It has only been a few months since the release of Oversteps, but as is often the case Autechre have released some additional material to accompany it. It has been released as a double-EP, one 12″ of four tracks and one of six.

‘Accompany’ may be the wrong word, but the relationship between albums and EP’s released by Autechre is always particularly interesting. Because of the huge amount of off-cuts and tour material Rob Brown and Sean Booth create, it is usually the case that some of the work is released later as a separate EP. Indeed, at 50 minutes there is enough material here to fill another album. However, with the additional freedom that an EP allows, they can often provide a platform for some of Autechre’s most interesting and experimental work. With Quaristice, a series of remixed and extended versions arrived in quick succession to the release of the album. Quaristice Versions partnered the limited-edition of the cd and Quaristice.Quadrange.ep.ea followed as a digital release. In all honesty, it was all a bit much, both for the brain and the wallet. Despite the quality, they ended up lessening the impact of the initial album somewhat. It was always a more successful arrangement when the EPs brought something entirely different to the table, but still had a creative relationship with the album proper. This is exemplified by Chiastic Slide and the Cichlisuite EP, LP5 and EP7 or Tri Repatae and the Anvil Vapre EP. So, what of Move Of Ten?

The first and most immediately noticeable characteristics are the density and texture of the music compared to Oversteps. The whimsical space-ambience aspects are largely rejected in favour of dense, fibrous machine music. Of course, this style featured intermittently on Oversteps too. Tracks such as the excellent ilanders belong to the same family of deeply opaque production. But where Oversteps seemed to try and comply with the structure and variation expected of its album status, Mo10 is freer to be a much simpler beast of compressed noise and fizzing vibration.

The first track Etchogon-S shudders the first record into life like a rebooted robot, jerky and uncertain, recalibrating operating software, familiar noises shifting in and out of alignment. Once these formalities are complete, full systems operation begins with the outstanding y7. This track encapsulates the lightness of touch that was exhibited throughout Oversteps. The overarching melody is deceptively simple but the tension and textures running through it are wondrously complex; a rich carpet of dexterous noise.

pce freeze 2.8i exhibits drexciyan characteristics, a techno hybrid with spooky synths and acidic squelches set amongst a thumping bass. rew(1) is a blistering, funk laden delight. It is reminiscent of the distorted slap-bass rhythm exhibited on LP5. This is Autechre on the top of their game; dissecting simple beat patterns, analysing their characteristics, processing and shredding each facet, then weaving back together in the most intricate manner.

Alongside pce freeze, nth Dafusereder.b offers the closest alignment to straight-up techno over the records, albeit brutally and beautifully disfigured. It’s heaving, fragmented bassline shares a common language with another Oversteps‘ highlight, d-sho qub.

iris was a pupil not only eschews the Autechre track naming protocol but also the record’s door policy, returning to the glassy, crystalline structures of Oversteps’ more ambient moments. Again, as featured on sections of its sister album, it is of lighter construction but the tension between its delicate layers remains. No Border, M62 and ylm0 continue in a similar vein of subtle, nebulous density. It is a tranquil lull prior to the violent, lacerated crunch of final track Cep PuiqMX. It ends almost mid-beat and offers little clue to the ongoing direction Autechre may take. It is a final nihilist gesture, such is its blatent ferocity it is as if it were an intentionally screaming decoy.

And you would imagine that is how Autechre are happy to leave things, keeping ‘its’ audience guessing. More than any other electronic musician they keep evolving their production with each release. There are certainly references to earlier works in Move Of Ten, and you can trace tracks from the Oversteps’ families; ideas are revisited, moods are enhanced, systems are developed. But nothing stays the same. It makes for fascinating, exhilarating listening.

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