Autechre: EP 7

Warp/Nothing, 2001

EP 7 cover

This lengthy EP is organized into four movements, each represented by a different image on the back cover. The first movement is the most accessible, with “Rpeg,” serving as a good link to LP 5. A regular beat drives squelchy bleeps and backspin bass layered with seemingly random chirps, though close aural examination reveals a complex melody. It took me a few listens to be able to follow the subtle effects in “Ccec.” Changing notes perfectly balance a stuttering rap in this meticulous study of hip-hop aesthetics. Next up is probably my favorite piece on this release. “Squeller” harkens back to the glorious days of Chiastic Slide with swirling crunchy sounds subtly conveying a beautiful melody.

I had a more difficult time getting into the second movement. The rhythm of “Left Blank” is a bit too disjointed for me, though I have a feeling I’ll enjoy it more when I’m in a dark mood. “Outpt” is another toughie, with repetitive heart-thumping beats and swirling distorted sweeps. Very hypnotic and intimidating.

Luckily the third movement kicks in with more approachable melodies. “Dropp” is an achingly beautiful track with one of those alien melodies Ae is so good at creating. “Liccfii” is more atonal, but the bass notes keep things moving. “Maphive 6.1” is simply awesome with kettle drum sounds and orchestral electronics. This track is literally exciting as it shifts along only to break apart. Somehow it reminds me of the gorgeous, primitive electronic music from Mega Man 2 for the NES.

Finally, represented by a Pacman-grid maze of a photo is a three-track fourth movement. “Zeiss Contarex” is a tapping beat under increasing distortion. Static scratches out music box melodies until voices emerge. On “Netton Sentinel,” chunky clatterings threaten to bury ghostly notes. The melody’s almost too minimal even for me. “Pir” brings back the Ae bass depths I’ve grown to love. Delicate tones coincide with suction-cup pulls of noisy beats. Alienation and joy mix in a bittersweet interface.

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