Draft 7.30 (Warp)

After Autechre's Sean Booth and Rob Brown issued Confield in 2001, many fans wondered if the British duo had lost its mind in a labyrinth of software plug-ins and hallucinogens. That disc and its follow-up, 2002's Gantz Graf, set new standards in antisocial digital-sound splatter. These releases also polarized the electronic music community. The scuttlebutt: Either the lads were executing an elaborate hoax (and banishing all traces of "music" in the process), or they were so far ahead of their time, it would take humans at least five years to understand this new direction.

Draft 7.30 won't convince haters that Autechre has returned to its (altered) senses. If anything, Autechre has practically transcended genre here -- but, to give you a toehold, this CD's roots are in electro. Granted, it's a grotesquely mutated form of electro. More helpful signposts include Iannis Xenakis's ominously dissonant compositions, Edward Artemiev's eerie soundtrack to Andrei Tarkovsky's sci-fi epic Solaris, Coil's diseased atmospherics, and explosions in video arcades. Draft 7.30 is sonic chaos arranged with maniacal attention to detail, and it's all the more disturbing for how precisely it evokes madness.

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