Album Review: The Field – Looping State of Mind

The aptly titled Looping State of Mind more than sums up Axel Willner’s approach to beat making on his third outing as a minimalistic techno artist. Hoping to take his moniker The Field to another level, this recording is a return to looped form but with a much deeper sound. Where similar techno outfits lose their luster, drowning in repetition and length, Willner carefully layers each new track with more elements added on each passing moment.

Thriving on simplicity, one can wonder how Willner manages to keep listeners transfixed when not a track on the album is under seven minutes. With opener “Is This Power”, it’s easy to see how engaging The Field really is. Drum machines with a pulse strike hard against clamorous echoes and ringing, masking thick bass that eventually rises with a distinct and noteworthy solo moment. Relying on clean softness, Willner builds a track that gently soars with time. “Then It’s White” is a chilly, ambient number with soothing piano that provides a gorgeous, lush cushion to a track that inches slowly along. A distorted vocal sample drifts by with methodical laziness, peeking amongst sweeps of percussion.

Moments of thumping dance grooves without the added techno flash are a staple of The Field here. The carefree and airy “It’s Up There” glistens like a castoff from a late night dance session. A loop of frenzied bass skitters among synths that roll in like waves, crashing into walls of quickly escalating percussion. But this sort of aural chaos is not only danceable but incredibly precise, as heard through the whirring mesh of bass and percussion on “Arpeggiated Love” – a song that stresses yet shimmers, too.

On the whole, Looping State of Mind is carefully thought out, beautiful in its lofty ambitions, and a refreshing return without any unnecessary sheen and gloss – minimalism that moves.

Essential Tracks: “Is This Power” , “Then It’s White” , and “Arpeggiated Love”


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