Autechre gantz_graf DVD Review

EP. Released 5 August 2002.  

BBC Review

Long awaited new EP from everyones favourite brothers in algorithm, Autechre.

Olli Siebelt 2002

After months of speculation and rumour mongering, Rochdale's finest have finally surfaced with a brand new selection of material that should make most IDM fans drool with glee. The release of gantz_graf sees not only three new tracks from the band but an accompanying DVD - bringing us two brand new video pieces to accompany Autechre's unique musical vision.

After four seconds of silence in which to prepare yourself, the disc launches head first into the title track - an abrasive, complex and oddly beautiful work of timestretched lunacy. Imagine an old electro 12" fed into about three thousand sound re-processors at once, causing each instrument to spring back and forth like an electronic rubber band before building to a maddening climax and then promptly popping out of existence. Fabulous.

The accompanying video is also a stunner - featuring a rotating disc which then morphs itself into a type of motor/electricity generator in perfect time to the rhythm of the track. Director Alexander Rutterford (part of Jake Scott & Marcus Nispel's Black Dog Films Collective) hand animated 90% of the video to sync perfectly with the audio - resulting in a piece that really showcases Autechre's work in a way that has never really been experienced before. Watch it a few times and you'll never listen to their audio output in the same way. Also included here is a new one from our friend Chris Cunningham - showing off his home made robots in a rather creepy video to "Second Bad Vibel".

The other two audio tracks show Autechre in a bit of a mischievous mode. "Dial" could almost be a mutated 2-step garage track, albeit one with someone playing repetitive scales of what sounds like distorted electric piano over it. "Cap.IV" brings us to even more experimental territory with an odd mutated loop that rolls over broken speech and disjointed piano samples, morphing and shifting its way across the musical landscape, eventually ending up in a different place than where it started.

While Sean Booth and Rob Brown's music has always sat in more avant-garde circles of the music world, they've usually kept to a pretty standard formula in terms of releasing records. First, a full length which consolidates their sound as a whole, and then an EP which is used as a testing ground for more experimental work, usually laying the groundwork for the next full length. It's a good way of knowing what to expect.

However, watching the two's output over the past decade, they seem to have written themselves out of the songwriting equation more and more as they go on, allowing the algorithms to control most of the output. This may be fine for the evolutionary process of the musical being that is Autechre; I just hope they don't drift so far out into the uncharted musical universe that they just cant reach us anymore.

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