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The Field — Cupid’s Head (2013)

 The Field — Cupid’s Head (2013)

The Field — Cupid’s Head

Official logo "NOMINATED" for 7th Tais Awards 2014
Ξ   Swedish producer Axel Willner, who gained critical notice for his evocative, ambient take on experimental techno.
Birth name: Axel Willner
Also known as: Cordouan, James Larsson, Lars Blek, Loops of Your Heart, Porte
Location: Stockholm, Sweden ~ Lisbon, Portugal ~ Berlin, Germany
Album release: September 30th, 2013
Record Label: Kompakt
Duration:     54:13
Tracks:
01 They Won't See Me     9:02
02 Black Sea     11:38
03 Cupid's Head     6:35
04 A Guided Tour     8:16
05 No. No ...     9:02
06 20 Seconds of Affection     9:40
REVIEW
By Larry Day (Lives in East Cowes, Isle Of Wight/), 20 September 2013; Score: 8/10
Ξ   Based in the cultural hub and musical hotspot of Berlin, Swedish DJ/producer Axel Willner — aka The Field — is back for his first studio LP since 2011′s Looping State Of Mind. The new record, entitled Cupid’s Head, follows up a dance album that’s revered as essentially a modern classic; needless to say, it’s a difficult feat to equal, much less top.
Ξ   Reportedly stuck in an aimless fug and creative block, the album found its stride once Willner had crafted a golden loop, which would later become the foundations for ‘No. No…’ He states, simply: “It sets a mood for the entire album.”
Ξ   On that track, rhythms skip and skirt each other, circling each other as if gearing up for an oily bare-knuckle boxing match. Shattered Knife-esque vocal samples judder amongst ducking and weaving polyrhythms. The atmosphere is midnight-in-a-forest dark, and the creaking angles of neo-techno provide a cinematic backdrop; it feels like it should be a Cliff Martinez OST.
Ξ   Bass drones are liquid, an occasional distorted kick beat snaps and serpentine hi-hats skate over the tense sonic smog. Though it appears, and indeed begins, rather surreptitiously, the music grows exponentially into a thundering post-rock crescendo before slipping down a gear and taking three minutes to fizzle out. It’s bloody lovely, and no wonder Willner sees it as a focal point of the record.
Ξ   “For me, Cupid’s Head is about visions of the future, tiny actions and their consequences, about sentimentality and most certainly about life,” says Willner of the record’s meaning. In many respects, he ably evokes the first of those — it’s got an overtly futuristic streak. Cupid’s Head has the ability to conjure visions of grotesque dystopian machinations, bleak greyscale urban landscapes and the shadowy recesses of a world akin to that in Blade Runner. It’s an evocative record. However, without knowing first that it’s basically about the butterfly effect, that may well be tougher to discern via non-existent lyrics and rugged buzzsaw synths.
Ξ   ’20 Seconds Of Affection’, rather than being like its namesake, is actually almost ten minutes of fuzzy warped trance. It floats rather than drives, though there’s a dedicated rhythm section underneath the rusty synth conflagration. Eleven minute opus ‘Black Sea’ throbs and chugs with Ed Banger-cum-Thrill Jockey noise-funk; shredded vox merge with cowbell-ish bops and disco beats that eventually morph into a murky menace. It’s considerably more poppy than a lot of the sounds on Cupid’s Head, but it still retains that gloopy post-house infiniteness and a lump of gnarled terror.
