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Album review: The Field's 'Yesterday and Today'

May 20, 2009 | 12:47 pm

ThefieldWith the release of his 2006 single “Over the Ice,” Kompakt recording artist Axel Willner (a.k.a. the Field) galvanized the global techno community. Creating a lush, hypnotic groove out of minimal aesthetics and a crafty sample of Kate Bush's “Under the Ice,” the song signaled a genuine and inspired new voice in electronic music, landing on many year-end ‘best of’ lists.

Willner expounded on his trance-inducing template with the 2007 full-length “From Here We Go Sublime,” crafting dreamy, propulsive instrumentals out of more unassuming sample sources, rendering Lionel Richie, Coldplay and Fleetwood Mac into his tactile, emotionally charged tracks.

For his second LP outing, Willner continues to mine unlikely sources to create mesmerizing tracks while expanding his palate to include live instrumentation. The 10-minute-plus title track is a sprawling collaboration with Battles drummer John Stanier, whose muscular trap work ignites the last half of the song. For the first single “The More That I Do,” Willner chops up the obscure Cocteau Twins tune “Lorelei” into a thick, almost cacophonous cluster of percussive bliss.

Like an electronic Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, Axel Willner’s music as the Field uses rhythm, repetition and unexpected melodies to make a captivating sound that can be too much for some listeners. But to fans of top-flight techno craftsmanship, it’s nothing less than spellbinding.

-- Scott T. Sterling

The Field
“Yesterday and Today”
(Kompakt/Anti-)
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