gescom - "key nell"

autechre/gescom's rob brown and sean booth have had more hits than misses, despite their sketchy software / technik navel gazing sessions from the last few years. some of their strongest efforts are variations on a loose theme, key nell. remixes, derivations and reinterpretations of this song rhizomed throughout their catalogue in the mid to late nineties, yielding a fascinating body of work that really should be considered in its full scope eventually, perhaps as a compilation. for now, though, we're fortunate to have this cd reissue lovingly recreated (cd-sized bubblewrap and all!), of the boys at their peak.

key nell is simultaneously a technique (like those rapid vocal stutter-effects), melodic hook and compositional element that binds all the songs into a modular meta-song. it's a sly wink and a reward for the attentive listener and dedicated consumer (skam stuff ain't always cheap); i can't recall offhand any other artist who's developed this idea so extensively. this is no finished song with various live jams a la the grateful dead - some songs are so distinctive one doesn't catch on for multiple listens. try mixing chiastic slide's cichli over four and you'll find that they're almost the same song. sorta.

all the mid-period autechre-isms we've grown to love are in full effect here - mechanical, severely downpitched samples that sound more like clacking factories than alien craft, uncannily funky basslines that twist like moebius-strips and those trademark haunting melodies. it all sounds very five years ago, very non-laptop to my ears, but in that time, no other group has surpassed this, not even autechre themselves, though not for want of trying. the most important cd you'll buy this year.

for more information, please visit skam records.