the pleasures of the familiar

Posted by othiym23 Wed, 23 Apr 2008 04:33:28 GMT

So I sorta fell silent and haven’t been posting much lately. This is due, in large part, to having accumulated a huge pile of music that is entirely new to me. It doesn’t help that it would be difficult for me to write about much of this music even given the advantage of intimate familiarity; most of it was obscure to begin with, and is abstract verging on the obtuse. Jazzy krautrock improv from Scandinavia, broad-spectrum wiggly noise bursts, ramshackle protean compositions that were coming unraveled even as they were recorded: these are highly individual outbursts of noise and creativity, and even when they’re affiliated with a time and a place or from a reasonably well-known artist (depending on how well-known you think Nurse With Wound is), they’re difficult to describe.

But that’s not really an excuse or a complete explanation. The simple truth is that spending sustained periods of time listening to music I’ve never heard before erases my ability to talk about music at all. There are albums where I can confidently say, after a single listen, “I like this,” or “this doesn’t interest me,” but for the most part the stuff I’ve been listening to lately resists that kind of immediate judgment. I can tell after hearing Mnemonists’ Horde or Rota-Limbs for the first time that they’re both interesting and exciting, but I lack the words for putting that fascination into concrete terms, and given the tiny audience for this kind of music, just saying “this rox u shud listn 2 it” isn’t going to do much for anyone. Especially when I don’t really know how I feel about it myself.

I think that explains why I’ve fallen off the soundwagon a little in the last few weeks and have spent some time listening to stuff that’s a little less demanding. There have been a number of great new records put out over the last month, too: the Breeders erase time with a miraculously good / unpretentious / direct set of songs on Mountain Battles, as accomplished as anything they’ve done since Safari; Torche’s new record, Meanderthal, is almost as good as their monstrous debut, putting the “thunder” in “thunder pop”; M83 have returned from the wilds of Elektronikaslavia with a newer, sleeker sound and a new album, the aptly named Saturdays = Youth; and a Dutch label has released a remastered version of OMD’s brilliant Dazzle Ships, with its incredibly infectious New Wave hit single that never was, “Genetic Engineering”. These are the things I find myself returning to when the stress of moving (oh yeah – I’m preparing to move me and my enormous pile of media across town) overwhelms my ability to deal with hours on end of square waves and rambling percussive scree.

But I’m going to try to suck it up and deal, both by documenting the enormous piles of stuff I’ve continued to add to my collection, as well as trying to come up with some kind of game plan for talking about it. It’ll probably be fragmentary and incomplete, but that’s what blogs are, aren’t they?

William Bennett so much to answer for

Posted by othiym23 Tue, 04 Mar 2008 22:41:16 GMT

One of the things that sucks about being an atheist is recognizing that there are people who are going to escape the cosmic judgment they so obviously deserve. While his crimes are minor next to the usual suspects (Hitler, Stalin, Reagan, etc), William Bennett’s bush-league ass-hattery should have earned him some kind of divine smackdown. If not for his rampant, flamboyant misogyny as the leader of Whitehouse, perhaps for his habit of gratuitously overdubbing Nazi speeches over the music he released on his various record labels (Come Organisation, Susan Lawly). I get the appeal of transgression and abjection – without which industrial music would not exist – but Bennett has made a life’s work out of crossing the line between artful, ironized misanthropy into being a boring, hateful dick.

It bugs me that Surgeon decided to adopt Whitehouse as his iconic industrial totem / spirit animal. Why not SPK? They were blatantly confrontational, even if they went downhill very quickly, and “Slogun” is arguably the original version of Surgeon’s personal form of harsh, stark techno.

*brrgblglabblgrrbl* *GASP* *brrglblrg*

Posted by othiym23 Tue, 04 Mar 2008 09:38:11 GMT

The problem with drinking from a firehose is that sometimes you asplode. This just happened to me, and I’m trying to deal with it by sharing my total insanity with you, the semi-random passersby on the internet.

As I’ve mentioned several times, I recently discovered the awe-inspiring zombie amusement park that is Blogspot’s coterie of MP3 blogs. I’d never really paid them much attention before, because most of my exposure to MP3 blogs had been through dodgy Eastern European metal blogs that were dedicated to scene rips of upcoming releases, and I’m really not all that into pissing all over the people who make my favorite music, which is basically what these blogs are all about (somebody has to pay for music, somehow, if it’s going to continue to be made).

