- The joy of electronic dance music is, for many of us, found in the sense of masochistic submission to the sounds and rhythms of machines. We move like machines to the sound of machines for that strange thrill of being controlled by a machine. Somehow it makes us feel less than and more than human.
But there is another side to the sound of machines, which is that strange alchemy whereby sometimes the most synthetic sounds can feel the most human. And this is where we find The Field. The sounds are so slick, shiny and plastic that they could only have come out of a computer, but the songs tug so warmly and wetly on your heartstrings that they could only have been created by a homosapien.
Sonically this album is but a short hop away from the budget histrionics of a million trance anthems – sickly sweet melodies, squelchy acid lines under slowly drifting pads and a general fondness for repetition. However, artistically, it sits in a class of own at this early point in the year.
This is music for imagining a utopian future to, for dreaming of running through alpine fields with that cute girl on the other side of the dancefloor and for hoping that this tune lasts forever and you never have to open your eyes. Simply stated, it’s truly beautiful music. At this point, words run out and I’ll have to resort to pictures:
Dance music albums, in the sense of records that you want to put on and listen to all the way through, are extremely rare. ‘From Here We Go Sublime’ succeeds admirably at this task because it has both stylistic and artistic unity – the songs sound similar but not the same, and it evokes a variety of moods from the exultant to the sad, but moods with the same flavour of cool, bright outdoor freshness, which I hope is why Axel Willner chooses to call himself ‘The Field’.
The opening track ‘Over the Ice’ will be the most familiar, and remains one of Willner’s stand-out moments. ‘Everyday’ and ‘The Little Heart Beating so Fast’ complete a trio of clubby but emotive tracks, in contrast to the rest of the album which is largely ambient. Interestingly, there are also two experiments in less straightforward 4/4 rhythms – ‘Good Things End’ and ‘Mobilia’, the latter of which uses disordered and faulty-sounding drums to particularly disorienting and satisfying effect.
But it really isn’t the style of the album or the techniques used (and those processed wordless voices are used a LOT) that counts here. Somewhere in the deceptive simplicity of these songs are hidden powerful sonic sigils to unlock secret places in your brain. The Field knows some deep magic, the likes of which we probably haven’t seen since the ‘90s heyday of ‘Selected Ambient Works’ or ‘The Brown Album’. Frankly it doesn’t really matter what music you’re normally into, I think you still need this record. It’ll make you a better person.
1. Over the Ice
2. A Paw in My Face
3. God Things End
4. The Little Heart Beats So Fast
7. The Deal
8. Sun & Ice
10. From Here We Go Sublime