I always wondered what Autechre would sound like outside the confines of their sterile studio environment, and finally Warp came to my rescue in offering up this peel session of the group in action. Of course, now that I've heard the disc, it's not like they really sound any different than they do normally, which is a joy. One of the most interesting things about this 3 song, 25 minute release isn't that it was released in 1999, before their EP7 release, but that it was originally recorded way back in 1995.
Of course, as I mentioned before, it's not like the group goes completely crazy on any of the tracks or anything. If anything, there's a bit more of a measured quality than on their newer, more experimental releases. It sounds kind of like that perfect bridge between the gorgeous Amber, and the harder-edged Tri-Repetae. Of course, considering when it was recorded, that should probably be the case anyway.
Things start off with the 6-minute track "Milk DX," which has a beat that sounds like someone trying to slog their way through a kidding pool with lead boots on. In come the nearly trademark clicks and whirs and other lovely sounds, until finally the track is one big, pulsing whole comprised of fractured bits and a pretty little melody that drifts in from the background and holds it all together. "Inhake 2" moves along with plenty more gurgling noises, as well as a sample of a voice that may have been human at some point. The highlight of the disc is the nearly 11-minute closing track entitled "Drane" ("Drane 2" appears on their 1998 Self-Titled release). Progressing at nearly a snails pace with a skittering little sound that recalls restless insects on a summer night, a drone slowly finds its way to the forefront of the track and engulfs everything at one point (with only light sonar blips barely audible behind it). After a few moments of being pitch bent and tweaked, the drone drops off slightly and a little heavier chiming rhythm comes in to carry things to the end.
Overall, if you like Autechre, this disc is a must have. Not only is it three tracks you've probably never heard before, but it's a decent amount of music and doesn't run that much money. It's not quite as strange as their new material (although that's not a bad thing), and it provides yet another interesting document of the groups sound.