Somnambule - Writing About Music

Autechre ~ draft 7.30

... heavy slurring drums like the thunder of too-close-for-comfort artillery (IV VV IV VV VIII) ...

... perhaps the most gorgeous of the ten tracks, it appears to be a section cut from a circular whole (Tapr)...

Draft 7.30 evinces a ceaseless motion which in transit mutates, corrodes, malfunctions. It’s fascinating like the first sight of stop-motion photography. The quality of movement is predominantly heavy as in mercury or cadmium - said density marks Draft 7.30 out from Autechre’s previous work. This simple equation (movement/change x weight) conveys a sense of fearsome, unpredictable momentum.

Autechre map their own territories. Draft 7.30 at times conjures THX1138, George Lucas’s masterpiece of sound and visual design (the police chase, the crowd scenes); at times Institute Benjamenta (the abstract dances of apprentice manservants as they seek to become automata in the harsh service of future employers).

... skull percussion played with wooden fists (Xylin Room)...

...the onset of dusk activates lighting systems in a global sweep (P.:NTIL)...

Imagine hiphop channeled via low quality microphones into surveillance systems, broadcast inside urban defence architectures (cf City of Quartz, Mike Davis); imagine it caught and reflected in a hall of mirrors shattering in slow motion.

Draft 7.30 is the visceral chitter-chatter of machines as they function and malfunction, as they adapt to new conditions. It’s the rhythm of routers and sub-net masks, of mainframes and backbones. It’s the sound of the KlingKlang studio as Ralf and Florian accelerate away down a long straight on their carbonfibre frames. The robots have become software bots, viral worms; the superhighway has succeeded the autobahn.

As the complexity of systems grow, unpredictability increases. Draft 7.30 is the sound of our technological present in all its intricacy and resultant strangeness.
Colin Buttimer
January 2003
Published by the BBC