here we are at the 14th studio album from Rob Brown and Sean Booth, and… Sign requires several listens before any conclusion can be drawn. We start in electroacoustic abstraction, sensinga beautiful spirit of research, and… the more we advance through the 11 pieces on the program, the more the proposal becomes short of breath. Why this impression? Nobody’s reproached Autechre for over-complicating things for at least a decade now, and many will be delighted by the return of melody, of convivial motifs, of the reduction of textural exploration in favour of more digestible ambient compositions.  On the other hand, others will be chilled by what they consider a return to the past or, worse still, a stroll down easy street. Here we are again in the midst of the enduring conflict between pop culture’s rejection of sustained attention to structure in the listener, and the advocates of fundamental research and historical advances in composition in the digital age. These days, the first trend largely prevails over the other, and it can be assumed that Autechre have taken note of this, hence the return to more consensual forms. The harmonies and melodies presented here are rather banal, strings of motifs repeated on the synthesizer, accompanied by synthetic ornaments serving harmonic progressions no more complex than those of instrumental pop intended for mass audiences. The problem here is not so much the return to melody and consonant harmony as their slightness and triviality. A balance between accessibility and exploration was probably desired, but the predictability of the forms persists. A sign of the times?

Latest 360 Content

Hannah Hurwitz/Colin Stokes/Daniel Pesca – The Night Shall Break

Hannah Hurwitz/Colin Stokes/Daniel Pesca – The Night Shall Break

All Quiet On The Western Front Composer comes to Montreal as Hauschka

All Quiet On The Western Front Composer comes to Montreal as Hauschka

Ruins of Azur – Ruins of Azur

Ruins of Azur – Ruins of Azur

Our Afro-descendant hip-hop: rap, consciousness… under-representation

Our Afro-descendant hip-hop: rap, consciousness… under-representation

Joel Ross – nublues

Joel Ross – nublues

What a time to be alive! A conversation with Sarah Rossy

What a time to be alive! A conversation with Sarah Rossy

Apolline Jesupret – Lueurs

Apolline Jesupret – Lueurs

A Very Elegant Marriage of Strings and Jazz

A Very Elegant Marriage of Strings and Jazz

Marc-André Hamelin – New Piano Works

Marc-André Hamelin – New Piano Works

OSM | Variations on a Theme With Louis Lortie et Eun Sun Kim

OSM | Variations on a Theme With Louis Lortie et Eun Sun Kim

Alex Southey – God’s Green Earth

Alex Southey – God’s Green Earth

Galan Trio – Kinesis vol. 2

Galan Trio – Kinesis vol. 2

Vanessa Marcoux – Cendres

Vanessa Marcoux – Cendres

Waxamillion – Steezy

Waxamillion – Steezy

Single of the Day – ChabiFönK Experience – Pandora Project

Single of the Day – ChabiFönK Experience – Pandora Project

CRAWL – Damned

CRAWL – Damned

Chelsea Wolfe – She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She

Chelsea Wolfe – She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She

Didem Başar: Music, space, time Continuum

Didem Başar: Music, space, time Continuum

On the credibility of Bob Marley One Love

On the credibility of Bob Marley One Love

Taverne Tour Day 3: Last Waltzon Tears It Wide Open

Taverne Tour Day 3: Last Waltzon Tears It Wide Open

Taverne Tour Day 3: Ducks Ltd. is Mirror-Polished Pop

Taverne Tour Day 3: Ducks Ltd. is Mirror-Polished Pop

Bela Fleck – Rhapsody in Blue

Bela Fleck – Rhapsody in Blue

Subscribe to our newsletter