Did Coltrane blow random notes sometimes? Did Hendrix play random notes (noise)? "Chaos" can be a part of a composition, random notes can be embedded in a structure. And as AE explained, what seems to be random sometimes is actually programmed boundaries in which the machine can "improvise". If you hear a seemingly random beat or sound repeated every 3 seconds in a specific time signature, it is a pattern, so you can't call the idea, the concept, random. That said, I'm sure they just press an elbow on a keyboard sometimes, for randomness. And I'm sure you already knew what you just read.
I understand your comparison with Coltrane & why he is considered one of the father figures of tumultuous music, but just because his no-standard randomness is justified by structural improvisation and attached to his faith in God it doesn't make it any better than it is to me, just like Ae's technological themes can give some ground to their 'robotic' music. But while some prefer to romanticize, I don't. Putting this aside, I can only partially agree with you on the rest: YES, of course some (or most) of Ae's apparently random succession of sounds can indeed be the result of deliberate intentions, BUT no way in hell they consciously produce all of their music. First of all, no one has that much control over electronic instruments, secondly, improvisation is a certitude you must live with if the music you make is this complex. However, I myself believe that laziness too can turn into greatness, just as easy as from an actual effort, so it's not like I'm criticizing them or anything.
Valid points. Of course, elements in music that aren't completely deliberate or intended are not worth less than minutiously composed pieces.
To compare virtuous players of instruments (idea to sound in real time) to musicians who's impulses and spontaneous ideas have to travel from brain to controler and then meet the limits of software etc, wasn't fair in the first place. But that is where an "improvising" machine makes sense. If you programm the parameters of what it is allowed to do to your liking or aesthetics (build a musical sandbox), it is pretty similar to doing it yourself when you turn off your brain and just play. You are right, 100% control is impossible, and that can make you try harder or allow you to be gloriously lazy and let the music come to you. We are getting too deep into the subject for a shoutbox. We need groups back!
@HeadShoter, Goomba4001: Thank you guys. I wanna try to make something for other elseq tracks too. I love the fact that Autechre play in total darkness to let the listeners immerse their senses into their imagination, but at the same time I think they should also use some visual design like that. Their music is hugely synesthetic and each sound can bring to mind different images and concepts.
@Mork_Laerer That is a great video, I hope that enters the canon of Autechre fanvids (up there with the plyPhon one). It's kind of weird realizing Autechre hasn't had an official video since 2002(?). @Los_Bybys No. But it's interesting discussing the impact and resulting listening experience of the decision to release a 4+ hour album, not your run-of-the-mill album format, even for Autechre.
I've created this video for the track "foldree casual", I tried to make it synchronized with the sounds somehow. I think it fits directly with the stylistic glitch design which characterizes their art. The circles are intentional references to the elseq cover obviously. I hope you enjoy it guys: https://vimeo.com/168830450
Personally, I love that elseq 1–5 seems so unedited, unfiltered. And I appreciate that they released it the way they did, ignoring standards to fit a format/medium. It kind of frees me from the ways that I listen to music usually, because I very often play an album and almost pressure myself having to play it in its entirety, so I don't miss that "album feel". For elseq it doesn't seem "sacrilegious" to play only Part 4, or Part 3 after 2, or to make a playlist, at all (it works though, playing 1-5). It was similar with Quaristice/Versions/Quadrange, but here is seems to be by design. So, elseq 1–5 is not too long, the idea of an album/EP/single or even a timelimit, shouldn't be made into a straightjaket, for you or the music.
Part of me wishes Autechre could've released an consistently solid 1.5 hour, hell, 2.5 hour album that could've easily been one of their easiest to throw around to new fans (and uninitiated friends) and released the rest on an EP or something. Howeeever I kinda like the explorable labyrinthian feeling that comes with a giant-ass album like this. I'm torn.
Im one of those who interested in Radiohead`s experimental stuff, love albums In Rainbows, TKOL, Kid A, Amnesiac and their new alum is really bland. As for Autechre i just cant understand why they choose for lead single almost worst track like "feed1" - very monotonous boring one.... The 5th CD still best from new release.
I think the artwork makes sense as part of a set even though no individual part really stands out. I'll admit the AE_LIVE covers were a lot more interesting though, I wouldn't mind if those were swapped. Even though Quaristice had simple track artwork like elseq it still had a great LP cover to hold in your hands (especially Quarisitice Versions' metal cover—drool-worthy). Nothing beats the monolithic blackness (yet organic painted look) of the Oversteps artwork though. With their previous albums with track artwork I liked making weird synesthetic associations between the track artwork and the music itself and I know I'm going to do the same thing with elseq.
Some guys still believe that people are into Radiohead just because they experimented a bit in the past? No. It is because they are a catchy British band, nothing more... no one cares about their experimental nature no more.