Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Field: Looping State of Mind (2011)



The popular Swedish ambient-techno act Axel Willner, under his stage moniker the Field, lit the hype machine aflame with From Here We Go Sublime back in 2007; he's returned with this subtle, stuttering but highly listenable collection of loops and delicacies -- if you're unfamiliar, think a slightly melodramatic variation on Four Tet. Looping State of Mind is an ideal record for zoning out or concentrating on paperwork, but it's also perversely fun, full of tricky and meandering percussion loops and piano trills that gradually open into expansive, often propulsive soundscapes. The songs are both pretty and confoundingly hypnotic, all passing seven minutes without wearing out their welcome (save the insufferable closer "Sweet Slow Baby").

Willner is adept at semi-conventional club music like "It's Up There" without betraying the ambition audible on African-infected beats such as "Burned Out" and the title track, or knob-twiddling indulgences like "Then It's White"; the eclecticism allows him to strike a sometimes lovely balance between the spiritual and mundane. Do you like music that takes its time to make its point but consistently makes the journey worthwhile? Get hold of this.

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