Review: Autechre – Move of Ten

Yep, another Autechre release already – with listeners still in the process of digesting March’s Oversteps, Move of Ten arrives as a surprise companion EP with ten fresh tracks. Personally I’ve struggled to tap into their soundworld on the recent batch of releases; although the restless, jittering electronics of Quaristice and the aforementioned Oversteps scored favourable reviews on the whole, both albums failed to connect with me at all. Credit to Autechre though. They manage to create an atmosphere which encourages further exploration and glimmers with the allure of something beneath the surface (depth and colour for some, vacuous dissatisfaction for me).

Yet on the whole Move of Ten has clicked, for a reason I’m unable to pinpoint. Given the short space of time between this and the LP, there’s understandably not a drastic progression in terms of sound. Perhaps it’s the fact that the rhythms and timbres seem to converse more fluidly – although the overall sound is as babbling and sporadic as you’d expect from Autechre, there’s a definite feeling of unity and direction that wasn’t quite there with Quaristice or Oversteps.

That’s not to say I’m completely bowled over by this EP. A few tracks stand out from the impressive (though never really astounding) bunch – “pce freeze 2.8i” is all plod and squelch percussion with hideous chords and synth clauses seeping out of the echo of grimy sewers, “nth Dafuseder.b” hovers over the beats as a gloomy figure bent and contorted by winds. But album closer “Cep puiqMX” is the absolute highlight for its haunting second half, with a fierce, barely rhythmic flurry of beats punctuated by a chilling chord that rings out and melts into silence before striking once again.

There are still moments where Autechre dip into the alienating and incomprehensible sounds of those recent releases, and occasionally points at which the record stoops into what appears to me as functional mediocrity, though thankfully these are effortlessly outnumbered by hefty amounts of electronic-experimental-glitchy-whatever goodness. Move of Ten has arrived just as I began to lose faith. Good timing.

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