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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 8 January 2008
On Confield, every negative comment aimed towards Autechre's music comes together beautifully; yes, it's cold, inhuman & robotic, yet all of these aspects are inverted to create something that I love but don't feel I'll ever truly understand. While LP5 wears its heart on its sleeve with gorgeous melodies buried deep under tidal waves of rhythm, this album is so distant that it's barely visible. Yet, when you soon start noticing that 'Eidetic Casein' has a gritty funkiness about it, the mist clears and suddenly everything is a little clearer; the demented rhythm of 'Pen Expers' becomes apparent and for some reason, even 'Lentic Catachresis' starts making a little sense. Slowly but surely, Confield reveals itself to the listener despite always keeping something hidden. Ironically, it's that something that draws me back in, & even by my 100th listen I still can't fully get my head around it.

In the year 2090 this will be blasting out of every kid's iPod, which I assume would at that point be the height of retro cool.
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on 16 November 2006
It's a commonly stated fact that after a fairly lengthy period of absorbing and digesting Autechre's music you will just "get it", and it is absolutely true.

I've been dipping in and out of their albums for a while now, and it is here on arguably their most harsh, cold and difficult album that i have found that so called Autechre nirvana.

The tracks are long and at first repetetive and noisy, but unlike any other artist out there once you understand the structure of the sounds you're hearing you will revel in the length of the tracks and the sustained pleasure you get from feeling the buried melodies and rythms. At first you won't believe that 2 men can put together this kind of fabled new angle of musicianship that manipulates your mind in such ways, and you'll believe people like me are hearing what we want to hear and don't know what we're talking about, but give it a chance.

There is nothing in the music world that compares to the sense of elation that washes over you as you suddenly grasp each and every thread of this seemingly 'white' noise. It can literally take your breath away and make you gasp on the spot. You'll believe the mind, and Autechre, are wonderful things.
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on 3 August 2008
Confield is unique not only in the wider world of music but also in the world of Autechre, not only in the sense that it is their most challenging work but also that it sounds alive.

Fans will be used to music that not only sounds like it was made on a computer but sounds like it was made by a computer. Whilst it sounds alive, make no mistake, this album sounds as inhuman as any by Autechre. It is the sound of insects scuttling, veins pulsing and alien anatomies at work.

It is an album which demands dedicated listening in order to get to grips with its seemingly unfathomable intricacies. The rewards for persistence are great.

VI Scose Poise- The opener here is uncharacteristic of the album as a whole, it's cold and bare. For the most part it is composed of skittering ball bearing sounds, as the track progresses clinical synths enter. It's atmospheric but not breathtaking.

Cfern- This is where the beast becomes alive. It is a hive of activity, thudding, rasping beats, gentle synths slither along and insect like clicks add an extra dimension fusing melody and beats. In a word: excellent.

Pen Expers- You're thrown into the deep end here, seemingly chaotic beats (they begin to make sense after repeated listens) stutter along. Then the most wondrous thing happens; the melody comes in, it seems to cut through the beats like a knife, accompanied by what sounds alot like horns, elegant and breathtaking. This is a highpoint not only of this album but of Autechre's output and electronic music as a whole.

Sim Gishel- A skittering beat trudges along, meanwhile the ambience in the background provides the real interest. Seemingly repetitive and boring, this will require repeated and intent listening before its darkness and drama fully reveals itself.

Parhelic Triangle- The beat here is simple, yet only Autechre could have conceived it, gradually however, it shifts and stumbles. The melody is reminiscent of bells chiming, but these bells sound sinister, producing a horrific, hollow tone. This has always put me in mind of ants marching, it's sublime.

Bine- Perhaps the most challenging track on here. Sounds flutter and swarm in the air, dark synths are heard distantly among the havoc. It sounds like being inside a bat cave, terrifying.

Eidetic Casein- After the album's most challenging offer, this is a funky hip hop track, with whirling alien melodies, which almost seems like comic relief. Although satisfying none the less.

