Review Summary: Arguably, Autechre's best rounded album, and surprisingly, very listenable.
“Lentic Catharsis”, last track of Confield
, fractured reality, opened a gate to another dimension, and left it there for you to trespass it, at your own risk. What was in there? While not the expected answer, Draft 7.30
could be one of them.
Before destruction there is creation: so before Untilted
there was Draft 7.30
strikes as a soundtrack to a new beginning, the creation of a new reality, it portrays the constant, slow and painful struggling for existence, the miracle of creation, the expanding and overcoming the obstacles, until it blossoms and becomes a marvelous thing that finds its place in this chaotic, yet beautiful Universe.
A musical journey in ten acts or “movements”, each one is linked to the next; excitingly building up until the tragic and uncertain end arrives. The first two tracks - “Xylin Room” and “IV VV IV VV VIII” - introduce you to this chaotic and pullulating force trying to find his way out to life, among the darkness and confusion. The fragmented and disconcerting beats, the dissonant soundscapes, the strange noises depicting a subtle presence; a dim, dissimulated micro melody revealed once in a while in the unsettling mixture of sounds, all of it suggests an undeniable blind will for existence.
“6IE.CR” works the same picture, but from the outside, the rhythmically, waving yet oddly beats simulate a nucleus of energy, around which all matter gravitates, with sparkles of new substances and accidents preparing the way for what it will arise soon. Everything feels the urgency to escape, but is kept tightly near the center, denied any purpose or intention. The almost danceable rhythm suggests an unearthly sense of order among this restrained chaos.
“Tapr” changes the scenario: something has happened and announces something monumental, but completely unexpected. The music gets more abstract, haunting, disorienting, and almost minimalistic; the beats come and go and the sense of unity fades away; there is an underlying motif that never reveals itself, surrounding and permeating the atmosphere, quickly, critically approaching the center piece and climax of the album: “Surripere”. Everything prior to it leads inexorably to this point; everything after it is just a progression.
At the very core of Draft 7.30
, “Surripere” is one of the finest compositions Autechre ever created. In its 11+ minutes the album’s central idea is developed, carefully paced and ornamented. The blind will of existence is finally present; however, it is silently, quietly introduced. The forced, remaining unity instantly disappears: a new order of things is promised, coming out from a long, long, long state of unconsciousness. Inexplicably, the miracle has happened, but not without its accidents. The music suggest something beautiful happening surrounded by constant danger. A dreamy, hypnotic atmosphere terribly undetermined, always at the risk of turning into nothing, ropes this new little miracle, until it finally is unleashed into the vast space.
From here, every following movement narrates the expansion and affirmation of this new existence, and presents itself as a joyful victory. Without restrain, it transforms every thing in its path: “Theme of Sudden Roundabout” and “VL AL 5” are small acts of experimentation at creation, as every element in this new world seeks its place among its multiple configurations. The music turns less abstract; a sense of the order is drawn; although the beats are still insecure, there is an increasing sense of confidence, strength and clarity in the music as it progresses.
“P.-TIL” is a mockery at the previous weakness and uncertainty. The beats are steady and almost
upbeat, as if this new born reality were self-aware of its new found strength and found great joy in it. The music is playful, almost kind to the other-world, external observer. “V-PROC” is the album’s more daring statement, teasing the listener with its infectious rhythm and exciting buildup, speaking directly to you as if you had the privilege of beholding it. The piece is full of life, but at the same time approaches a different kind of chaos, derived from an excess of power, standing as the magnificent evolvement of this primary will that prevailed from “Surripere”.
Unfortunately, nothing is ever perfect: this beautiful reality finds its eternity was not such a thing. “Reinform Puls” signals severe internal issues, and the reality starts to collapse. A sad, tragic feel permeates the song, as all the previous vitality fades away and an opposite force gives way to something destructive and corrosive. It feels like a different version of “Tapr”, but if that one promised a new beginning, this speaks oblivion. The nature of the next album is foreseen, as “Untilted” will be the soundtrack to a reality eating itself.
Hearing an Autechre album can be quite an experience. You are never sure what you will find out, but you can be sure it will be something strange and unique. If Confield
defies perception and Untilted
touches its very limits. Draft 7.30
moves in between, turning in a more accessible experience while being an amazing, entertaining one. Certainly it is not for everyone, since the album continues the harsh sonic experimentation the aforementioned Confield
started, and whose glimpses can be traced to EP7
will not disappoint to those looking for something different and challenging, but at the same time, somewhat accessible.