The Field - Sun & Ice

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  • When Kompakt hits the bullseye the results can be spellbinding, reminding you why you got into this music in the first place. The new 12” from The Field (aka Axel Willner) is right on the mark, retaining aspects of last year's 'Things Keep Falling Down' and its woozy appropriation of The Four Tops while also paying respects to earlier moments in Kompakt's history. The Field's use of sampling recalls filmmaker and Biosphere collaborator Egbert Mittelstaedt, who takes minute portions of action and literally stretches them across the screen. Willner takes tiny audio fragments and instead of chopping them into tics and glitches, he extends them into long, thick slabs of ambient wash. The result is abrupt, rhtyhmic shifts in perspective that reveal novel aspects of the sounds previously hidden from view. This technique is also used by Kompakt head Wolfgang Voigt under his All and Gas monikers, altering the pitch, hue, and intensity of the body of the piece in an instant. Philip Glass used a similar principle throughout ‘Glassworks’, it informed the juxtapositions of early tape music, and to a lesser extent it also guided Erik Satie's cubist pieces the Gymnopedies, Gnossiennes, and Ogives. The Field’s processed soul diva loops recall Luomo, Akufen and Soul Center, and then there are the drums, which could only be Kompakt. This pummeling kickstarts 'Over The Ice': glorious high and low end drones and duelling female moans cut to reveal only an endlessly voiced 'Eee...' before shifting focus to a chorus of sorts made from sixteenth-note acid pulses and a different take on the voices. 'Istedgade' follows a similar trajectory but gushes more urgently, triggered by bright, fractured melodic patterns, an incomprehensible chant and unsettling breakdowns. Somewhat calmer, 'A Paw in my Face' begins with clipped guitar notes evoking the pop ambience of Klimek before maracas, droplet claves and tiny hemmed-in arpeggios evolve into a familiar surge that grows increasingly demanding. The guitar figures transform regularly and by the track's they are revealed as sourced from Lionel Richie's MOR classic 'Hello'. 'Sun and Ice' is exactly that: an aural document of glacial shift, melting forms and crystalline sunbeams, fuelled by unwavering kicks and hats. This track is most akin to Markus Guentner's 'Regensberg' remixes, a highlight of the Kompakt catalogue – 'Sun and Ice' puts The Field right up there with the best of them.