Autechre, "Oversteps"

Album Review
4

Offbeat British electronic duo Autechre's 10th studio album, "Oversteps," brings a sonic collage of unobtrusive ambience, subdued melodies and fragmented rhythms. Although the group has often been placed under the subjective umbrella of intelligent dance music, it avidly avoids such classifications by going to great lengths to evade the predictability that often befalls techno and rave music. Opener "r ess" swells like a growing haze, but as a simple sketch it remains static and undeveloped. Rhythm is secondary on the song, with a steadily jagged snare click-clack that seems to fall in and out of place. This nebulous nature enhances later tracks like "os veix3" that feature more traditional sequencing. And "known(1)" is techno-maché that's led by spacey, harpsichordal synths amid layers of secondary melody and rich bell-like overtones. Splicing sounds and rhythms that sometimes complement and often compete, "Oversteps" creates an evolving harmony built on its own continuous assembly and breakdown. --Connor McKnight