A strangely affecting tape by UK producer Matthew Greasley, Fieldwork is filled with glorious small details that help it stand out in a ridiculously busy niche. Greasley’s eight tracks stay relatively concise, and reject standard song structures. They float freely, utilising an open ended palette familiar to Boards Of Canada fans, and similarly well versed in discerning rolling green hillsides amid spacey synths and beats. Opening track ‘Choke’ delights in a strange shuffle and lurching synth line which never quite slots into a groove – an effect wheeled out throughout the record. Fieldwork has a real mix or energy levels throughout, hinting at snare drum motorik on ‘Drillin’’, sparse atmospheres around a scarred Jungle beat on ‘Sinthool’, and even a simmering Ben Frostian rumble on ‘Glorious’ that’s replete with both a real life choir and some devilish percussion always kept at more than an arm’s length deep. If the Warp label didn’t exist this album would be a lot more essential – but it should say something about how great Fieldwork is that in a world where Warp does exist, I’ve gone back and spun it more than a few extra times.

Hello again and welcome at another review / write up or whatever it is called (or is..) this time we go and listen to some fieldwork, as it’s always nice to sit back and listen to someone else doing a lot of work. In this case it’s the working sounds of music by Matthew Greasley. You might expect that with the title of the album and cover picture like this one over here, to hear sounds of cows in a field, birds, grass wind and maybe a bypassing tractor. But no, the fieldworks over here sound fairly electronic and less involved with the outside farming lifestyle. Let me guide you through them as you probably haven’t anything better to do at the moment, right?

At first a track named ‘Choke’ comes in, it appears as a half drunken stumble of electronic intelligence, rambling while almost falling over its own musical legs. Soon we can settle into this more easily, as the music seems to not be all that intoxicated, (perhaps it’s even completely sober) but more trying to explore the state of ‘difficulty’ while still making sense of it all. Suddenly it made me feel as if its the nineteens all over again; that after hour time in which we could pretend to rave intelligently, while not moving much at all. With the next track titled Drillin’ we can continue this story, but making it much more enjoyable thanks to the help of a fun baseline and a rattling drum that does its best to hit it towards the highlighting legendary zones of braindance stardom. Whoohoo!

Jenny is the tune that follows it up, she is more straightforward, a bit old school, possible a gamer that the practicing artist had been fantasizing about in music form. The producer had thrown away the attempting sounds of playing hard-to-get by replacing its musical attitude with a easy to follow four by four beat and a synthesizer funkiness that even uncle joe could understand and possible could even dance upon. Very convenient. We all know that uncle joe is at his best when he is being entertained.

The album than drifts back with Sinthool, a tune that shines yet a different angle on the producer’s work. At first it grabbed my immediate attention by going for that mysterious sound of atmosphere that felt quite promising, but than dropping in that nostalgic sound by going for a kind collection of programmed drum-freaking that made me feel as if he drank some of μ-Ziq’s pioneering skills and thrown it into its own soup of audio aspirations. It’s rather nice, making me go for a ride down memory lane. It made me smile inside as it made me feel good and safe; knowing that there is music like this, popping up in the nowadays.

More original in sound and feel is the track named Glorious, it’s here that the producer dug up some opera and blended it in with a successfully electric psychedelic piece of compactness. You can clearly hear the work of the artist’s heroes and inspirations, but you also get the feeling that he has taken them into his own pockets to make something that feels more the artist’s own. Always a good thing when that happens, right?

With the combination of fat and yet light sounds the album continues with a track titled ‘Super8’. Here the artist goes for a work that is sounding quite safe and sound. No real shocking experiments here & no new scientific innovations. Definitely no cows mooing! But that’s alright as the more middle of the road work of electronics is a good one to drive over, chill out on while still having the pulse to move forwards with. If you aren’t in search for a brain shocker or a experiment to open portals you can simply enjoy it for what it is; music that is ready and available for you to listen, one that is clearly produced with care, respect and love for the genre. Not at all unkind! Moo!

The track titled Bedouin added some underlying acidic riffs and managed to build a all-round nice synthesis of atmosphere in the mix. It’s all very neat, as if the producer has everything in place to make sure that this squeaky clean coolness has no possible troubles to shine in its rubber mush of perfection. With big bass kicks, shimmering mysteriousness in tones and percussive artifacts it has the charm of a villain in a James Bond setting. At the end there is one last listenable fieldwork named ‘amphitheater’ which I funnily read wrong as armpitheather. It’s the one that could have easily found a place on one of the early warp compilation albums. With a round sounding baseline and it’s lush atmospheric ambience it feels like the ideal soundtrack to drive away into the midst of the night. I imagine this with a cow behind the steering wheel; up for more future-past adventures! Moo!
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