Two years ago, The Field (aka Axel Willner) dropped this masterpiece of maximized minimalism from the sky to explode notions of what infectiously catchy dance music can be built from.
Pure, ecstatic, sustained immediacy. This album hits your aural pleasure centers with laser precision from the first moment until the final echo wash. Using clipped, compressed, shifted, exploded and otherwise modified samples to not only transmit a distinctly amorphous energy, but construct the beats – with each set feeling like micro-worlds unto themselves, tiny galaxies streaming by at high speed. When Willner slows things down, as he does halfway though the aptly-named title track, eureka is the only natural response.
Grabbing throats and forcing attention, each song proceeds to evolve into a hypnosis-inducing pattern. The best ones come on feeling hardwired into some primal wavelength in the hypothalamus, unrelentingly catchy until the last moment when elements unravel and a synth stab reveals itself as a pitched vocal, organ lines deflate into a rhythm bed. An entire song tips over, unravels like a suture, and spills out The Four Tops.
Residing naturally at Kompakt, his sound is pitched somewhere between the progressive ambient techno of The Orb and the ‘pop ambient’ of label founder Gas (Wolfgang Voigt); of course, to fully visualize you’ll have to imagine Willner floating in some sort of dirigible far above the proceedings. Not to say that this is objectively better than either of those artists, of course – The Field simply aspires to loftier atmospheres than his forebears.
To put things laconically: this is four on the floor dance music with enough inner life and microscopic detail to satisfy the deepest of psych connoisseurs, infused with the energy to keep a party stomping though it’s hourlong runtime, and entrancing to the point of total willing surrender. So let go. Put on those headphones. Succumb to the kinetic charms. From here we go sublime, indeed.