Since 1987, Autechre has arguably been the most influential purveyor of so-called IDM, or intelligent dance music, a characterization denoting challenging compositions that have little in common with club-friendly electronica.
But for ``Quaristice,'' due March 4 via Warp, the challenge was constructing pieces out of days' worth of material from extended recording sessions. The 20-track set is the follow-up to 2005's ``Untitled,'' which reached No. 17 on Billboard's Top Electronic Albums chart.
``We ended up doing these really long jams, like the live set, but not bothering to stop the recording if it went the wrong way or if we messed up,'' principal member Sean Booth says. A lot of the material was culled from hourlong recordings, presenting a unique opportunity to construct in what Booth describes as ``real time.''
``The decisions are instantaneous,'' he says, adding that Autechre partner Rob Brown ``is reacting to certain things and I'm reacting to certain things. When you're working in a non-real-time environment, like we did with the last album, you sort of are aware of everything. This time, I'm still finding stuff in there that I'm still picking up, and we kind of wanted it that way.''
The new album is chock-full of deep, dark grumblings amid jungle noise and Autechre's signature digital twitches, but it also contains numerous interspersed cuts of atmospheric fuzz. Oddly, while many electronic musicians are obsessed with gear, Booth and Brown have been content to forge new ground with the same equipment that produced classics like 1995's ``Tri Repetae++.''
``We actually haven't bought anything new at all,'' says Booth, who will join Brown on the road in March in Europe and in April in North America. ``It's all the same gear, we're just using it differently. (And) perhaps the old, conscious ideas are coming out easier.''
The label experimented with an early digital release Jan. 28, and is beefing up the physical edition with a bonus disc of extra material and special packaging.