Words About Music
The Field “Cupid’s Head”
Swedish producer Axel Willner has been slowly morphing electronic music for the past six years right before our eyes with his excellent trilogy of beige-colored albums “From Here We Go Sublime,” “Yesterday and Today,” and “Looping State of Mind.” Six years after that impressive debut he has returned with his fourth studio album “Cupid’s Head,” which represents a definite change of pace, and not just in the music. The Field’s first three albums are fairly similar in terms of album art. Two lines of text over a beige background. This time around he used a dark grey background. Perhaps that should be some sort of clue to what sort of sounds we can expect from The Field this time around.
On “Cupid’s Head,” The Field brings his minimal techno to the cloudiest and murkiest swampy depths its ever been to, with layer upon layer of just-barely-danceable synthesized beat working together to create six lengthy tracks that swirl and pulsate until they aren’t even songs anymore. It is very easy to get lost in the music of “Cupid’s Head.” It’s sort of like a trance album for people who aren’t into psychoactive drugs. It’s sort of like ambient music that just smoked marijuana instead of popping a molly. “Cupid’s Head” is an incredibly relaxed effort, yet very hypnotic as well. Techno, ambient music, minimalism, drone, and other 90s-flavored Warp Records type characteristics are all common in The Field’s music, but they seem to play a much bigger role in this album.
One could definitely make a case against “Cupid’s Head,” calling it too repetitive to be an interesting album. And while I can understand why someone would say that, it’s really to be expected from this artist and this genre of music by now. He’s not making short songs like Aphex Twin or Boards of Canada, The Field is looking to slowly craft epic soundscapes that start out as one sound and develop into a completely new sound over the span of nine or so minutes. He also uses the slightest samples, although I have trouble recognizing where they’re from, which I’m sure is intentional.
While the music of The Field hasn’t been the most compelling electronic music to come about the past 10 years or so, and maybe not the most memorable to people who come across it, he is still consistently designing thought-provoking sounds that draw me in and make me want to listen. It may not make you want to dance, but it’ll definitely make you want to wonder how someone could possibly make sounds like these using only computers and keyboards. Is it minimalist techno or dark ambient with a synth-pop twist? I don’t know. What I do know is that if The Field continues to release very well crafted albums like this as well as evolve and expand his sound, then he is well on his way to becoming one of the most important figures in electronic music, if he’s not already. And he should be.
SCORE – 8.3
FAVORITE TRACKS – They Won’t See Me, Black Sea, No. No…, 20 Seconds of Affection