Lovefield is the Glitch Ambient album by the German-Swiss collective Centrozoon – stylized as centrozoon – and released in 2007 on Unsung Records. The trio of synthesizer expert Bernhard Wöstheinrich, experimental guitarist Markus Reuter and programmer/editor Tobias Reber travel into a five-track cosmos whose respective locations range from Field 1 till Field 5. Centrozoon stack multitudinous guitar layers and an ever-increasing amount of shimmering textures upon true-spirited Ambient riverbeds whose alkaline liquids flow in the background. Despite the hopefulness of the album title, Lovefield is strongly agitating, flustering and convoluted; it is still eminently accessible to the somewhat skilled Glitch listener, even surprisingly so, but more about this later. Glitch albums are often about the joy of crushing beautiful structures to pieces or filtering the living daylights out of them until they are anything else but a ghostlike frequency hodgepodge. Centrozoon do just that on the album, but to highly varying degrees. Gorgeous organ coils, progressive guitar gales as well as ultrashort fleeting glimpses into dimensions of bliss coalesce, scuff and batter themselves. The melodies are not particularly memorable per se, as is the case with most Glitch albums. It is the textures and surfaces that are enchanting or at times even thrilling. Lovefield, meanwhile, is a shady album, melancholic and purposefully demure only to strike back all of a sudden. How could such an album possibly be enjoyable or even soothing to one’s mind and body? This question cannot be answered by a look at its macrostructure, for the bird’s eye perspective only shows Lovefield as a creepy cyberspace, eldritch and spiky. It is the maelstrom of vignettes and smaller segues, however, which forms the bigger picture. These are much more chequered and balanced, creating a suction effect that is hard to resist thanks to the plasticity and poignancy of each scenery. Coming up next in the following paragraphs: a field trip. Figuratively.


Morse pulses, processed pressure, aeriform tension: Field 1 is a surprisingly easygoing piece of 15 minutes whose diametrically opposite complexion gently morphs into that certain Glitch timbre which is so hard to describe, escaping from any prerogative of harsh, defining interpretations. The aqueous droplets, blebs and vesicles of the prelude phase cover all timbres a fan of that genre could possibly desire, ranging from a laid-back Lounge lachrymosity over generous microseconds of frostiness to an acroamatic bleakness. An intertwinement of slapped guitar strings, towering clocks and clock towers takes place (or ticks place?) in this dualistic creepscape. Short stokehold steamer bursts inject gunmetal bubbles of heat, but a strong uneasiness and nervousness remains, a portentously looming anticipation oozes out of every crevasse. Bass protuberances and galactic nebula shards unleash a delicate Space-Age feeling, crystalline cyan-tinted fractals rise in front of a sylphlike veil, bleepy burps reign. Despite the constant shrapnel of staccato splinters, Field 1 feels soothing to the trained ear. This is Ambient alright. Oscillating between an otherworldly wilderness and enigmatic cavities, the opener is mellow yet disturbing, glowing from within, with its coruscating lightning bolts illumining the designedly dismal atmosphere. You want an overarching term to pinpoint this monochrome critter? You gotta be kidding me.


Field 2 connects to the mood of Field 1, but views its fissures and plateaus through a moiré. Everything feels softer and hazier, deliberately diffuse, becalming. Not necessarily akin to a fully operational Drone artifact due to the granular tape hiss, wooden prongs and Markus Reuter’s scintillating guitar licks, it is both the decay and sustain phases that are allowed to prosper in this section. Legato washes of the synthoid kind build up like miasmatic mirages, emanating ashen afterglows and spectral structures. And as usual, always residing in the distance: the pith of nonentity, a deep-black nothingness which swallows every reverberation it can get hold off. Texture-wise, Field 2 succeeds and fools the listener, for it does not contain that many surfaces; their calcination, however, is penetrated by Doppler effects, coalescent intertwinements and phantom frequencies. Everything seems to be meticulously planned, yet feels like a string of incidents… a result of Tobias Reber's algorithmic sorcery?


Chiming on, crossing serpentine ways of climactic shrubberies in-between spacey twilight zones, the above dichotomous abomination eventually makes room for Field 3, the centerpiece of 16 minutes. It mimics (mocks?) a Prog Rock tune, but neglects the wigs. Ecclesiastic hybrids of bagpipe organs kick off the subterranean scheme with accidental chords of warmth before Wöstheinrich, Reuter and Reber return to a crepuscular cadence. Glittering guitars and gorgeous galactosamine globs merge with softly orbiting dark matter pads. Claustrophobic flecks, discordant specks and complementary Saturn rings transform the scenery and take the listener to the null space. Clarinet luminary Tony Scott’s Voyage Into a Black Hole (1987) comes to mind, and strongly so. After seven minutes, retrogressive post-Rave organs and genuinely mystified synth fogs evaporate, Field 3 has reached its cusp, aurally painting a New Age-ified brute that would make engineer luminary Robert Rich proud. After a magnanimous period of tape hiss, the trio of Centrozoon breaks loose, especially so Markus Reuter, fulfilling one's nightmare about – now it's getting complicated – dreaming to be in an intrinsic nightmare where one's only reason of existence is that of a Prog Rock superstar. The electric guitar is the superior element, ennobling the hazardous heliosphere with its translucent patterns. The most progressive tune ends with harpsichord-like stabs and a thick fluxion of elysian ethereality… in minor, meine Herren.


