Listening - Thursday, Jan 30th 2020

NTS Session 3

“There’s another side left?” was a question I found myself asking throughout the day as I listened to this. In a weak moment sometime in 2018 I pre-ordered the vinyl box set. I like Autechre a lot – top Autechre is fantastic and classic. I’ll be replaying Chiastic Slide and Cicli Suite and EP7 and others until I die, I’m sure… but I’m skeptical of this data-dump trend generally.

This three-record set which is only 1/4 of the full release could have easily been whittled down to a nice EP, with maybe a few b-sides leaked out here and there on the side. There are some very nice moments, I prefer the more textural outings on this collection, and other volumes in the NTS series have some of the best IDM-slurp-swarms they’ve ever accomplished. Still, it’s all buried under basically mediocre filler that should have hit the cutting room floor.

Are we having a similar moment when CDs really took off in the 90s, capacity had hit 80 minutes and every artist or label felt obligated to fill every release to the very brim of those 80 minutes? Just because digital delivery systems allow you to fairly easily release 10 hours of music at once doesn’t mean it needs to be so!

That said, I’m thankful for extremely long-form outings like Calineczka’s Music not for Airports or Terre Thaemlitz’ haunting but beautiful Deproduction… I just wish these NTS Sessions felt as essential in their length as those.