In my review of Autechre's last album, I mentioned that I thought the duo had perhaps turned into androids or something from how their music was progressing. Although their music has always been very artificial in source sounds (that's not a bad thing), it seems like as time has progressed they've gotten even more and more out there with their arrangments and juxtaposition of odd noises. I could just imagine the last worker leaving a plant for the evening when one of the assembly-line robots throws in an Autechre discs and all the machines in the factory have a little all-night dance session to the mechanical sounds.
After less than a year, the group is back with another release and even though it goes by the titled of ep7, it actually contains nearly as much music as their last full length. Not only that, but it's an even more solid effort from the group as they not only continue down the road to assimilation, but they also manage to make the pieces fall into place even better than before. Once again, the disc has a very slick, minimal design (including a very nice embossed, frosted jewel case and some line fractals on the sleeve) that manages to capture the feel of the music contained within.
Things start off with "Rpeg" and some fractured noise that sounds like it could have been made by a malfunctioning handheld video game. Soon the madness becomes a method, though, and a very cool beat slams in behind it all while the fractured noise progresses in an almost algorithmic way. One of the best tracks I've heard by the group in some time. The second track "Ccec" almost comes off as too fractured sounding with it's chopped-up vocal sample that turns into something almost alien after being repeated through nearly the entire track. The fourth track "Left Blank" steps things up agains with a clustering of tons of different little bits of noise. It's all computer chatter and little electronic glitches, but it works quite well.
After the excellent "Outpt," the strips things down again for the beginning of "Dropp" before adding one of the most skidded-out sounding beats I've ever heard. After another skittering track "Liccflii," they come right back with what is quite possibly the neatest track on the disc. The 8-minute "Maphive 6.1" starts out with what sounds like the rumbling of a timpani drum cut short and looped down as some light sounds play over it all. Eventually, it all sort of drops off and the light little sounds come back again, this time over what sounds like an upright bass. Although it sounds like they're using organic source sounds for once, they still mix it up with enough alien landscapes to let you know it's an Autechre track. It subsequently goes through about 4 more different sounding parts before finally winding down.
The disc goes through two more tracks before ending on the instant classic "Pir." The track has some light sounds of old mixed up with some of the strangest beats and random noises I've heard. At first it sounded like a complete mess to me, but as it progressed on, I couldn't imagine the two parts without one another. It's really like that with a lot of the disc. For the most part, the group eschews normal rhythyms and opts for very strange arrangements of beats and offset sounds. Sometimes it doesn't quite work, but for the most part it's a more refined extension of the sound that the group has been progressing towards over the past couple of years. They've always put out solid releases, and this one is no different.