Gescom: MiniDisc

OR, 2006

MiniDisc cover

Gescom (in this case Autechre and Russell Haswell) released this MiniDisc-only experiment in 1998, intending listeners to loop and shuffle its contents. There are forty-five tracks split into eighty-eight cue points with many snippets only a few seconds long. So how does this translate to CD? Unfortunately, not very well. Die-hards may want to rip this to their iPod and try out its new gapless playback capability.

Still, moments of ingenuity shine through, and a couple of solid grooves do congeal. After seven variations of “Cut Begin,” “Amendment 84” and “Helix Shatterproof” are little Autechre hor d’oeuvres. The four parts of “Pricks” are a fun listen. “Le Shark” is a series of tasty broken hip-hop beat loops. “Cranusberg” is sparse ambience. Later tracks experiment with distortion and static, with bursts of noise resembling shortwave radio.

This CD doesn’t work well as a straight-through listen, but it’s an important document of an award-winning project, and it’s great source material. In today’s climate of MP3 players and computer listening, I can see these sounds finding new life.

4/5 stars

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