DRAFT 7.30

Autechre are alchemists, I think; modern mystics seeking to turn sound detritus into gold using arcane studio methods. The language of their music as well as their track titles, is arcane and incomprehensible to the muggle, to use contemporary pop-speak. The obsession for developing a private language and the immersion of individuals in a private world of sounds belong to the domain of madmen or wizards.
Since starting a bachelor thesis on Japanese noise music, I have been listening to a lot of music for very different reasons than simple pleasure. Noise rejects musical tradition, does away with the notions of harmony, rhythm and general order. It forces you to think about music and question your tastes. That popular music is molded in a quite rigid form evolved from Afro-American tradition is no big news, of course. But thinking about evolving musical forms lacking some of the attributes of that tradition ­ for instance some contemporary electronica ­ as pointless "independent" is unfair. History is full of human generated sounds and music unconnected to the chromatic scale of European classical music and the aesthetics of blues. It is also important to note that music can have a lot of different purposes, requiring different methods.
As you might have guessed by now, Autechre make pretty strange music. Still, "Draft 7.30" does not reject musical tradition. Snippets of melody and definite rhythms keep Autechre anchored to the musical mainland. Yet the musical structure is too alien for it to actually leave the boat and stride ashore. Grounded in dance music as Autechre is, the notion of dancing to the sculptural rhythmscapes of "Draft 7.30" is not viable. Containing less ambient elements than some other Autechre records, this one goes to the bare bones of the musical language of the band. Beats are somewhat erratic and the sounds seem a little unsure of themselves. Still, like Pan Sonic (Mika Vainio refers to this as "horsemeat rockabilly"), Autechre always infuses even the most abstract, introverted tracks with a certain funkyness. These are sounds striving for a form, like a block of stone being shaped into a statue. Autechre is creating something without quite knowing what, something new and not quite controllable. I would like to think there is no purpose to it at all, and that the beauty of it lies precisely in that zen-like aimlessness.
That also forces a different kind of listening, an opening of your ears to a music that is not instantly either gratifying or offensive. You need the ears of an alchemist in order for the sounds to develop purpose and meaning inside you.