So I can’t honestly say if it’s good or bad yet.
It’s worth noting that the author was about four years old when the records he’s discussing started coming out.
Overall, I thought it was interesting.
I think the theory is overwrought (Adorno and IDM?)* and perhaps more than a little misplaced (Literary theory?). The author also missed out on one key element of Richard D. James’ “fourth wall breaking” as he terms it in this paper. The “faceless DJ” was itself a memeplex, both internal and external; Aphex was, in part, pranking that concept by putting his face on everything.
As an aside, I have not read all of Simon Reynold’s Generation Ecstasy, but I do find his line about the “aut” in Autechre standing for autism funny. I don’t get it – go listen to Envane and tell me there’s no heart there, Mr. Reynolds! – but then again I didn’t have a bunch of fundamental drug experiences to rave back when it was a subgenre rather than an event description.
* My wife is somewhat in love with the works of Walter Benjamin, so this is the only place I can say “The Frankfurt School were all dickheads” without getting into an argument.
I also like to throw the occasional stone at The Quietus, if only because their Britishness is often overwhelming in a way that makes me feel slightly punchy*, but this particular essay is mostly true. I have no stake in what happens to hip hop as it wallows in its hair metal denouement, but autotune and dancehall seem like a perfect match to me.
My own version of that article would skip AutoTune and jump directly into British rappers, as in “No Brits – and perhaps no Europeans – should ever rap in public.”
The sidebar would be a transcript of a prank call to The Spaceape asking how many shillings a year he gets paid to mumble about his grocery bills. (I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all but holy mother of fuck is he ever a musical shit midas.)
* As in “wanting to punch something”, not tired. But if you needed an indie rock and pop and a little bit of whatever source to read on the internet, you’d be hard pressed to do better than they.
Both Autechre and Warp Records are to be commended for offering an absurd variety of ways to listen to Oversteps. Vinyl, .mp3, 16-bit .wav, 24-bit .wav and CD. Since 320kbs is how most of my music ends up, I only spent ten dollars. I still feel a bit weird about that, since I have every other available CD release sitting on the shelf behind me. I know it’s the future and all, but I still feel a pang of regret, like something has been lost.
There are few regrets on Oversteps – it’s a little bit old, a little bit new. As I’ve mentioned before, the key to each Autechre release are their cover art. A black circle, clean upon first glance but on closer examination appears to be a bit smeared. A mighty grey san serif runs in the left-hand corner, top to bottom, with their name half-eaten by the black stamp.
Clear as a bell.