However, Mutant Sounds and its brethren opened my eyes to the vast amount of music that exists in a twilit state with respect to copyright; thanks to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act™, most of the recordings shared via these blogs won’t be public domain until the end of this century – if ever – yet the vast majority of this material can be had neither via love, money, nor diligent browsing of GEMM. Most of the artists involved really don’t seem to care, as the bloggers are all pretty careful to avoid posting material that is readily available, and in some cases the creators send the blog owners better-quality recordings of their own material to replace inferior rips.

It didn’t help that one of the first of these blogs I discovered, dualtrack, has posted nearly every record I deeply coveted between 1989 and 1992. I sometimes forget that I got my start as a major music nerd through RE/Search’s Industrial Culture Handbook, but when I was learning about this stuff, I was also your average broke college kid and therefore could only read about these records in The Ooze’s monthly new-releases newsletter, saving up for stuff I really, really wanted, like :zoviet*france: reissues on CD or the occasional bizarre overindulgence. Now that I’m all grown up, most of those records, CDs and cassettes are beyond gone, appearing only in Amoeba’s used bins or on eBay (sometimes for plainly hurtful prices). It was with delight bordering on awe that I discovered that almost all of these records I’d been searching for for many, many years were freely available, generally with high-quality scans of the included artwork.

So, armed with a not entirely flimsy rationalization, a sense of burning need, and a month’s Premium subscription to Rapidshare, I went completely bonkers. Most of the stuff on this list came from either dualtrack, The Thing on the Doorstep, No Longer Forgotten Music, Rusted Noise, Mutant Sounds, Phoenix Hairpins, Boomkat, Amoeba and Other Music Digital. (NOTE TO RECORD LABEL FOLK: My copy of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black is on a shiny aluminized plastic platter purchased new from Amoeba Records, with the latest lame cover art you have chosen for it. The original cover art was much nicer. Thank you for your attention.) A lot of it I even bought, as I took this opportunity to fill in long-standing gaps in my collection. As you can see, it would take me a very long time to even summarize what’s here, so I’m going to leave that to other postings. Suffice it to say that just about every weird kind of music you can imagine, and some you probably can’t (the Masstishaddhu record, in particular, defies description to anyone who hasn’t already heard it).

It’s going to take me weeks to listen to all this stuff, much less comprehend it. There’s a lot of amazing, weird and profound music in here.

