Looping State Of Mind Looping State Of Mind


The Field The FieldLooping State Of Mind

8.1 / 10

The Field  Looping State Of Mind KOMPAKT

Axel Willner admits that he's not listening to techno the way he used, and it shows. You can hear it in the pace on this third album as The Field (not counting “Sound Of Light”, which was an hour long but is registered in his discography as an EP), where only two tracks are meant to suggest a state of hypnosis within the walls of a club. The typical The Field features are still there, of course (the incessant repetition, the cyclic micro structures layered as loops over loops, the trance and shoegaze influences), but the space they're looking for is more intimate now, domestic, and the effect they have is more cerebral, while before there was more room for physical pleasure. The evolution shouldn't come as a surprise, though. You could already sense it on “Yesterday And Today” (Kompakt, 2009), which showed some important initial changes compared to “From Here We Go Sublime” (2006). The Swedish musician started to use more organic percussion instead of the digital 4x4, he changed his laptop for a three-piece live band and he gave more importance to his Kraut-rock influences (more Neu! And Harmonia) than to hypnotic German techno of the nineties (The Modernist, Air Liquide, Cosmic Baby). “Looping State Of Mind” is the continuation of that line.

That line implicates that, apart from “Is This Power” and “It’s Up There”, curiously enough the first two tracks on the album, which is being released today on digital (the CD and vinyl won't be out until 10th October), The Field abandons the eternal night and cultivates the music of dusk, of the long evenings of Berlin in winter, at home with the heating on, creating a bubble in which he can work with more dedication and inspiration. Willner decided to leave Stockholm after finishing “Yesterday & Today” and moved to the capital of Germany, and, like what happens to many techno ex-pats, instead of reactivating his link with club music, in Berlin he is living a kind of self-chosen monastic life, in a private bubble, which also has something to day with age. “Looping State Of Mind” is, therefore, The Field's adult album. It isn't exultant or hedonist, it's simply serene, sure of its evolution and passionate without exhibitionism. The proof is in “Arpeggiated Love”, a flood of whispering voices and motorik rhythms that are sliding at the same time, as if they were skating on ice, to redefine a version 3.0 of The Field, suggested before and now confirmed. His recipe is simple: slow down the bass drum gallops and make the music, instead of running past the five-minute mark, slow down in the next five.

It was easy to go from the trance orientation to cosmic immersion without hardly changing the sound, because, as the title indicates, The Field is a “looping state of mind”. It has always been that. Luckily, the loop technique, though taken from techno, doesn't belong solely to dance music, and Willner felt free to make a minimal record (in the Terry Riley meaning of the word, close to the border of contemporary music, like many titans of Kraut-rock of the seventies) on which he opens the window to new possibilities. Beyond layering loops like he always does, “Then It’s White” comes near impressionism and the neo-classical school, using piano samples (also looped but with longer notes and not danceable). And the same way the pieces slow down as they go on, the whole album does so when it gets to the seventh and last track, “Sweet Slow Baby”, nine final minutes of a lazy dragging that point at what The Field could sound like in 2013 or 2014: an artist who, without renouncing his technique of repetition, layering and insistence, little by little, reaches the limits of silence and stillness.

Robert Gras

It’s Up There

The Field - Then It's White by Kompakt

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