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Gescom Minidisc

Minidisc is either a quiet milestone or a complete prank. Autechre and sound artist Russell Haswell released the world's first MiniDisc-only album in '98. They splintered 45 tracks into 88 fragments, and instructed listeners to play the damn thing on "shuffle" to keep it interesting. The reissued Minidisc is a chicken-scratched mess of ideas choking a hard drive: nasally congested distortion, hip-hop beats that track mud through the house, LP5-era laser funk, and the sounds of musicians banging their heads on synthesizers, unable to play anything right. It's a horror-show novelty better suited to gallery installations than the stereo.

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