  1. ABGS: Werkbeschallung: Live
  2. Abwärts: Amok Koma
  3. Gunter Adler: Minute Music
  4. Gunter Adler: Polysyntetica
  5. Gunter Adler: The Silver Book
  6. Ain Soph: Kshatriya
  7. Alpha Omega: Electronic Mind Project
  8. Au Revoir Simone: The Bird of Music
  9. Autonomic Computing: Mutantextures
  10. Henry Badowski: Life is a Grand
  11. Erykah Badu: New Amerykah, Part 1: 4th World War
  12. Biochemical Dread: Bush Doctrine
  13. Biota: Rackabones / Vagabones
  14. Bipol: Ritual
  15. Black Sun Ensemble: Black Sun Ensemble
  16. Blacworld: Subduing Demons (In South Yorkshire)
  17. Burning Witch: Crippled Lucifer
  18. Monte Cazazza: To Mom on Mother’s Day / Candy Man
  19. C-Schulz: 7. Party Disco
  20. C-Schulz: 10. Hose Horn
  21. Chrome: Alien Soundtracks
  22. Chrome: Half Machine Lip Moves
  23. Chrome: 3rd from the Sun
  24. Chrystal Belle Scrodd: The Inevitable Chrystal Belle Scrodd Record
  25. Coil / Zos Kia: Transparent
  26. Cold Sun: Dark Shadows
  27. Cosey Fanni Tutti: Time to Tell
  28. Cranioclast: A Con Cristal
  29. Cranioclast: Koitlaransk / Ration Skalk
  30. Crash Worship: This
  31. Crawling Chaos: Sex Machine / Berlin
  32. Helios Creed: X-Rated Fairy Tales / Superior Catholic Finger
  33. Crispy Ambulance: From the Cradle to the Grave
  34. Crispy Ambulance: Live on a Hot August Night
  35. Crispy Ambulance: Sexus
  36. Crispy Ambulance: The Plateau Phase
  37. Crispy Ambulance: Unsightly and Serene
  38. Crispy Ambulance: Live at the ICA
  39. Current 93 & HÖH: Crowleymass
  40. Current 93 / Nurse With Wound: Mi-Mort
  41. Daft Punk: Alive 2007
  42. Danava: UnonoU
  43. Danielle Dax: Pop-Eyes
  44. Danielle Dax: Jesus Egg That Wept
  45. Danielle Dax: Inky Bloaters
  46. Danielle Dax: The Janice Long Session
  47. Danielle Dax: Comatose Non Reaction: The Thwarted Pop Career
  48. Amy Denio: No Bones
  49. Dead Meadow: Old Growth
  50. Dethklok: The Dethalbum
  51. Die Form / Asmus Tietchens: Face to Face, Volume 1
  52. Die Form: Duality
  53. DF Sadist School: Les Cent Vingt Journées de Sodome
  54. Doxa Sinistra: Via del Latte
  55. Drowning Craze: Trance / I Love the Fjords
  56. Frankie Dymon, Jr.: Let It Out
  57. Earth: The Bee Made Honey In The Lions Skull
  58. Einstürzende Neubauten: Kollaps
  59. Einstürzende Neubauten: Zeichnungen des Patienten OT
  60. Elohim: A L’Aube Du Verseau
  61. Erste Weibliche Fleischergesellin Nach 1945: Ferien Auf Dem Lande
  62. Étant Donnés: Aurore
  63. Étant Donnés: L’eclipse
  64. Étant Donnés: Re-Up
  65. Etat Brut: Mutations et Protheses
  66. Exterminator: Anna Blume
  67. Factrix: Empire of Passion
  68. Factrix: Scheintot
  69. Fanzine: 1980
  70. Fanzine: 1981
  71. Fanzine: 1982
  72. File Under Pop: Heathrow
  73. Brigitte Fontaine & Areski: L’incendie
  74. Brigitte Fontaine & Art Ensemble of Chicago: Comme à la Radio
  75. Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle: Telinehmende Beobachtung
  76. The Fugs: First Album
  77. The Fugs: Second Album
  78. BC Gilbert & G Lewis: Ends With the Sea
  79. The Gothic Archies: The Tragic Treasury: Songs from “A Series of Unfortunate Events”
  80. Bruce Haack: Electric Lucifer: Book 2
  81. Bruce Haack: The Electric Lucifer
  82. Hanadensha: Acoustic Mothership
  83. Hanadensha: Astral Pigmy Wave
  84. Hanadensha: Doobie Shining Love
  85. Hip Hop Pantsula: YBA 2 NW
  86. Lars Hollmer: Fran Natt Idag
  87. Lars Hollmer: Vill Du Höra Mer
  88. Lars Hollmer: XII Sibirska Cyklar
  89. Hoola Bandoola Band: Fri Information
  90. Hoola Bandoola Band: Garanterate Individuell
  91. Hoola Bandoola Band: På Väg
  92. Hoola Bandoola Band: Vem Kan Man Lita På?
  93. The Horrorist: Attack Decay
  94. The Human League: Being Boiled
  95. The Human League: The Dignity of Labour
  96. Hunting Lodge: Tribal Warning Shot
  97. In the Woods…: Three by Seven on a Pilgrimage
