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BobDobalina

Rant about Confield

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Ahem, with all the raving here that it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, I say to myself, "damn, maybe I need to give this yet another try." And after yet another listen, I always come to the same conclusion that, while it has it's moments, Confield is simply a difficult, moody, and just plain cranky Autechre album to me. And yet I imagine that it's for these very reasons that fans of it get so hot and bothered. It's not bad, but there are just so many other Autechre/Gescom releases that deliver for me that I can't be bothered to go through the mental calisthenics of listening to this.

 

Bring the counterpoints, as if I need to ask for any! I do find it interesting that there's not a whole lot of middle ground for opinions on this album - either you love it or you don't.

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Guest ezkerraldean

i aggrreeee. by the time pen expers has finished, its just depressing.

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Guest Rook

Ok, here is the deal people. This thread is about confield discuss everything from generative techniques and what the hell that means to what you think about the tracks, and why it is or is not the greatest album evar.

 

Though Confield was my favorite album on my first listen, I can wholly understand how it isn't for most people or how it takes many listens. Here is why. Confield doesn't appeal to readily accessible human emotions. I mean lets take LP5 for example. Songs like Rae and Corc are just flat out beautiful, those songs wear their hearts on their sleeve and can easily be recognized as saddening beauty. Or Under Boac and Acroyear play to our sense of fast adventure. Arch Carrier is straight up gangsta.

 

Confield on the other hand isn't beautiful the way you find your cut little depressed indie crush to be, or how you find the Italian super model to be beautiful. Confield asks you to find beauty in pain and abstraction. Each song on confield is so visual that you could write a thousand page book on each.

 

Vi Scose Poise is separatation. You aren't sure where you are. Just that it is raining. Metallic atmosphere surrounds you. You relax.

 

Cfern is the drunken knowledge of torture by mother nature. You suddenly realize why you are hear. When the bass comes in the tension starts. It is maddeningly slow and incremental. As if army ant pinchers are slowly slicing you while drops of water slowly land on your forehead. Yet the pounding and resistive bass lets tells us that your will is unwavering. Your eyes squinting, your face scowling, nothing can stop you.

 

Unfortunately, as we all know, nothing defeats mother nature. Pen Expers comes in and demolishes you. A seemingly never ending treatment of your body as only the hands of the abstraction of torture could do. But there is one thing that mother nature did not count on, for she cannot. Human will. Through your gray-black clouds of tears you begin to smile regardless of the pain. You see yellow and white light. Something not of this world has aided you, you for several minutes you experience enlightenment. You do not care about the physical world. The physical world is not real, it is not everlasting. You cry in pleasure as you have never experienced beauty before.

 

But wait, though the physical world is not everlasting, you are still alive in it, mother nature has not relented. You are released from enlightenment, each man must suffer the pain coming to him. You are again thrown into darkness. Pounded, for an agonizingly long minute.

 

Then the real sickness starts.

 

 

With Sim Gishel, mother nature smiles her most evil smile and begins. She inserts creatures in your ears, not meant to cause direct pain but instead ever so slight pressure, slowly increasing. All the while the natural weapon of claustrophobia works against you. The black-red-dark gray closes in on you. Your sternum is periodically pressed inward. Your lungs grasp for breath.

 

Than it is over. At this point you are tired, the fifteen seconds of dead time nearly allows you to lose yourself and go under. You feel sudden relief. But mother nature is not always merciful.

 

The loud, repetitive bass of Parhelic Triangle appears from nothingness. This sort of pain is not physical. Instead purely psychological. You begin to see fear as you have never seen it before. Suddenly fear is no longer an emotion, it is a tangible entity. Your eyes roll back in their sockets, your brain expands, white hot beads of torturous sweat emit from every pour of your sickening body. But something keeps you from giving in. What could it be? It is the realization. You realize that fear is just an emotion. Your reason seems thousands of miles away, but you notice it none the less. Mother nature sees the momentary strength of your resolve. THis angers her greatly. She fights you with Bine.

 

Bine is the irrational anger of mother nature. She lost the control and logic she had with her previous assaults. Significant, because Bine can be fought. Bine can be resisted. Bine can be understood, since irrationality is a human trait. Bine ends.

