Artist: Gescom (Autechre)
Format: 12" single
Catalogue Number: SKA020
Year of Release: 2003
A1 ISS:SA (9:18)
A2 Tangle Ill (7:49)
B1 TR2A (5:20)
B2 Slow Acid (9:41)
Lovely artwork with this record, the kind of thing that reminds you why records are great - because often they come with stuff like this in, which wouldn't look anywhere near as good in a 5" x 5" CD case.
Although, to make up for it, the CD release comes with a bonus 15-minute Gescom megamix, which I've heard, and reminded me of a live performance I saw in, I think, a cathedral in Manchester. There were four people in boiler-suits and face masks, and they each had a minidisc player or two. Each minidisc player seemed to contain only very short loops and fragments. I think I've made it sound better than it was.
Anyway, the vinyl release has little of that gubbins, and is all the better for it. It was released one week after the album Draft 7.30, and my controversial decision to review it first is based solely on the fact that I'll always put off a difficult job until I really have to do it.
ISS:SA is vintage Autechre, reminiscent only of them and sounding like no one else. Elements of their live performances, EP7 and Gantz Graf all combine, and manage to take the whole thing a step further. The beat free-ending of Rhodes-like keys in long, unpredictable arcs is glorious.
Tangle Ill is my favourite of the whole EP. Wet funk drumming and a drunken keyboard solo wandering over the top, becoming progressively more aquatic and cacophonous until it overwhelms itself and chugs to a halt. And strangely danceable too.
The 'megamix' elements only appear on TR2A, which sounds like a number of different tracks surgically spliced together. Technically impressive, running at feverish speed, but it only just has enough variation to keep the attention.
The final muddy squelch of Slow Acid brings a great EP to a close. It features a much more normal rhythm track that is standard from these guys, but this gives them free reign to explore the often cliched world of the acid-house synth line.
The track ends in a manner that I've spotted previously on Autechre releases, and I'm going to call it "Frequency Choke", which I like very much. Not a bad Autechre track title, in fact.