  98. Islaja: Meritie
  99. Kallabris: Considération sur / sous lé café
  100. Richard H Kirk: Darkness at Noon
  101. Richard H Kirk: Disposable Half-Truths
  102. Kotazo: Papy Mbavu / Papa Komanda
  103. Korpiklaani: Korven Kuningas
  104. Korpiklaani: Spirit of the Forest
  105. Korpiklaani: Voice of Wilderness
  106. Lava: Tears Are Goin’ Home
  107. Thomas Leer & Robert Rental: The Bridge
  108. Lemon Kittens: Spoonfed and Writhing
  109. Lemon Kittens: The Big Dentist
  110. Lemon Kittens: We Buy a Hammer for Daddy
  111. Lesbian: Power Hor
  112. Liquid Sound Company: Exploring the Psychedelic
  113. Machinic Indices: Untitled Kompositions
  114. Malombra: Malombra
  115. Masstishaddhu: Shekinah
  116. Men/Eject: Men/Eject
  117. Metabolist: Drömm
  118. Metabolist: Hansten Klork
  119. Metabolist: Identify
  120. The Metronomes: Regular Guys
  121. Mimir: Mimir
  122. Mimir: Mimyriad
  123. Mnemonists: Biota
  124. Mnemonists: Horde
  125. Moctan: Suspect
  126. Morphogenesis: Prochronisms
  127. Mysticum: In the Streams of Inferno
  128. nEGAPADRÉS.3.3: nEGAPADRÉS.3.3
  129. Joanna Newsom: Walnut Whales
  130. Joanna Newsom: Yarn and Glue
  131. Nocturnal Emissions: Spiritflesh
  132. Non: Mode of Infection / Knife Ladder
  133. Nurse With Wound / Spasm: Creakiness / Firemoon
  134. Nurse With Wound / Termite Queen: Nurse With Wound / Termite Queen
  135. Nurse With Wound / Organum: A Missing Sense / Rasa
  136. Nurse With Wound: A Sucked Orange
  137. Nurse With Wound: Brained by Falling Masonry
  138. Nurse With Wound: Crocodile Krazy Glue
  139. Nurse With Wound: The Musty Odour of Pierced Rectums
  140. Opal: Early Recordings 2
  141. Orchestra Terrestrial: Here and Elsewhere
  142. Organum: Horii
  143. Organum: Ikon
  144. Organum: Sphyx
  145. Organum: Tower of Silence
  146. Michael O’Shea: Michael O’Shea
  147. La Otracina: Fauna & Animated Floral Arrangements
  148. P16.D4: Distruct
  149. P16.D4: Kühe in 1/2 Trauer
  150. Penumbra: Skandinavien
  151. Permutative Distorsion: Brückenkopf im Niemandsland
  152. Pitch Black Afro: Split Endz
  153. Eddie Prévost / Organum: Flayed / Crux
  154. Problemist: 9 Times Sanity
  155. Project 197: IP001
  156. Pseudo Code: Europa
  157. Psychic TV: Allegory & Self
  158. Psychic TV: Dreams Less Sweet
  159. Psychic TV: Force Thee Hand ov Chance / Blinded Eye in Thee Pyramid
  160. Psychic TV: Mouth of the Night
  161. Psychic TV: NY Scum
  162. Punch Inc.: Fightclub
  163. The Raveonettes: Lust Lust Lust
  164. Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians
  165. Steve Reich: Tehellim & The Desert Music
  166. Steve Reich: Triple Quartet
  167. Steve Reich: You Are (Variations) / Cello Counterpoint
  168. Robert Rental: On Location / Double Heart
  169. The Residents: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  170. The Residents: Commercial Single
  171. Graeme Revell: The Insect Musicians
  172. The Revolving Paint Dream: Flowers in the Sky: The Enigma of the Revolving Paint Dream
  173. Boyd Rice and Friends: Music, Martinis & Misanthropy
  174. Salon Music: La Paloma Show
  175. Sandoz: In Dub: Chapter Two / Extra Time (Under the Stones)
  176. Shock Headed Peters: I, Bloodbrother Be
  177. Shock Headed Peters: The Kissing of Gods
  178. Sielwolf: IV
  179. Sielwolf: Nachtstrom
  180. Sielwolf: V - Remixes
  181. Sigillum S: 23|20
  182. Sigillum S: Bardo Thos-Grol
  183. Sigillum S: Studs and Divinity
  184. Sixth Comm: Grey Years
  185. Smegma: 33 1/3
  186. SPK: Slogun / Meccano
  187. SPK: Live At Garibaldi’s, 1979
  188. SPK: Information Overload Unit
  189. SPK: Auto Da Fe
  190. SPK: Leichenschrei
  191. SPK: Angst Pop: Live
  192. SPK: From Science to Ritual
  193. SPK: Human Post Mortem (Despair OST)
  194. SPK: Live at Pandora’s Music Box
  195. SPK: Live at the Crypt
  196. SPK: No More
