Warp – 2001 – 62 minutes

Before I begin let me declare my allegiances and say that – hand on heart – I am a dedicated Warp fan. I like Plaid. I love Boards of Canada. I like Prefuse '73. All three are very different exponents of an electronic style that defies bracketing and offers a healthy antithesis to the dull corporate music that is everywhere these days. Autechre have long been name-dropped as the emperors of electronic muso-ness. Some of their previous work - particularly 'Tri Repetae++' - deserved the positive plaudits heaped upon it. The bulk of it, despite obscurantist overtones, was considered by fans and critics to display a highly developed and innovative style. However, the latest contribution from Messieurs Booth and Brown falls sadly short.

There is very little on 'Confield' that raises it above the level of listenable. Most of the time you wonder if a couple of kids have been messing about with the album DATs. A couple of tracks have slightly redeeming qualities, but for the most part, it's reminiscent of the kind of surreal performance art that's obscure for the sake of it. 'VI Scose Poise' sounds like a kid playing with the lid of a pot on a concrete floor. The hip-hop breaks on 'Pen Expers' are subsumed (and ruined) by out-of-synch soundclashes that are the musical equivalent of an itch you can't scratch. 'Cfrern' is one of the better offerings even if there's a dank-warehouse-on-the-docks feel about it.

This album embodies all the things that have given electronica a bad name. The facelessness, the clinical art cover (with no production notes or credits) the discordant blips and beats. Also included for your added amusement is the tricky 'Doctor Dictionary' game - where you have to look up the meaning of most of the words in the song titles.

'Confield' is self-indulgent debris, devoid of ingenuity. The Autechre boys must be laughing into their keyboards about the fact that they can release this mode of unlistenable trash and cutting-edge wannabes will buy it. Save your cash kids, this album is a total headwrechre.

Sinéad Gleeson

Tracklisting: VI Scose Poise – Cfern – Pen Expers – Sim Gishel – Parhelic Triangle – Bine – Eidetic Casein – Uviol – Lentic Catachresis