- Axel Willner's music as The Field has always been about tiny bits of sound looped until their bled edges resemble something new entirely. More often than not, pathos is involved, which is why an alias like Loops Of Your Heart seems almost pointlessly transparent. But while the idea might be the same, the Swede's moves with And Never Ending Nights come from an entirely alternate angle. Rather than build heart-tugging hooks from minimal techno, Loops Of Your Heart uses languid long-strokes of analogue synth to create compositions that repeat endlessly.
Nights lands on small Cologne label Magazine, and its seven tracks are indebted enough to krautrock to fit their home, as well as Willner's relocation from Sweden to Berlin. In fact, as much as references to mid-period Cluster are expected (and apt), Nights feels like it owes more to Bowie's Berlin Trilogy than anything else: the prickly textures and foreboding drones of "Broken Bow" and "Neukolln" recall Bowie's "Warsazwsa" or, yes, "Neukoln" more than "Im Suden." The result is a hybrid album that sits outside of the already overcrowded kosmische dialogue and away from any convenient kraut-revival tag you could throw at it. This is The Field doing synth-based music and it sounds exactly like you might expect.
The album has two modes: (relatively) short, tightly-sewn synth soundbites and longer, more repetitive jams. Every track is driven by loops, but they're utilized differently. On "Little You, You Should Develop," bits of delirious melody fly by like buzzing insects, their repetitive motion creating an endless cycle of melancholy and resolution, while on "End" the loops form a pseudo-rhythm like something off of Looping State of Mind drenched in codeine. The longer tracks are different animals, sparser in spite of their behemoth sprawl. "Broken Bow" subtly morphs from alienating to warmly welcoming until it acquires a quasi-techno hiss of a beat, but centrepiece "Cries" does it one better with even less at its disposal. Eleven minutes of a single melody weaving itself again and again, it's simultaneously funereal and uplifting, the kind of effortlessly elegiac melody that you feel like you must have heard before but you're powerless to resist anyway (Eno's best trick). The endless sustain warps the synths ever so slightly, a sort of aural illusion of dynamism and melody that makes up for the track's stone-faced monotony. By the time those sensuous guitar licks quietly make their entrance in the track's final few minutes, the alias Loops Of Your Heart doesn't seem so silly anymore.
Seeing that Willner's already proven himself a master of both hypnotic hooks and drawn-out grooves, it's no surprise that Loops Of Your Heart is yet another success for an artist who's yet to take a wrong turn, but it's still remarkable how well he can adapt to such a drastically different set of sonic tools and still sound like himself. And Never Ending Nights might not sound like an album by The Field, but you can tell that The Field made it: and the result is one of the most emotionally powerful synth albums in a time where they seem absolutely dime a dozen.
01. Little You, You Should Develop
02. Broken Bow
06. Lost in the Mirror
07. At the Boards