Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:23 PM   #1
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Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

There are a few "Autechre patches" threads around, but I'm not that interested in patchers and patching per se, but more like the scientific principles going around in Autechre's music (and patches).

I'm currently thinking stochastics (e.g. Markov chains) since that's pretty standard for generative sequencing.

But what else?

What kind of theory is there for "Autechre sound"?

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Old 04-02-2016, 09:25 PM   #2
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

Heavy modulation of parameters in FM synths. Be it the FM section of the Nord Lead (they've said in interviews they love that machine) or Modulating complex FM systems in MAX/MSP.


That said, it really all depends on what era of AE we're talking about. I'm talking EP7 era.

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Old 04-02-2016, 09:26 PM   #3
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

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Old 04-02-2016, 09:28 PM   #4
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

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Originally Posted by chasedobson View Post
Heavy modulation of parameters in FM synths. Be it the FM section of the Nord Lead (they've said in interviews they love that machine) or Modulating complex FM systems in MAX/MSP.


That said, it really all depends on what era of AE we're talking about. I'm talking EP7 era.
There are so many techniques they've done.
On one track the vocal fx sounds a hell of a lot like them just playing through the vocal sample on a HDR using ff which just drops out the odd frame here and there.

I was blown away when I first used a Machinedrum and realised it was pretty much a draft/untilted box.
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:30 PM   #5
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

Scientific principles.

The forum might not be the best for really technical discussion, but I'm looking for the "technical why" really. In a signal processing or sequencing algorithm sense.

E.g. what's it in Machinedrum then that's "Autechre"?
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:31 PM   #6
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

There is no science involved dude, it's just two dudes with boxes, knobs and ears.
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:34 PM   #7
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

They've claimed somewhere that they're doing some math stuff. That what they do in Max/MSP is not "naive" or "playing around". Specifically it's not "random".
But perhaps should be based on having some knowledge about what technically works as well.

Generative music can be approached mathematically as well. As formal systems sort of.
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:36 PM   #8
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

They claim a lot of stuff and that may well be the case for some tracks.
Sean has also said that they're usually just getting stoned and noodling around until they like the sound that comes out.

I dunno, maybe go read the AAA (ask Autechre anything) thread over at watmm that I linked. Bound to be some geek questions on technique in there.
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Old 05-02-2016, 12:33 AM   #9
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

before exai, Sean was on a podcast with Andrew Mckenzie saying he had taken the last year to start programming in real code but after the album dropped I think he said in an interview that max's Gen update allowed him to do the stuff he was trying to do with code. as of right now i think they are saying that all their studio and live work is pure maxmsp and their patches allow them to do full linear composition as well as generative conditional stuff. i guess on the technical end they probably have a giant library of modules that they have created over the past 2 decades. pure fucking elbow grease.
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Old 05-02-2016, 04:51 AM   #10
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

Quantum Physics.

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Old 05-02-2016, 12:38 PM   #11
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

MAXmsp, FM and generative composition. Whenever someone mentions either of these, I instantly think of Autechre.

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Old 06-02-2016, 12:18 AM   #12
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

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There is no science involved dude, it's just two dudes with boxes, knobs and ears.
The instruments have been designed using scientific principles.

I'm asking about those, particularly, why Autechre gets sounds that they get.
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Old 06-02-2016, 02:31 AM   #13
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

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Originally Posted by mviljamaa View Post
The instruments have been designed using scientific principles.

I'm asking about those, particularly, why Autechre gets sounds that they get.

They seem to put a lot of focus into dolling up garden variety sounds with elaborate fx chains and copious modulation. They have thrown around words like physics and tried to market themselves as a super geeky band but they probably haven't made any real breakthroughs in DSP technology or anything. Their music is like Star Trek. tons of props and garbled up language makes it look like the future but its really just a bunch of home depot stuff glued together and tons of coffee in the writers room. The most technically interesting thing about them is how they link their dual maxmsp laptop setups together in a live show.

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Old 06-02-2016, 02:36 AM   #14
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

Yeah it's weird that there are some things that are "pseudorandom" (created using typical processes, but perhaps e.g. insanely modulated) or e.g. creating effects chain orderings that are non-typical.

What one then hears is a combination of things, rather than anything clearly discernable.

But I also think there are certain processes that cannot be "faked". I.e. that granular synthesis sounds like granular synthesis.
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Old 06-02-2016, 02:59 AM   #15
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

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Originally Posted by mviljamaa View Post
Yeah it's weird that there are some things that are "pseudorandom" (created using typical processes, but perhaps e.g. insanely modulated) or e.g. creating effects chain orderings that are non-typical.

