Boomkat Product Review:
20th anniversary reissue of Æ’s particularly cranky batch, exploring avant-B-Boy steez and emulsified CPU innards against the grain of an increasingly retro-fixated electronic music field in 2003.
After flipping electronic music on its baldy bonce with ‘LP5’ (1998), and paring it back to slippery algorithmic asssymetry on ‘Confield’ (2001), Autechre found a sweetspot between the thrust and aesthetics of those albums with follow-up ‘Draft 7.30’. It’s what we could loosely call Autechre in their 3.0 phase, before its finale 2005’s ‘Untilted’ triggered a new cyborganic sound that has persistently, unpredictably mutated ever since, while keeping some semblance of their spirits in the matrix.
With benefit of hindsight ’Draft 7.30’ feels caught in flux between their ‘90s and ‘00s periods. Late ‘90s necksnap hip hop instrumentals dissolve/resolve in truncated, fractal spirals and baroque melodies are masked, smothered into acrid gunk with a quality approximating wickedly illegible freehand graffiti freed from walls and gone 4D. They properly fuck with the listener’s sense of rhythmic anticipation, with non-linear grooves that hinge around displacements of typical snares, encouraging the imaginary B-Boy dancers in their mutual like-mind to go harder, freakier, more asymmetrically angular than before.
To be honest, it’s not our favourite Æ album, but it still pisses on most other stuff from that period, sporting inimitable cuts like their opener ‘Xylin Room’, which sounds like Art of Noise doing 2-step, or the metallic jigginess of ‘V-Proc’ (which was more recently bootleg edited by Croww), and the likes of their writhing organism ‘P.:NTIL’, and the extended posthuman electro trip of ’Surripere’.