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The Field: Sound of Light

The Field: Sound of Light

Label:Itunes/heartbeats International
Release Date:2008

By Brandon Soderberg | Posted 2/6/2008

YouTube houses dozens of cell-phone videos of Axel Willner, aka the Field, in front of his VAIO laptop, beers to the right, in the same striped T-shirt, performing concentrated microhouse in venues around the world. Like a hipsterized Where's Waldo?, Willner is the same, but his context changes dramatically. At a chic club in an elevated DJ booth, he's a rave master to people on the dance floor. A few feet from his fans in a dingy indie-rock space, his songs yield contemplative head nods. Or through the crummy speakers of a Toyota Corolla, his music nicely soundtracks lonely winter drives.

Last year's From Here We Go Sublime worked for that reason: House fans dug it, but it was ethereal enough to slip out of the club. This year's iTunes exclusive Sound of Light is Willner's ready-for-listener-projection response to Stockholm's Nordic Light Hotel challenge: "interpret our hotel experience and express it by making a record."

Each of the EP's four tracks represents a different part of the day. "Morning" is leisurely pulses, weary but hopeful; "Day" mechanically bounces along locked in a groove; "Evening" is sophisticated--ghostly female voices tease as heavy drums overwhelm; "Night" is a staccato synth loop that sounds like it's about to blast off but never does. Tension and release are at the core of the Field's music, but with 15 minutes per track, it's taken to extremes that engage some and test others' patience. Sound is either glorified elevator music or it perfectly captures the excitement and monotony of the 24-hour day. Really, it's both--Sound's conceptual roots are a custom fit for the Field's all-things-to-all-people laptop electronics.

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