THE FIELD – Looping State Of Mind (Kompakt)

I had never heard of The Field before I got this album, neither did I really have an idea of what to expect from it. It got a reasonably good review in NME, and even though minimalist techno is not my first love I was intrigued. Alex Willner (for he is The Field) makes long, looping tracks that sample pop songs and then feed them back into themselves to produce hypnotic ambient textures. The opening track ‘Is This Power’ is eight and a half minutes long, and starts with a looping groove which is quite hypnotic. About halfway through you get a break where the synths subside and the bass take centre stage, but then the keys come back and is drifts towards a conclusion. It might sound a bit boring, and to be honest that is what I thought the first time I heard it, but on the second listen it suddenly all made sense and I got where it was going. The repetitive drum and bass of ‘It’s Up There’ and the stuck record rhythms and African sounding vocalisations of ‘Burned Out’ were therefore no surprise, and I could get in the groove and enjoy them. ‘Arpeggiated Love’ ups the bpm for a great techno raver, while the title track is ten minutes of looped beats that shift backwards and forwards over and over again, but with just enough going on under the surface to stop it becoming boring. As if to show that he can do more than just techno rave tracks, ‘Then It’s White’ is an ambient piano-led piece which works just as well as the other drum and bass led tracks that have preceded it. It still has subtle beats and samples running through it, but it comes over as a superb chill-out track to bring you down after the non-stop rave and house beats of the previous 45 minutes. ‘Sweet Slow Baby’ closes the record with another stuck-groove rhythm, and while there might seem to be less going on here than on some of the other tracks it has more than enough to keep it interesting. So, not my usual sort of thing, but I feel I have eclectic enough tastes to encompass most genres, and drum and bass can now be added to them. If you are already into techno and house, though, then this album is definitely worth investigation.
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