Field 4 contains heterodyned helixes of the familiar kind, shuttling between shadiness and rays of hope, business as usual. But something is decidedly different: the stylistic gap widens. The mellow synth erections are silkier than ever, although the upfront umbilical chords, in contrast, feature agonized asbestus physiognomies. Even synthetic marimbas make it to the scenery, interpolating the wraithlike purgatory. The undulation of the backing synth placenta is especially noteworthy, its wave-like structure expands the encapsulation process, but also serves as a reminder of the gelid circumambience that occurs when the presence of blackness reappears. The backdrop, while interesting enough, is only of secondary importance. Thanks to the careful editing of Tobias Reber, Field 4 features the handsdown greatest amount of synth splutters, drawing from horrifically mean-spirited sawtooth molecules, daedal spirals and wondrous arabesques. Whatever the current state of this version currently is, the magnitude of flavors, bursts and countermeasures is awe-inspiring. That Field 4 ends in a blissful state of celestial runlets is anything but a tomfoolery. The pointillistic sparks on the forefront serve as laughing specters, awkwardly plinking, diminishing the impetus of the accentuating superimposition.


Field 5 is the ferocious-malevolent closer of the album. Being farther away from album title’s connotations than ever before, the trio of Centrozoon ventures into semi-Industrial steel mills loaded with hissing chunks, heavily quavering guitar sirens and sanguine drone fundaments. The occasional drop of an arhythmic heartbeat functions as a life-like rem(a)inder, but in the given circumstances, only creepiness ensues. Markus Reuter's downwards spiraling acid guitars, Bernhard Wöstheinrich's melodramatic organ toxicity as well as threnodic wastelands aurally paint a hopeless situation, with the guitar screaming like a cylonic cat. Begone, evil thoughts! But to no avail, exclamations of this kind are adamantly ridiculed in this demonic factory of extinction. That an album called Lovefield ends on this hatched, forsaken note can only be called pernicious. The gaseous loftiness wanes in favor of a strictly metallic rawness, and even the most infinitesimal injection of halftones in major is anything but a figment of the listener’s mind. After all those eruptions of the glitchy kind, a stable state cannot be reached. Turbulence ever, tranquility never. Objection? Case dismissed. Or worse: case this mist.


Lovefield is an excitingly laid-back album, and what sounds cheekily oxymoronic becomes blazingly clear in hindsight, for it is by tendency an early Ambient version of the band’s Glitch conglomerate called Boner (2012). Keeping the involvement and growing skills of the three band members in mind, Lovefield could nonetheless have been produced today, that is after the release of Boner; it is that eclectic! It might seem audacious, but Lovefield could almost be considered as formulaic! Whatever the current song or the momentary stasis, Centrozoon try to mediate between the Ambient genre and the Glitch side of things. Naturally, things go awry, this would not be a Centrozoon album if sun-dappled paradisiac dioramas would appear before the inner eye. Bernhard Wöstheinrich’s synth wizardry goes hand in hand with Markus Reuter’s ever-morphing guitar work and Tobias Reber’s profound editing skills and filter fastidiousness. The album is long, as are most of the tracks, but it does not feel like a burden. Reber, I presume, edits whole sequences of the recorded material with his band mates and keeps a hypnotizing balance. Although Lovefield shows a strong favor of life’s vicissitudes and incompatible wireframes, beauty and a positive aura are in here, but hidden below most surfaces. A texture may seem haphazard(ous), in tandem with an equally rough billow however, faint echoes of euphony and euphoria shimmer through. What I wrote about Boner is oh so true and applicable here as well: as is the case with every good Glitch album, the anticipation of a certain sound or synth-related embodiment is as delicious as the actual appearance of it. And I mention The Orb’s almighty Pomme Fritz (1994) in this very review again. While not cited by the band as an influence, The Orb draw from a constant pool of sources, patterns and auras. These frizzling ingredients are then pieced together time and again, always resulting in a new galimafré. Similarly to this album, Lovefield is one big mix divided into five parts. It could have been ten or 15 parts as well. It does not reach the labyrinthine cleverness of Boner, but mercilessly wrenches out every iridescent droplet off its textural pond. A poisonous pond it is, but hey, that’s the deal. Now start sipping.



Further listening and reading: 

  • You can purchase and listen to Lovefield in full at Bandcamp.
  • Follow Centrozoon on Twitter: @centrozoon.




Ambient Review 229: Centrozoon – Lovefield (2007). Originally published on Jun. 19, 2013 at AmbientExotica.com.