 

Eidetic Casein is the realization and actualization of assault. For the first time you physically see your opponent. Mother nature fights with perversion. She takes childish things and uses them in only a way that the most disgusting of men could. Eidetic Casein is mother natures rapists, pedophiles, murderers, psychotic, perverted. Waves of vomit like yellow and green lines caress your body. You are disgusted. This disgust wakes you up in a way that you were not before.

 

God takes pity on you.

 

You are thrown again into abstraction. Uviol is floating in eternity. Dark purple and black clouds protect you. The torture that once was is not apparent. You know it is there, but it is not. Where are you? God is showing you unsettling beauty. He knows that you must inevitably return for a final battle, but rewards your resolve as he has rewarded none others. The impending end creeps in through the abstraction. You walk on ambiguity, but are suddenly thrown back by unknown force. You walk again anyway. You are throw back again by unknown force. White noise looks like black noise, and sees you. The end has come.

 

Lentic Catachresis is the monster that confield is. It grows and grows. You stand unwaveringly. You are not afraid. As it erratically rises, you stare at it, it stares at you. For a long while. The battle begins. It is obvious that you will lose. You fight anyway. The monster strikes you down, you don't get up. The monster keeps striking you anyway. It has no notion of honor. It strikes you faster, faster, faster.

 

You are dead.

 

 

 

 

I love Saturdays.

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i really dont understand what everyone finds difficult its good music just put it on and listen why think anything else?

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Well played, well played, that was an entertaining read. I'm generally not into anything dark, movies/lit/music (battling anxiety/depression is hard enough as is!), though I can definitely see the appeal of Confield if you are. While I'm still not keen on it, I can also appreciate that it was a necessary waypoint in the Autechre continuum - while the Amber-thru-LP5 period remains my favorite, I quite like Draft and Untilted.

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Guest earlgrey

oh my

 

that was an impressive read, rook. well, here goes.

80%

Alternative Press

Confield not only documents the future of electronic music; it also cements Autechre's name in the pantheon of sonic visionaries. [Jul 2001, p.63]

much as I applaud their praise, I think they were dead wrong about Confield documenting the future of electronic music. I see Confield as the epitome of what experimental/electronic/textural/minimal/generative/vertical-rather-than-horizontal musical trends were leading to throughout the 20th century, and i think autechre's career ~'91-'01 is like a microcosm representing that general movement, like a fractal, both of which climax in '01 with this behemoth of an album, which itself climaxes with the end of lentic catachresis. since then this movement could go no further and so we have seen the rise of "folktronica", awkward integration of live instruments ala Campfire Headphase, and a major swing back to simple, old-school, more instantly appreciated, you-can-play-this-at-a-club-or-a-party music (yoseph / analord / new gescom etc.) which is certainly fun and enjoyable, but just does not have a comparable depth or potential for reward. i think confield is like the critical point on a parabola where the limit that was being approached definitely throughout the 90s, arguably since the 70s, possibly since the 50s, and if I'm feeling generous even since the rebellion against Wagnerian melodrama began in the late 1800s, and was accelerating faster and faster from '92-'01, and finally it connected with the limit at a single infinitesimal point with the climax of the album and the curve starts leading away from that towards the more familiar pastures it had come from, with autechre themselves as well as the rest of the electronic music community toning things down and retreating from that critical singularity...

 

*gasp*

 

....

 

also confield is the ultimate statement of the third-eye-wrenching synthesis of sublime meditative ambient and pummeling hyperpercussion that good electronic music has been about since igniting in about 1993 and becoming especially significant in 1995.

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Guest Rook

Does anyone know of any other albums that employ generative techniques like this?

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Guest blutac

This is like the 20th incarnation of this topic. Confield is fucking amazing just accept it.

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Guest Enter a new display name

Confield is indeed their best album but Autechre didn't go into the details as much as in Draft 7.30

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yeah, first autechre album i fully got into...

 

although you're wrong about sim gishel rook... it's that trash compactor room in one of the star wars movies:

 

da_trash.jpg

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ha! and i used the same picture too... probably cause it's the only on google image search

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Vi Scose Poise: Hub caps rolling down the street on a rainy night!

 

Cfern: Night time, underwater, in a swamp, following some alien lifeform!

 

Pen Expers: Baboons and Robots Breakdancing against eachother while the apocolypse is going on!