  197. SPK: Off the Deep End
  198. SPK: See-Saw / Chamber Musik
  199. SPK: The Last Attempt at Paradise: Live in Lawrence, Kansas
  200. SPK: Wars of Islam: Live in Rome
  201. SPK: Machine Age Voodoo
  202. SPK: Metal Dance / Will to Power
  203. SPK: In Flagrante Delicto
  204. SPK: Zamia Lehmanni
  205. SPK: Gold & Poison
  206. SPK: Compilation Tracks (2nd version)
  207. Snakefinger: Manual of Errors
  208. Snakefinger: Chewing Hides the Sound
  209. Snakefinger: Greener Posters
  210. Sol Invictus: Lex Talionis
  211. Somatic Responses: Digital Darkness
  212. Spektr: Mescalyne
  213. Sun Ra: HelioCentric Worlds, Volumes 1 & 2
  214. Sweet Exorcist: Spirit Guide to Low Tech
  215. Symphonique Elegance: Act One
  216. Syrup Girls vs Sick Girls: Shotgun Wedding, Volume 8
  217. Teenage Jesus & The Jerks: Orphans / Less of Me
  218. Thick Pigeon: Thick Pigeon
  219. Throbbing Gristle: AR-TT-010
  220. Throbbing Gristle: United
  221. Throbbing Gristle: DOA: The Third and Final Report
  222. Throbbing Gristle: Adrenaline
  223. Throbbing Gristle: 20 Jazz Funk Greats
  224. Throbbing Gristle: Nothing Short of a Total War
  225. Throbbing Gristle: Rafters
  226. Throbbing Gristle: CD1
  227. Tools You Can Trust: Again Again Again
  228. Tools You Can Trust: Say It Low
  229. Tools You Can Trust: Sharpen the Tools
  230. Trop Tard: Ils etaient 9 dans L’obscurite
  231. Tuxedomoon: Dark Companion / 59 To 1 Remix
  232. Tuxedomoon: Desire / No Tears
  233. Tuxedomoon: What Use? / Crash
  234. Tuxedomoon: Joe Boy The Electric Ghost / Pinheads on the Move
  235. Tuxedomoon: Une Nuit au Fond de la Frayére / Egypt
  236. Tuxedomoon: Scream with a View
  237. Tuxedomoon: Half-Mute / Scream With a View
  238. Tuxedomoon: Ship of Fools
  239. Tuxedomoon: The Ghost Sonata
  240. Týr: Ragnarok
  241. Ultravox: Slow Motion
  242. Vas Deferens Organization: Zyzzybaloubah
  243. Verhören: Death is Safe
  244. Vidna Obmana: Noise / Drone Anthology 1984-1989
  245. Virgin Prunes: Heresie
  246. Von Zamla: No Make Up!
  247. Vox Populi! / HNAS: Face to Face, Volume 2
  248. Amy Winehouse: Back to Black
  249. Xasthur: A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors
  250. Damien Youth: Festival of Death
  251. Damien Youth: Fluttering Briar
  252. Damien Youth: The Man Who Invented God
  253. Z’ev: Elemental Music
  254. Z’ev: Salts of Heavy Metals
  255. Stefan Weisser: Poextensions
  256. Zahgurim: Moral Rearmament
  257. Zero Kama: The Secret Eye of L.A.Y.L.A.H.
  258. Zos Kia Meets Sugardog: That’s Heavy Baby
  259. v/a: 2005 Hands
  260. v/a: 4 in 1
  261. v/a: Ach Hanover
  262. v/a: Angst in My Pants
  263. Alban Berg / Anton Webern / Arnold Schoenberg / James Levine / Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra: Orchestral Pieces
  264. v/a: Can You Hear Me? Music from The Deaf Club
  265. v/a: Colorado
  266. v/a: Dada > Antidada > Merz
  267. v/a: Devastate to Liberate
  268. v/a: Dokument: Ten Highlights in the History Of Popular Music, 1982-1983
  269. v/a: Earthly Delights
  270. v/a: The Elephant Table Album
  271. v/a: Er Ist Tief Und Dein Wasser Ist Dunkel
  272. v/a: Feature Mist
  273. v/a: Fluxus Anthology
  274. v/a: Für Ilse Koch
  275. v/a: A Gnomean Haigonaimean: A Compilation of Fantasies Intoxication Concepts
  276. v/a: Gut Level One
  277. v/a: Hare / Hunter / Field
  278. v/a: Harmony of the Spheres
  279. v/a: Hate’s Our Belief
  280. v/a: Iberico
  281. v/a: Internationalism
  282. v/a: The Last Supper
  283. v/a: Machines
  284. v/a: Masse Mensch
  285. v/a: Palatine: The Factory Story
  286. v/a: Passage du Trou Marin
  287. v/a: Perpetual State of Oracular Dream
  288. v/a: Riposte
  289. v/a: A Selection
  290. v/a: Short Circuit: Live at the Electric Circus
  291. v/a: The Virus Has Been Spread: A D-Trash Records Tribute To Atari Teenage Riot