Likely this, resampled and arranged into songs.

When i was chasing this sound that was the MO, use Max and/or Max4Live to modulate all sorts of parameters on FM synths, record the output and take the best bits, turn them into songs.

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thats how the tune above came about.

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Old 06-02-2016, 10:39 AM   #16
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

Reminds me of Richard Devine, nice.
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Old 11-02-2016, 07:54 PM   #17
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

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Originally Posted by grinzler View Post
They seem to put a lot of focus into dolling up garden variety sounds with elaborate fx chains and copious modulation. They have thrown around words like physics and tried to market themselves as a super geeky band but they probably haven't made any real breakthroughs in DSP technology or anything. Their music is like Star Trek. tons of props and garbled up language makes it look like the future but its really just a bunch of home depot stuff glued together and tons of coffee in the writers room. The most technically interesting thing about them is how they link their dual maxmsp laptop setups together in a live show.
I can tell you with 100% certainty that this is not accurate.

Having recently looked under the hood of their current work, I can tell you that after 25 years of electronic music, it is simply put the most advanced system I've ever seen. It is incredibly in-depth and robust - while at the same time allowing for as much free-form or structured live composition as they feel like doing at a given time. Parameters for just about anything can be controlled in real-time or allowed to operate independently, based on conditionals.

These guys are absolutely at the forefront of policy when it comes to computer music and how it's made, and are a large part of why specific software creators are scrambling to make changes to keep up with the needs of end-users.

Thinking of sound design in terms of "effects chains" is a drastic oversimplification of how max/msp works and a discredit to the software, as you probably know already. The things you are hearing in AE_Live, for instance, aren't really just simple sounds run through effects chains - they are individual modules created with all of the sonic parameters baked in at the source level, which is an entirely different methodology than "snare>compression>reverb>granular delay."

When thinking of Autechre, in my experience, it's no longer sensible to think in terms of songs, or records, or live shows, or the two guys that made it. The work is the system they've created to make sound, the rules that they set up for themselves to break at a moment's notice, and a borderline obsessive interest in futurism and escapism. Add caffeine and sativa.

YMMV,

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Old 11-02-2016, 08:55 PM   #18
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

Thanks for that rare insight. It's not often (read as never) that we get info like this straight from the horses mouth(ish) here.
Please pass on our highest praises next time you see 'em.
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Old 11-02-2016, 09:49 PM   #19
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

Quote:
Originally Posted by benelli3000 View Post
I can tell you with 100% certainty that this is not accurate.

Having recently looked under the hood of their current work, I can tell you that after 25 years of electronic music, it is simply put the most advanced system I've ever seen. It is incredibly in-depth and robust - while at the same time allowing for as much free-form or structured live composition as they feel like doing at a given time. Parameters for just about anything can be controlled in real-time or allowed to operate independently, based on conditionals.

These guys are absolutely at the forefront of policy when it comes to computer music and how it's made, and are a large part of why specific software creators are scrambling to make changes to keep up with the needs of end-users.

Thinking of sound design in terms of "effects chains" is a drastic oversimplification of how max/msp works and a discredit to the software, as you probably know already. The things you are hearing in AE_Live, for instance, aren't really just simple sounds run through effects chains - they are individual modules created with all of the sonic parameters baked in at the source level, which is an entirely different methodology than "snare>compression>reverb>granular delay."

When thinking of Autechre, in my experience, it's no longer sensible to think in terms of songs, or records, or live shows, or the two guys that made it. The work is the system they've created to make sound, the rules that they set up for themselves to break at a moment's notice, and a borderline obsessive interest in futurism and escapism. Add caffeine and sativa.

YMMV,
i think they are superb at what they do and are geniuses at blending things together but i doubt they hold any patents. their career is partly based on making those music patches so you can expect them to be impressive and bewildering and they still use the same discrete parts that we all do (vosim, fft, physical modeling etc). a effect chain is still and effect chain if it looks like a spiderweb and intercepts web traffic data or something.
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Old 13-02-2016, 06:21 PM   #20
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Re: Autechre techniques (science/math point of view)

But there are different sorts of effects chains.

I enjoy music that uses unrecognizable techniques. That is, that involves sounds that are "inconceivable" and "not heard ever before". Inconceivability means that one cannot pinpoint what it is or how it was created. That I think is creative, rather than "what the masses do".

Autechre still has that "freshness" in some of their music. That is, sounds or rhythms that one cannot conceive (since they don't remind anything known). But they're still beautiful.

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