Autechre - Draft 7.30 (Warp)
Should 'Draft 7.30' restore my faith in one of electronic music's most revered icons, a bit of amnesia would be in order.
'Gantz Graf' was an amplified projection of what an ant would expect to hear while crawling atop a microprocessor with a stethoscope pressed to its walls. Sophistication removed completely its personality. Autechre gave platform to their tools and in the process lost an audience.
'Draft 7.30' should come with a set of instructions.
Be alert, wear headphones, and play it earbleed loud.
It's an isolating listen and will unsettle even the most passive audience. It begins with a locomotive energy that graduates throughout the LP. The first four tracks, while they gather the necessary ingredients to drive the album, ultimately work as a foundation for 'Draft 7.30's' magnum opus. 'Surripere'. The best track from Autechre in years. They have rediscovered their genius, turning electronic audio into a workable marching hymn for digital gremlins. From a palette of split rhythms, broken tones, and punch your jaw beats, 'Surripere' describes a sinister, otherworldly setting. There are no star players. Every component shares an almost collectivist role in making this a brilliant composition. 'Surripere's qualities are underlined by its violent swagger. This is the music that steel-toed boots would make.
Though 'Surripere' prevents it from taking best in show honors, 'P:ntil' is nonetheless an emotionally affecting statement. what begins as an off balance parade of beats and buzzes rounds a corner and bridges to an effusive and weighty conclusion, highlighted by the stamping of Autechre's signature chimes. 'P:nil' is reminiscent of 'Tri-repetae', which is praise enough. on an unfortunate note, '6ie.cr' has Autechre going through the motions in territory they're not comfortable with. It will take some convincing otherwise, but I think they're taking the piss with that track. Apparently, they received the memo from the Warp mother brain. "Remember folks: don't forget to include a nod to hip-hop."
Even the variations in style don't keep this album from seeming linear. With few exceptions, it's consistently cynical to the senses. The labors of Rob and Sean are inherent. This album carries its audience to an unfettered setting; an emotive connection with this music is not easily established and is even more difficult to describe, but it exists. Mind you, this album isn't always intricate; it possesses a combination of approaches. However, what complexity can be found is not worn for the sake of winning the hearts of a geeky fanbase.
'Draft 7.30's' core is impenetrable from a casual listen. If the needle dropped at a random point, the probability of finding a dull track would be high. This album is best appreciated for the sum of its distinguished parts. Thanks to the highlights, the latest from Autechre is a journeyman's taming of laptop gadgetry. Few artists are making better music by similar means. 'Gantz graf' shared the components of, but none of the spirit of, 'Draft 7.30'. Rather than puke out another random volley from the noise factory, the illustrious duo have fully repaired my respect for their artistry. Maybe it's pure genius and I'm too simple to appreciate it. If that's the case, then wearing out a few tracks on my record will have to count for something.