Title: A1 - B1
Format: 12" single
Catalogue Number: SKA028.1
Year of Release: 2007
A1 A1 (6:42)
A2 A2 (5:29)
B1 B1 (7:52)
Always an exciting moment, a new release from the mysterious - although definitely Autechre-related - group Gescom. Some of the best electronic EPs ever have been released under the Gescom moniker. The Sound of Machines our Parents Used, Keynell, and This/That to name but three that I somehow, inexplicably, don't already own. Autechre themselves have been pretty quiet in the last two years, some light remix duties notwithstanding*, but Gescom have gone fully four years since their last proper release (one I do have) ISS:SA.
A1 initially harks back to ISS:SA's third track TR2A, being very cut-up and DJ-styled, but without that track's surgical precision, instead coming across as a much harsher and messier affair. Vocal samples are scratched in as well as occasional backwards beats and stopped-turntable effects. The first few minutes are entirely composed of repetitions on this theme, and some dark throbbing note, and I was thinking that something else surely had to happen, when a burst of eighties-edged synthesizer came in, riffing on the beat and in time with the breaks beautifully, changing when the beat changed: changing key; tempo; even switching between running up or down notes or staying static stuck on the same note; all matching perfectly with the percussive madness behind it all.
In the last third of A1, the notes drop octaves again and again, the beats get a bit more interesting and less frenetic, and it slowly rumbles to a halt, but there's a feeling that they revealed their hand a bit too soon, and could have pulled out about the four minute mark and left a better impression, to mix a metaphor or two.
A2 is more like ISS:SA's Slow Acid, basic drum beats and acid-squelch synths, retro robotic blips and rumbled low tones again at the end. The only variation comes from filtering the various synth lines, but the tune reminds you that a well deployed filter can be very affecting.
B1 probably sounds great in a club, where the (again) quite standard beats would stand out more, but at home, I found the up-tempo harshness of the beats and incessant random clatter, sample stab, and chatter over the top to be slightly disconcerting. The lack of hook or handle on the tune made for seven minutes of relentless quasi-melodic tedium, the quieter last minute or so being more bearable, but it still had what sounded like a slap-bass sample in there somewhere, which is just plain wrong.
* Stop Press - New Autechre album due March 2008. See autechre.info for details