Uvoil- A return to the gentle, sparseness of the opener. Melodies twinkle and beats hiss and exhale. Like Sim Gishel, it's long and there's little progression, it's however a good piece of music to relax to. For me it's always brought to mind the image of an egg being incubated, it's a very beautiful track.

Lentic Catachresis- After the maternal, warm sounds of Uvoil this is a merciless, sinister piece of music. It begins with a brooding, slow synth and patiently driving beats, offset by insane glitching. Half way through the track erupts and the album's uncompromising finale begins, beats and melodies scuttle and rush by, it's the musical equivalent of looking out of the window of a high speed train. It's brutal, it's perplexing and it's ultimately rewarding.

Confield is not instantly gratifying, it is not always pretty but it is masterful and it will dramatically alter the way you listen to music. For those who are passionate about experimental and/or electronic music, this should be a vital part of your collection.

By the way, this was the first Autechre album I bought.
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on 17 January 2005
Just like everyone else here, I think it would be imprudent not to start by saying that you need to have open ears, a very open mind, and probably have to have gone looking for this knowing what Autechre do. Don't start your Autechral (they make up words so I can too!) journey here or you'll make it past this album! If you stumble on this CD randomly, I would shake your hand if it managed to be something which caught your attention! I think that a lot of people describe Confield as a cold, inaccessible album, but it might be that this can be put down to it requiring a bit of work (and I agree, you shouldn't have to WORK at any album, but here you do and it IS worth it)and repeated listens to really get inside it. I do actually believe that you really need to *know* the album and once you do, each track is like watching some incredible aural architecture build itself in front of you. On first listening, I got to Sim Gishel before I had to turn it off. Parhelic Triangle seemed the most meaningless at first, but now I find it the most atmospheric. 'Fickle' is perhaps a better description for Confield, and I think it might be something you'll love or hate with no middle ground. PS. I prefer this to Draft 7.30, and also find it more accessible. If you like Autechre, make sure you check out Key Nell by Gescom!
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on 25 February 2003
Let's not get pretentious, let's not talk about micro-whatever and the hidden complexities - ignore all that, just know that this album is, perhaps, one of the greatest ever released.

Confield represents the most varied, while still cohesive, collection of tracks that Autechre have put out. I'll admit that, like a lot of the best music, it takes a while to get in to but it's certainly worth it. From the exquisitely minimalist opener, VI Scoise Poise, with its ball-bearing beats and soft synth strains to the progressively more frantic closer, Lentic Catachresis, this record is amazing.

Admittedly, it's not as overtly tuneful as their previous albums (maybe EP7 excepted) but there is nothing more beautiful than hearing the distorted synth sounds slowly break through on Pen Expers or the bell-like sounds on Parhelic Triangle gradually coalesce into a recognisable melody.

Another thing, this album sounds fantastic production-wise - pristine yet still rough where it needs to be, beautiful synths and satisfying beats (at least, where those percussive sounds can actually be called beats).