 

Sim Gishel: This track emits that same rush when you're about to get in a car accident!

 

Parhelic Triangle: Working with Adobe Illustrator!

 

Bine: Bine!

 

Eidetic Casein: you're dying from an drug overdose and the doctors are trying to revive you... then you flat line!

 

Uviol: always reminded me of pink floyd's "set the control to the heart of the sun"

 

Lentic Catachresis: is the monster that confield is. It grows and grows. You stand unwaveringly. You are not afraid. As it erratically rises, you stare at it, it stares at you. For a long while. The battle begins. It is obvious that you will lose. You fight anyway. The monster strikes you down, you don't get up. The monster keeps striking you anyway. It has no notion of honor. It strikes you faster, faster, faster.

 

You are dead. (EXACTLY!)

 

this is one of those autechre releases that grew on me... all else before confield was pretty much easy to get into (actually tri rep to ep7)... once i understood confield, the releases that followed were easy to get into upon first listen!

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Does anyone know of any other albums that employ generative techniques like this?

 

Can you elaborate more on the generative techniques? For some reason I don't have it in my Orb cast so I can't listen hear at work, and I listen to ae so little I can't recall much of it.

 

You might want to check out some of the earlier pioneers (Laurie Speigel, Brian Eno, etc) of generative composition and go from there. Anyone who worked on the Bell Labs GROOVE system in the 70s is a good start.

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Guest transfer

Confield is the one for Autechre so far, same level as Loveless by MBV.

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Confield always strikes me as being the Autechre album most heavily influenced by musique concrete. It always reminds me of Bernard Parmegiani's De Natura Sonorum. I think you have to be in somewhat of an academic frame of mind to sit down and listen to the whole thing and enjoy it to its maximum.

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Guest earlgrey

i really like the way that it is emotionally ambiguous as well ... it does not stuff cliched melodic progressions in your ears so that you go "hey, it's happy melody time!" or "oh, it's scary music time". see also erik satie and scott joplin.

 

my favourite AFX album is SAW2, and i see many links between that and Confield, actually - they both strike me as momentous, important, and suggestive of something ultimately real and somewhat foreboding underlying appearances.

 

edit: whoops, i just realised i have written two posts about this album without using the word "catharsis"

Edited by earlgrey

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Guest Rook
Does anyone know of any other albums that employ generative techniques like this?

 

Can you elaborate more on the generative techniques? For some reason I don't have it in my Orb cast so I can't listen hear at work, and I listen to ae so little I can't recall much of it.

 

You might want to check out some of the earlier pioneers (Laurie Speigel, Brian Eno, etc) of generative composition and go from there. Anyone who worked on the Bell Labs GROOVE system in the 70s is a good start.

 

I was talking about the sequencers in Max/Msp.

 

 

So according to Sean Booth, only Reniform Puls has any generative stuff on Draft, but Confield has a lot. So what do you guys think is generative and what isn't?

 

I mean, the first song sounds like they programmed the rolls and manipulated them live, I do the same thing all the time. But supposedly this is close to what generative composition is.

 

When we do generative stuff we work with real-time manipulation of MIDI faders that determines what the rhythms sound like. A sequencer is spitting out stuff and we're using our ears and the faders to make the music. There's no event generation taking place other than within the system we've designed. Sometimes we'll stripe a whole load of stuff down as MIDI data, because there may be a couple of things we want to change. We generate these beats in Max and with home-made sequencers. And there are models of analogue sequencers in the computer that are doing manipulation like gating and compressing some of the beats.

"On Confield we also used analogue sequencers and drum machines, because you can do a lot with restarting patterns. You can hack things and maybe use a control volume to determine what step the drum machine is playing from. Perhaps you send that control volume from an analogue sequencer, so the drum machine is skipping around. And then you get another analogue sequencer to drive that analogue sequencer with a different timing. Immediately you have something that some people would call random, but I would say is quantifiable.

"It seems that for a lot of people, if they hear something that doesn't sound regular, they assume it's random. If live musicians were playing it, they'd probably call it jazz or something. But the fact that it's coming out of a computer, as they perceive it, somehow seems to make it different. For me it's just messing around with a lot of analogue sequencers and drum machines. It's like saying, 'I want this to go from this beat to that beat over this amount of time, with this curve, which is shaped according to this equation.'