Ξ   With the shortest track on Cupid’s Head totalling a mere 6:33, it’s clear this isn’t really an album you can just drop in to. There’s no plonking yourself down for a track, it’s an LP that requires almost consistent attention to achieve full effect, otherwise you’re left a bit bewildered after ten minutes of hypnotic avant-garde techno static. To experience the full-force oomph of it, you need to be immersed and discover the myriad layers between cuts; the charm of this appears through the nuances between efforts. It’s minimalist at heart, and thus often repetitive, so in order to appreciate the narratives and themes Willner is attempting to sculpt, you need to hear the scope of subtlety, and not just a minute cross-section.
Ξ   If you’re just after some doom’n'gloom dance for a creepy-ass rave, then it’ll work too — but you’re unlikely to ‘get’ Willner’s intentions. How much you appreciate this will depend on how you experience it, but for those willing to go the extra mile and just listen, you’ll probably enjoy it a helluva lot more. (http://thefourohfive.com/)
________________________________________________________________
Artist Biography by Andy Kellman
Ξ   Sun and Ice One of the Kompakt label's most beloved and polarizing producers (he was accused of being a formula-reliant one-trick pony), Sweden's Axel Willner debuted with Things Keep Falling Down, a 12" containing a pair of blissed-out trance-techno tracks over ten minutes in length — one of which, "Thought vs. Action," made clever use of the intro to the Four Tops' "I'll Be There." A follow-up 12", Sun and Ice (with samples of Lionel Richie and Kate Bush), appeared in 2006, leading to the 2007 full-length From Here We Go Sublime. Two of his most impressive tracks appeared on Kompakt's Pop Ambient 2007 and Pop Ambient 2008 compilations. A second album, the more rhythmically varied Yesterday and Today, appeared in 2009.
Website: http://www.garmonbozia.se/
Label: www.kompakt.fm
INTERVIEW, Steve Mizek with AM at RA: http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?837
INTERVIEW, Mosi Reeves with AM at AF Gate: http://www.sfgate.com/music/article/Axel-Willner-turns-the-Field-into-a-band-3825254.php
________________________________________________________________
Discography:
Albums:
Ξ   From Here We Go Sublime (2007)
Ξ   Yesterday and Today (2009)
Ξ   Looping State of Mind (2011)
Ξ   Cupid's Head (2013)
EPs:
Ξ   Things Keep Falling Down (2005)
Ξ   Sound of Light (Heartbeats International, 2007)
Ξ   Yesterday and Today Remixe (2009)
Ξ   Looping State of Mind Remixe (2012)
Singles:
Ξ   "Annie" (2005)
Ξ   "Sun & Ice" (2006)
Ξ   "The More That I Do" (2009)
Remixes:
Ξ   Annie — "Heartbeat" (2005; released as "Annie" single)
Ξ   Marit Bergman — "No Party" (2006)
Ξ   Familjen — "Hög Luft" (2006)
Ξ   James Figurine — "55566688833" (2006)
Ξ   The Fine Arts Showcase — "Chemical Girl" (2006)
Ξ   120 Days — "Come Out (Come Down, Fade Out, Be Gone)" (2006)
Ξ   Battles — "Tonto" (2007)
Ξ   Gui Boratto — "Hera" (2007)
Ξ   The Honeydrips — "Fall from a Height" (2007)
Ξ   Maps — "You Don't Know Her Name" (2007)
Ξ   Andreas Tilliander — "Stay Down" (2007)
Ξ   DeVotchKa — "The Clockwise Witness" (2008)
Ξ   Popnoname — "Touch" (2008)
Ξ   Sasha — "Mongoose" (2008)
Ξ   Thom Yorke — "Cymbal Rush" (2008)
Ξ   Bear in Heaven — "Ultimate Satisfaction" (2010)
Ξ   Delorean — "Real Love" (2010)
Ξ   Errors — "Bridge or Cloud?" (2010)
Ξ   Harmonia & Eno '76 — "Luneburg Heath" (2010)
Ξ   Maserati — "Pyramid of the Moon" (2010)
Ξ   Tocotronic — "Schall und Wahn" (2010)
Ξ   Walls — "Hang Four" (2010)
Ξ   Wildbirds & Peacedrums — "The Well" (2010)
Ξ   Junior Boys — "Banana Ripple" (2011)
Ξ   Masquer — "Happiness" (2011)
Ξ   Miracle — "The Visitor" (2011)
Ξ   Wasscass — "Openfield" (2011)
Ξ   Battles — "Sweetie & Shag" (2012)
Ξ   S.C.U.M. — "Amber Hands" (2012)
Ξ   Tame Impala — "Mind Mischief" (2013)
Ξ   Sally Shapiro — "Lives Together" (2013)
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The Field — Cupid’s Head (2013)

 

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