The Field Looping State Of Mind
When music is described as “organic,” it usually signals that the verse-chorus-verse structure has been given a firm shake, that vocals and instrumentation have been allowed to slosh and spill into each other, and that the production emphasizes smeary, sweaty naturalism over crispness and clarity. But the word could just as easily be applied to Axel Willner, a.k.a. The Field, whose hat-trick of very-good-to-great ambient-techno records culminates with Looping State Of Mind. Beginning life as simple repeating loops, these seven tracks meld fluttering basslines and live drums with vestigial high-hat hiss and sampled vocals over the course of their mutative, meditative journeys—all of which clock in at more than seven minutes long.
Unlike that other recursion-based crossover success, William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops, Mind is primarily interested in addition rather than subtraction. The seasick synths of “Is This Power,” the swaddling pillow-fort of “Burned Out,” and the slouch-shouldered groove of “Arpeggiated Love” are all built on slow, subtle growth that feels designed to re-calibrate expectations. The effect is of deliciously deferred pleasure, like dopamine that’s been given time to propagate and cluster before rushing its intended receptors en masse. Thankfully, Willner always keeps a few toes dug into pop territory, even when he’s indulging in deliciously off-center beats, sine waves of riding-mower buzz, and time signatures that sound danceable until you actually give them a go. Kompakt has sewn up the market on electronic artists who can slow-drip pleasure (Markus Guentner and Superpitcher among them), but The Field knows how to tease until it’s practically torturous, while somehow never qualifying for off-putting tags like “difficult” or “experimental.”