"Or you want all the sounds and the way the rhythm works to change, and you don't quite know how long the transform will take. You can then build a patch to do the transform, and you do it by ear with a fader. We may have one fader that determines how often a snare does a little roll or skip, and another thing that listens and says 'If that snare plays that roll three times, then I'll do this.' We don't use random operators because they're irritating to work with — every time you run the process it sounds different. How we play the system dictates how the system responds."

 

Cfern sounds composed normally to me except maybe those droplet clicks in the background. Who knows what the hell is going on in Pen Expers....

 

I always thought that the generative stuff was used for the seemingly random sounding background bits like clicks bloops scratches and grainy stuff.

 

Anyone know more about this?? An Max users in here?

 

 

 

Cheers Assym Head :beer:

Edited by Rook

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Guest nene multiple assgasms
It seems that for a lot of people, if they hear something that doesn't sound regular, they assume it's random. If live musicians were playing it, they'd probably call it jazz or something. But the fact that it's coming out of a computer, as they perceive it, somehow seems to make it different.

 

that's exactly how I thought of the rhythms on confield and draft 7.30 when I heard those albums. it reminded me of jazz improvisation. then I read these people on message boards saying it sounded random and I thought "wtf, haven't you ever heard jazz before?"

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Guest Rook

Nothing by Autechre has ever sounded random to me.

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Last time I listened to Confield, I was in Vancouver on the bus going from the ferry terminal into downtown. I was there to see The Flaming Lips later that day. Anyway, I was super sleep deprived and the sounds and rhythms were lulling me as I sat swaying with the bus in a semi-detached state. Occasionally I'd remove my headphones to hear a couple hippies nearby jamming on bongos and a ukulele. As the trip progressed the vibe turned from hypnotic and soothing to ominous and disturbing. I began feeling slightly nauseated (probably mostly from a combination of the sleep dep and the bus motion --nothing's level in Vancouver) and the music was the perfect soundtrack to my increasing nausea. It really did feel like the beats were invading my innards to wreak havoc upon them. But rather than giving the listening a rest, I kept going, because the experienced fascinated me as much as it repulsed me. The slightly bending pads were a particularly vivid part of the trip/sickness I was feeling. Then thankfully we got to our destination before I could spew. It was the best 15 minutes of nausea of my life. In conclusion, Confield is a musical interpretation of nausea. My nausea during a bus trip specifically. Yep. The end.

 

DRAFT 7.30/GANTZ GRAF 4EVA YO!

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Well there's alot you can do generatively. You can define whatever rules you want. you can say "take a random input, quantize the values to only c#'s g's and b's, take then this clock signal, divide it one way by 4 and another by 32, when the two meet there will be a 50% chance of triggering this envelope" and then let that run. It will be somewhat random, but sound quite structured as well. That's a really simple example. The man's name escapes me but another of the Bell Labs GROOVE crew made a program that would listen on a microphone to a person playing a flute, it interpolated the pitch and would then generate accompaniment that was in tune, but chosen pseudo-randomly. The man/machine interaction gave the piece direction despite the random input.

 

If you're really good at it, you can write generative algorithms that don't sound random at all. They can even create songs with beginnings, middles and ends. You can create sets of rules that encompass everything you want in a song, it doesn't have to be just random beeps and boops. So, the whole thing could be generative, it's not that impossible.

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Guest Rook
It really did feel like the beats were invading my innards to wreak havoc upon them. But rather than giving the listening a rest, I kept going, because the experienced fascinated me as much as it repulsed me. The slightly bending pads were a particularly vivid part of the trip/sickness I was feeling. Then thankfully we got to our destination before I could spew. It was the best 15 minutes of nausea of my life. In conclusion, Confield is a musical interpretation of nausea.

 

 

mmmmmmm

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I have a hard time grooving to it. Its not bad. I like draft better. I should grab the album and listen to it soon. I don't think I was around when everybody came to the "consesus"(as it sometimes seems like) about this album being the peak of autechres genius but I don't think I agree necessarily.

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Guest Rook

IMG_0736-738461.JPG

YARRGGG matey, Confield be the best evar matey. Yarrrrrrgggg

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