Usually when you get an electronic dance record with a certain groove and four-to-the-floor-appeal you can tend to automatically locate it in some sort of imaginary club. Is it more a record for the balearic beach at noon or Berlin’s infamous Berghain at night? In terms of Axel Willner and his alter ego THE FIELD you can clearly say that this venue is not located on earth itself. It’s somewhere else. Maybe it’s not even a certain place. It rather is a state. A state of psychedelic trance, repetitive rhythms and sonic soundscapes.
With Cupid’s Head, the fourth album by THE FIELD, Willner proves why he might be the most experimental output on legendary Cologne-based techno institution Kompakt. His working manners might be a bit unusual but his understanding and designing of electronic music gives his sound a very unique spirit. Something that is quite rare these days in electronic music. It’s no coincidence that the previous longplayer of the project was called Looping State of Mind. Willner loves loops, the whole musical concept of THE FIELD is build on the idea of repetitive structures. The endless looping is driven to the extreme on Cupid’s Head, resulting in a very intense recording. It’s not a typical club record, it’s a trip into the musical mind of the Swedish producer.
They Won’t See Me already feels like a rocket launch, although a quite smooth one. The epic over 11 minute long Black Sea follows this tradition. Axel Willner builds loop on loop, lays sound layers on sound layers. Tiny elements pop of from time to time, hinting vague melodic ideas in the ongoing ride of the electronic steamroller. There’s no escape of this intensity. Sometimes, like in the case of the title track, this intensity is almost too much to take. The music of THE FIELD is very noisey, quite compressed and rough. No wonder since its the first album Willner recorded entirely without computer software. This really helps Cupid’s Head to mix the stigma sound of THE FIELD with a couple of new ideas.
If you expect a classical dance record in the style of other Kompakt releases you’ll be highly disappointed by THE FIELD‘s new longplayer. This is not about bass breaks and build up’s, it’s about sounds and noises, about finding complexity in a quite simple setting of sounds. This is definitely a journey and a listening challenge. And in the end you’ll have to find out for yourself if this is your new favourite club.