Æ

Posted by othiym23 Mon, 04 Feb 2008 09:28:28 GMT

I want to say something about the music Autechre’s been making for the last five years, but it’s hard to find the words. Autechre defined, more or less by themselves, a pure, electronic sound that, after their first three or four records, was indebted only theoretically to the electro and hip-hop that originally inspired them. It is now something entirely other, although they have a legion of followers who together constitute a dotted line connecting Autechre back to the techno continuum. Their music is rooted at least as much in the process and tools used to make it as any residual notions of traditional songcraft, and this can give their music, even at its most turgid, a glossy, intellectual sheen. It can also make it feel fathomlessly recursive and inhuman.

I sometimes end up feeling about Autechre the same way I do about the more abstruse electronic works of Iannis Xenakis (RIP) and Karlheinz Stockhausen (RIP). A piece of music (or, really, sound art) can be an aesthetically unimpeachable artifact of an intellectual process, and it can intimidate you with its recondite structure and alien sounds, but sometimes that’s insufficient if the work doesn’t lend itself to interpretation. I believe that Autechre spend a long time working out the structures they use, and are conscientious about shaping their aggressively experimental music into songs, but sometimes I feel like I have to take that too much on faith.

I will say that I feel that they’ve pulled themselves out of the creative dead end they were in when they made Confield; that album is one of the most frustrating CDs I own. Excerpted, it sounds brilliant, but despite concerted, repeated efforts to wrap my head around it, I’ve never been able to get it to stick. 30 seconds after hearing it, I’ve completely forgotten what it sounds like. It contains an hour of sound that mimics music without ever coalescing into songs – with the exception of the obsessive quasi-Japanese melodic figuration and monotone rhythm of “Eidetic Casein”, which is the one part of the album I love without reservation.

Each album since then is another step back from the inaccessibility of Confield, but their last 4 albums are all easy to admire and hard to love. Draft 7.30 returns to the ghostly melodies of Garbage while keeping Confield’s arrhythmia. Untilted brings back some much-needed low-end heft and some discernible attempts to engage with Autechre’s electro legacy. And finally, their newest album, Quaristice, sees the return of the diversity and ambition of tri repetae (as well as its length).

But I miss the promise of Autechre’s middle period, when they were probably my favorite electronic musicians of all time, and when they knew a secret: they had figured out how to invert the figure and ground of music, and use their keen ear for ruthlessly pared-down melodies to create melodic lines that were sturdy enough to act as the backbone for their wandering, erratic rhythms. Just listen to “Laughing Quarter” from Envane, “Tewe” from Chiastic Slide, or “Under BOAC” from LP5 to hear songs that balance spastic rhythms with simple 4-bar melodies that somehow never get old. Sometimes, as in my favorite song by Autechre, “Arch Carrier” (also from LP5, what I consider their last fully successful album), both the beats and the melodies are kept on a tight rein, and they produce songs that are both rigorously constrained and classically beautiful.

I have to be careful when I talk about Autechre, though. I was completely disgusted with Envane and Chiastic Slide when they were released, taking them as yet more evidence that the whole IDM community had finally and irredeemably disappeared up their own asses. In fact, I was mostly reacting to the fact that tri repetae++ consisted of two brilliant EPs shackled to a wildly uneven album. Perhaps in reaction to the eventual near-total reversal of that opinion (at least when it came to Envane, Chiastic Slide and Cichlisuite), I tried to convince myself (and a few other people) that Confield was a difficult but ultimately brilliant record that would release its secrets in time. This lasted a few short weeks until I went to see them play in Oakland. Practically everyone in the Bay Area’s electronic music scene was at that show and were in the mood for something weird, challenging and transcendental; I can’t speak for anyone else, but I got the distinct impression that I was far from the only one who was severely disappointed. It was amelodic, rhythmically flat, and while technically live (and perhaps even improvised or generatively produced) sounded completely lifeless.

It’s possible that someday a key will turn in my head, and suddenly the most recent third of Autechre’s output will suddenly open up to me. I want to like it: I love difficult, esoteric sounds (see: rest of this blog), and it feels like a confession of failure when I ultimately just can’t get into work as clearly uncompromising and innovative as Confield and their subsequent albums. It’s never fun to see my limitations so clearly laid out. But I also have to be honest, with myself if nobody else: I don’t think my feelings are going to change. Somewhere along the way, Autechre lost me, and while I’ll keep my ears open, I don’t think they’re going to find me again.