After an LP and several EPs of baffling, beat-damaged digital concrete, Autechre was definitely due for a change. Rob Brown and Sean Booth have never turned in a substandard production, but 2001's cold, dispirited Confield merely flaunted their programming prowess instead of offering music that listeners could enjoy. Something less than a radical reinvention, Draft 7.30 does return the duo to the more inviting climes of past masterpieces like Tri Repetae (if not Basscadet). The record is immediately more compelling than Confield, with less focus on their trademarked random-beat-making software. A few melodies, suitably obtuse and wispy, creep in as well. "V-Proc" is an excellent production, somehow spacious and claustrophobic at the same time, with stuttered percussion and a hip-hop beat pounding away in the background. "61e.CR" and "P.:Ntil" also have glimpses of a repetitive beat, even if the usual recycle bin of percussion noise nearly overwhelms them near the end. The 12-minute "Surripere" is an epic of deliciously chilly atmospheres, though the usual Autechre beat madness could've used a timeout. Most importantly, though, the duo has pulled away from the brink; no one ever doubted that Autechre was at the extreme of experimental techno for its own sake, but given a record like Draft 7.30, listeners might actually return for multiple listens.
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AllMusic Review by John Bush