Title: Draft 7.30
Format: Double LP
Catalogue Number: WARP LP 111
Year of Release: 2003
A1 Xylin Room (6:21)
A2 IV V VI VII VIII (4:18)
A3 6IE.CR (5:37)
B1 Tapr (3:14)
B2 Surripere (11:16)
C1 Theme Of Sudden Roundabout (4:49)
C2 VL AL 5 (4:55)
C3 P.:NTIL (7:06)
D1 V-Proc (6:12)
D2 Reniform Puls (7:47)
More god-like electronic genius from Messrs Booth & Brown, and although it's not as immediately accessible an album as Chiastic Slide or LP5, Draft 7.30 is at least a less difficult affair than 2001's respected-but-not-enjoyed Confield.
Opener Xylin Room even contains a nod to Basscadet, but the metallic clang of a melody is soon subsumed in the stuttering cymbals and bass kicks that typify the work of this period. A surprising change in tone comes halfway through though, through the simple introduction of some light chords. I actually got up to check it wasn't track two starting, such was the change of feeling. The same rhythm section clattered back to life, and continued to a long fade out.
IV V VI VII VIII's beat is very harshly filtered to the high end, which creates a strangely solid but scratchy sound that keep the track together, for the most part. All kinds of randomness goes on over the top, most of which I suspect was created by applying other effects to the original beat source, with perhaps the sole exception being the keyboard solo, but maybe even that too. The overall impression I got with this track that a beat was created, and then teased and tortured until it couldn't stand any more. At the end Autechre poke it with sticks, and it gets shakily to its feet before keeling over and breathes its last.
Track three continues the percussive feel, and in common with many tunes on this album, any melody is lost under the rhythmic assault. It is also similar to the first track, as a chord sequence enters part way through changing the feel entirely. This time though, the rhythm alters when it comes back in, and starts to malfunction.
Tapr is an odd little thing, much skittering around a cello-like bass line, chaotic but calming, like watching a large fire. It's really just an intro to the 12-minute Surripere - itself a much more subtle exploration of sound and the possibilities of electronic music programming. It's plodding along nicely, a bit like one of the splitrmx tracks, when the beats from track 2 suddenly crash the party. It's testament to their programming skills that this happens without losing the rhythm, and things breed and evolve as a result. Strange bass notes with geological decay times come in, and unlike some of the frantic jitteriness of other tracks, the beats slowly develop over the entire length. I don't think I'm selling it too well, but trust me, it is astonishingly good.
Theme Of Sudden Roundabout and VL AL 5 are similar in that there's a lot of clattering about, which resolves itself into a 'proper' beat eventually. VL AL 5 is the better of the two, sounding further away, and it breaks up into a load of static and glitches, which is always good. P.:NTIL is all chirrups and someone knocking on the door, held together with a descending analogue bass. It lacks direction a little, but the erratic chiming over the latter half of the track was nice.
On the final side V-Proc is probably the most challenging number on the album, and the most reminiscent of Confield. It's harsh, and it finishes suddenly. Reniform Puls, by contrast, is clean and crisp. With a simple, fast beat like something from 1994's Amber, it soon gets increasing complex as more sounds are crammed in. It gives the effect of the beat speeding up, but the tempo remains the same, there's just an astonishing amount squeezed into the loop, and some great bass notes too.
Here's an interesting interview, originally published in The Wire: http://www.deelan.com/music/autechre/wire-230.htm
It contains two quotes I'd like to end with:
"Vinyl's the best format. CDs are all or nothing," opines Brown, warming to the theme. "They skip and glitch. Say you buy a CD and you can't actually play it - that's it, it's gone. Whereas you could build your own record player with sticks and needles and paper combs. With digital, once you've lost the power source, you've lost everything."
"We've had it all," sighs Booth. "More accessible, less accessible, cleaner, dirtier... In the end, you get completely confused. It's like, what does the world think? It's just snap judgements. It does take our music a few weeks to sink in."