I'm glad we have some new faces (or avs) around here, it always makes me glad to see fresh ae fans.
I was thinking about this whole experiment and I think the biggest benefit that it has is that when you listen to the tracks after reading the comments of others, certain specific comments will stick to the track forever in your memory. The more we talk about the music, the more memories we have of things people have said about the particular tracks. Anyways time for my Confield review:VI Scose Poise
is quite hit or miss at first. If you compare it to the rest of the album it sticks out like a sore thumb, but after you get past the fact that it is just a really experimental ambient track, its actually quite pleasant and blissful. I'm really impressed at how they manage to weave such a calming and serene atmosphere out of such a cacophony of noise. This is truly one of the most relaxing and entrancing Ae tracks ever, if not out of all music. After all of this, it really does seem like this is the perfect opener. Its a real warm-up round, and the length really helps to build the anticipation before the album blows.Cfern
is a very difficult track to say the least. If you analyze the track right down to its core, it's built on nothing more than a 4/4 beat going kick,snare,snare,snare. The fact that such an awkward, stuttering and bent rhythm can be built around such a basic and simple core rhythm is really quite amazing. There is another magical trick here: the pads that come in around halfway through that whine and pop in and out of existence manage to convey one of the best examples of implied melody in the whole discography. After you hear the track a few times, you can follow the melody fully, even though it is never presented in its entirety. Alternating notes are severly truncated or omitted completely, but the melody is still successfully rendered in full in the imagination. Without rambling too much more, I really do think this is a fantastic trackPen Expers
is quite an interesting fusion of madness and meticulous beat programming. The initial beat is crazy and heavy, and repeatedly disintegrates into a soup of generated noise, only to swiftly return via some really quirky reversal of the beat. The pads slowly creep through in between the beats and then fully forms on the surface, and although the technique of slowly revealing components is not new to Ae, they did it in a fresh and new way here. Also I can't stress enough how awesome the beat becomes after it morphs towards the end. Pretty ace track overall, although it could probably use a few more layers and progression.Sim Gishel
is up and down for me. When I first heard it, it always used to trick me into thinking it was Rpeg and I was usually disappointed by what follows the intro. However, this track is really pretty sublime and brooding. Spastic twitching and clicking is found in spades here, and the rhythm uses a really interesting technique of alternating from straight 4/4 to 4/4 with swing/skip, and although the merging of the two into one track seems pretty intuitive, it has not really been done very often in music as far as I know. Also I love how the melody here is straight out of Tri-repetae. The types of chords and their interaction sound like they were taken from Leterel and then morphed and tweaked to near-unidentifiability.Parhelic Triangle
is a weird one, even for Autechre. It's almost impossible to try to describe this track in terms of beat/melody because the two blend together seamlessly and components from one bleed and morph over into the other constantly. The beat sounds like it was written and then played in reverse, which is a really cool effect, and the creepy de-tuned wind chimes really make the track whole. The first chunk is really all about the atmosphere, but the 'beat' is subjected to one of the coolest evolution processes on the album, and is swiftly transformed into a much slicker and more energetic beat. Its really hard for me to say exactly how I feel about this track, but again it demonstrates Autechres amazing ability to combine two contrasting ideas seamlessly making a track that as ambient and relaxing as it is energetic and invigorating.Bine
begins (in my opinion) Autechre's tradition of including at least one track that is more or less extremely experimental noise. The first few times, this track is just abraisive mind-fuckery, but it actually does have a fairly followable rhythm which it develops as the track progresses. I think the reason that it takes people so long to get into the track is that they usually skip after the first minute or so assuming that the whole track is the same, but like I said it does become quite cohesive and brilliant as it progresses. I'm actually quite a fan of this one, and even though it does not really do much musically (more of an auditory bath), Confield would just not be Confield without Bine. Its sort of an exaggerated melting pot of the various Confield styles.Eidetic Casein
is honestly a bit of a meh track for me. Not that I don't enjoy it, but I feel like it really drags on a bit too much without changing things up enough, or really at all. The strings really sell the track though. To me, it seems like they have a few core melodic breaks that are positioned in the proper places, and they fill in the gaps with (semi)random notes. This gives the effect of randomness slowly forming into the short 'sweet spot' and then unforming into randomness again to repeat the process. This is almost exactly the same technique they use in Arch Carrier, wherein they tease the listener and only provide the sweet melodic chunk after a bunch of random nonsense. The rhythm is pretty awesome, but on some days it just pisses me the hell off. Its just such a smug and pretentious beat. The buzzing snare noise here saves it though, because that noise is really a core element of Confield. In summary, it's not that I don't like the track - I'd never skip it on a playthrough - but I doubt I would ever get struck with one of those "Omg I need to hear X track" where X is Eidetic Casein.Uviol
I always forget about. I'll get to Eidetic and be thinking "aww shit the album is almost over" but then pop, a good 7 minutes of brooding tension. The melody in the background flows from light to dark, and the soundscape implies a vast, dark and empty landscape. It picks up towards the end and starts using some of the Ae fart noises that will become a staple in later works, and really once this component starts, I'm totally hooked for the rest of the track. The placement of it within the album flow is fantastic in that it really breaks up the action and gives you some time to build tension before the climax of the album. Also, the transition to Lentic is brilliant.Lentic Catachresis
is really my least fav on the album, and certainly my least fav album closer. That's not to say its a terrible track, its pretty nifty, but I will elaborate. The first few minutes are really really awesome, but I don't think its really the beat, its more the pads, and obviously the insane alien-cyborg gibbering which really makes it sound like it was alien-cyborgs singing along to the track because it fits really well into the groove despite its eccentricity as a melodic component. The beat here is nothing really special for me, I can't really say why but it simply is not that engaging for me. I thoroughly respect the ending of the album because it really works well as a closer in that it slowly turns into a wall of noise and then glitches the fuck out, but I simply have difficulty enjoying it after the first 2 minutes. I would hardly ever skip it (I think its sacrilege to skip an Ae track) but my patience begins to run thin pretty quickly and I'm always glad when it finally ends
So overall I would say Confield is a pretty spectacular work within its own context, but I generally don't listen to it out of choice simply because it is less about being rhythmically intricate and more about just being a total mind-fuck. It's interesting to me in the same way that acid is. Its beyond weird and totally unique but it is less than comforting and can lead to crying/screaming tantrums in certain scenarios. Its certainly a work to be respected, and absolutely fucking essential as a stepping stone in the Ae discography, but again it's more something to take in and analyze than to enjoy. Not that it's not enjoyable, just that it leans more towards the experimental side and compromises the integrity of the music in the process. To conclude, I don't want to imply that I don't like this album, but more that its just too cryptic to listen to on a regular basis (or when you just wanna hear some good fun music)
Holy shit that was a long one.
Edited by thehauntingsoul, 29 October 2009 - 01:19 PM.