Sunday, September 16, 2007

From Here We Go Sublime by The Field

Minimalist techno is not a phrase you hear very often around the MAtR offices, most people involved here having an inbuilt aversion to the droning repetition of trance and house music, as well as the tendency towards laziness - i.e. taking a (bad) sample from a (bad) song from the 80s and throwing a beat at it - most notably Eric Prydz's woeful effort in 2005 "Call on Me". So when announced that the debut album from The Field, a pseudonym of Swedish producer Axel Willner, From Here We Go Sublime, was the best album of the year, there was an obligation to raise eyebrows, blow fringes out of eyes, then head to the record store and give it a go.

The opening lines of the opening track, Over The Ice, didn't provide any stunning surprises, except that it was clearly a cut above any other techno that had come out of late, with beats that in other hands would be thumping club anthem style fed through a filter about a mile thick, and a sample of, well, something, cut and shaped down to a female voice repeating the letters 'e' and 'i' in two octaves. The funny thing is though, it gets under your skin. Buries itself deep inside your head, and comes back to you at three in the morning, when you're winding down. Suddenly that sound of a massive rave happening next door makes perfect sense, and you realise that now, 30 years after Brian Eno invented ambient music, his natural successor has arrived. The Field has not made a dance record. This isn't for the revolving dancefloor, but for the couch.

This gets reinforced on the next track, "A Paw in My Face", which takes its cues slightly more from the ambient milieu, quietly building to the point where another sample, a guitar piece, again cut and shaped out of all recognition, kicks in, and the songs finds another gear. However, it's at the very end, 5 1/2 minuted in, where the true beauty of the song is revealed. The last 6 seconds, the track unspools, ends its seemingly endless repetitions, and unveils the sample in its true form, the guitar intro from Lionel Richie's fairly flavourless A.M. radio staple, "Hello".

And this is the wonder of the record. It is the brief moments that drop your jaw, bring you back from the reverie which the simple, gentle beats send you and give a swift, strangely caressing, kick in the guts.

Some people will never get into trance, or house, or dance music in general. And that's ok, it's not for everyone. But anyone seeking to find an entry into this most mysterious of genres, look no further than From Here We Go Sublime.

4 stars


At 11:40 PM, Anonymous man who know said...

just found the website with this release


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