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Looping State of Mind

The Field

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Album Review

The third Field album is front-loaded with two of Axel Willner's most entrancing and brawniest productions yet. Opener “Is This Power” coasts on a deep dubwise bassline, softly smacking percussion, and a fogged-out keyboard melody, its blissful stasis interrupted by a trap-door breakdown that makes way for patterns of black diamond gleam. The speedy “It’s Up There” is carried by sluicing ambient wash, firm-cushion thumps, and a twangy/plucked bass. It’s Willner’s most transportive work since “Love vs. Distance,” the A-side of his debut 12” single. Those first two tracks, totaling 17 minutes, are compounds of shoegaze, ambient dub, and techno — antidotes for those who looked forward to the January 2011 return from Field progenitors Seefeel and were left cold by its bristly arrhythmia. This album’s remainder does not feature as much action, but much of it — including the gushing “Arpeggiated Love” and the fragile piano ballad “Then It’s White,” the latter of which comes across as a return love letter to Dirk Leyers' Kompakt B-side “Come to Where I Go” — is as alluring and dreamlike as anything from Willner’s first two full-lengths. As on 2009’s Yesterday and Today, Willner is assisted by a handful of multi-instrumentalists who add both heft and nuance. Indeed, this set’s title is somewhat misleading; the contents are seemingly open-ended and breathe. They sound little like the product of solitary programming.

Biography

Born: Sweden

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

One of the Kompakt label's most beloved and polarizing producers (he was accused of being a formula-reliant one-trick pony), Sweden's Axel Willner debuted in February 2005 with Things Keep Falling Down, a 12" containing a pair of blissed-out trance-techno tracks over ten minutes in length — one of which, "Thought vs. Action," made clever use of the intro to the Four Tops' "I'll Be There." A follow-up 12", Sun and Ice (with samples of Lionel Richie and Kate Bush), appeared in April 2006, which...
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Looping State of Mind, The Field
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