Gescom – ISS:SA (Skam)

So we’ll never know who’s really behind Gestalt Communications (Gescom), so what? It’s pretty obvious that Sean Booth and Rob Brown of Autechre had a hand at this. The only clues on this 2003 EP are the references to a well respected label, Skam and its title, ISS:SA (and even the latter is slapped as a braille sticker). The release did however follow on the heels of Autechre’s DRAFT 7.30 (released only a week later) so many fans pick up the glitchy destroyed patterns, doomed abstract chords, and unrecognized splattered percussion to be as an extension of the album. Unlike any other collective, Gescom continues to lead us into the dark alley of nightmarish pleasures. All the while you’re protecting your valuables and trying to scratch your head and place that sound that you’ve heard before. C’mon brain! Reconstruct this puzzle into a four second jingle! There!!! No, gone again. Smack!

The last track, titled Slow Acid is a favorite of mine. This needs to be turned up much louder to hear all the tiny little white noise melodies in the background, while the AE kick progresses forward in a steady beat, and the common acid-house chords are choked up beyond comprehension. Sub woofer required. The artwork contained in the sleeve of the record is a special bonus. Another testimony to why records can offer just a little bit MORE. The insert is a two sided glossy print featuring a digitally modified image of trumpet, or perhaps a polished motorcycle exhaust pipe, creating an astonishingly bizarre brass instrument, the likes of which could only belong to Booth and Brown.

The CD version of the record has a bonus track, titled Megamix. This is a 15 minute Gescom concoction which was originally featured on BBC Radio One’s show when they did a Skam Records label profile. Here, the metallic rhythms and bit-crushed patterns are continuously looped into tiny fragments. I can only speculate if all the pieces are from previous Gescom releases and if it was performed live by sliding the loop window over an area of some track(s). Only like Autechre.

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