I'm treading well-worn ground when I say that this isn't the best place to start if you want to get into Autechre but, hell, it's a great place to finish.
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on 24 February 2003
Autechre are not easy to get into. I realised this when I played Pen Expers, from this CD, to a friend. I had thought it was one of their most accessible tracks, but my friend told me he thought it was completely insane and almost unlistenable. This is when I realised just how much you need to get into Autechre before you can appreciatte some of their more mental tracks.
The trouble is of course that Autechre have gone from quite dance-friendly (but not particularly clever) techno, to cereberal noise, so where is someone supposed to start? Well, maybe not with this album. Having said it is my favourite, it is definately not their most accessible. I already had four of their previous albums before this, and Gantz Graf (possibly the strangest thing they've done), so I knew what I was in for. Chiastic Slide or LP5 are fairly accessible, but this tends to perplex people, as it did with critics. No one knew what to make of it. Then again, I don't really know what (if any) the hidden meanings and mathematical constructs are, I just like the sounds really.
Interestingly, I find this makes great music to work to, wheras I can't work with Tri Repetae playing. Go figure.
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on 15 February 2002
dont let yourself guide by your first listen... this is a new way of comunication and it needs to be learnt before rating it.
i am a big autechre fan... so you may think o well as he is a fan he wont say anything bad about it... ok you are right... but this album is just incredible... not easy listening thats true... but give it a try... after a few weeks it will come one of your favourites, this happened to me, i never thought any album will beat chiastic slide or lp5 but this one does...much more radical than ep7... even. music will never stop progressing if there are people like autechre
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I think you'll find most fans repeatedly stating that if you havn't heard autechre before then don't start with this. On the first listen, and i'd think this might even be the case for hardened Ae fans, it's a jumbled mess of random beats, odd melodys and just cacophanous noise. But, and this isn't really worth repeating again :), over repeated listens you begin to hear more and the tunes begin to make sense and coalesce and your left wondering how on earth exactly did they bring it all together. For example, in Pen Expers a seemingly random beat which sounds like it's constantly trying to escape the static flits along without any real direction and then a haunting broken melody rises from below it and you actually end up tapping your foot as it all falls into place and works. I'm going to give this five stars just because on first listen it did my head in but now i can't stop listening to it. It's unreal, utterly different and gives me a feeling of being deep underground (the album is in a strange way, quite unnerving). But again, if you don't know their stuff, try their first three albums first as they are a damn sight easier to deal with.
p.s. if you do buy this and can't quite get your head round it try listening to it very quitely late at night. the recording actually works better the quieter you play it. booth + brown must be subliminally screwing with our heads :)
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on 14 May 2001
This is an absolutely gorgeous album. It is difficult, true, but only because it is so layered and organic. If you have been following Autechre's career post-1996, this should present no insurmountable difficulties. If you are new to Autechre, however, check out Amber or Tri Repetae first. This is not the best introduction to Autechre, because it is some of the strangest music they've ever done, and very wierd in comparison with most things coming out of the popular music world today. I have read articles citing Autechre's influence on bands like Radiohead and even Tool, and I wonder if fans of those groups might jump into the deep end, purchase this album, and instantly decide that this it is nonsense. (After all, many critics and listeners are really determined that Kid A is the most avant-garde thing in the world today, which is patently absurd). So I recommend this album highly to open-minded listeners.....
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on 20 March 2001
Confield, Autechre's sixth album, is yet another step forward into contemporary electronic music. The duo leave behind them the metallic atmospheres of LP5 to go back to the more organic forms of Tri Repetae and Chiastic Slide. Confield is anything but a regression though. The gentle underlying melody of VI Scose Poise, only just fighting off the distorted metallic marble, or the fast moving sonorities of Cfern, amid the chaotic drum pattern, demonstrate that Autechre have lost nothing of their ability to deconstruct any sound that crosses their path. The apparent simplicity of the beat in Sim Gishel is an illusion, as are the multi-layered bells of Parhelic Triangle. Uviol sounds even more basic; a simple melody, clicks loop, a few drum arrangements. However, the impression is deceiving, as the duo crafts their intricate universe between the lines. Bine is totally deconstructed, and works on many different levels. It almost sounds like two or more tracks playing at the same time. Yet, with disconcerting ease, Booth and Brown position each sound with absolute precision in their soundscape. They work at microscopic level, to ensure the consistency of their compositions. All along the album, each component of each track develops at its pace, and it is only when considered as a whole that the piece really takes form. Confield is the closest Autechre have ever been to the work of Pierre Henry, with astonishingly complex, abrasive structures slowly mutating, creating ever-changing, poly-textural life forms. Each track is independent, yet is an essential part of the finished work. In eight year and nearly as many albums, Autechre have invented, and continue to invent, a totally new form of sonic constructions, far beyond the realm of music as we know it. Sean Booth and Rob Brown have smashed the boundaries of modern electronic music, leaving their contemporaries far behind. Forever.
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