Great insight and interview with Autechre at The Austin Chronical.
Austin Chronicle: Are the components of chance in your music premeditated or do you stumble upon elements and allow them to run amok?
Sean Booth: Even though a lot of it is deterministic, there’s quite a lot of feedback within the software. I’ll use conditionals. If one thing is occurring, another should occur, or if one occurs too much, another should occur or not occur, but the thing occurring may also have conditionals attached to it, which relate, to say, a third thing that may have conditionals relating to the first. You can quickly get into territories where you can’t necessarily predict the output of the system.
But I still wouldn’t call that chance. I would say it’s a limitation of my brain, of not being able to perceive the pattern that’s there. When I discuss chance elements and randomness – because there are lots of different types of randomness – certainly where computers are concerned, there’s no such thing as pure random. It’s just implementations of different ways of achieving something that’s unpredictable to a human in a given context.
AC: And what about Warp’s role in the visual design of your records?
SB: Warp literally has no involvement in anything creative we do. If you see any graphics, it’s because we’ve approved them and worked with the artists. We’ve worked with a few different designers over the years. Mainly Designers Republic, who have done the vast majority of our releases. But also, a guy called Alex Rutherford. And then we did a few sleeves ourselves. In terms of Designers Republic, they’re the most awkward and the most likely to do something we don’t expect, but it’s usually something we’re into. We have occasionally not liked ideas they have come up with, but more often than not it’s something that grows on me quite quickly and I end up really liking.
Visual aesthetics obviously play into what we do. We’re visual people, which is why we put the lights off, otherwise we just think about visuals. But we don’t really think of the visual aesthetic when we’re making music. We only think about presentation when compiling for releases. And that’s partly why we use designers. They offer different vantage points.