Got my mitts on the new Autechre/Hafler Trio collaboration, with the rather obvious title ae03/3hae. Ah, what jokesters, Autechre. I've never been a big fan of CD packaging, no matter how it's done--digipak, boxed sets, 64-page full color booklets, etc--give me vinyl any day. But I really did gasp when I opened this double-CD set. It's so delicate, so graceful, like a wedding invitation meant for kings and queens. A pearlescent white cardboard case, wrapped in a golden sash, opens like a portfolio to reveal an enclosed book made of thick, beautiful paper--the kind you use to paint watercolors with--which is embossed with gleaming rows of elegant golden script. Then you open that book and you see three panels--two have CDs in them, wrapped in sleeves made of luxe paper that has tendrils of silky fibers snaking through it; the center panel holds eight prints, abstract black and white images, each on a separate square of translucent paper. I practically expected jewel-colored sashimi to fall out of the little parcel, perfectly formed and ready to eat.
The music? It's alright, I guess--sort of what you'd expect from the words "Autechre/Hafler Trio collaboration." But oh, the packaging!