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Looping State of Mind

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Looping State of Mind
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Vinyl, October 11, 2011
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (October 11, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Kompakt Germany
  • ASIN: B005IS56BM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,818 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I first heard The Field before I had "heard of" The Field: A stuttering and stretching sample of the Flamingos' "I Only Have Eyes For You" echoed from a former friend's basement bedroom. Said friend happened to introduce another band my way named Isolee. Needless to say, something about The Field's music struck me as much warmer and fuller than the micro-house outfits. Was it that it was unafraid to just be what it was? Was it that I felt I had heard a little of the innocence and enthusiasm I had had when I made music of my own? I didn't buy the debut CD ("From Here We Go Sublime") for a while, letting the memories of that moment stew a bit. (The irony in waiting to purchase something official which is so obviously sample-riddled is pretty amazing.) When I finally picked it up (Jackpot Records in Portland), I was hooked.

Now, we have "Looping State Of Mind", Axel Willner's third as The Field. At first glance, it seems like a pretty modest release. But these seven songs are spread out over an hour, and, boy, do they breathe. He's latched on to his ability to develop a single source ("Yesterday and Today"), and lets seemingly simple sounds develop into their own. Now, there is a pretty clear emphasis on the 4/4 rhythms, but the playfulness has always been how the other elements interact with a bit of swing (check the intro to "Burned Out" if you doubt this).

30-second samples will not do justice to the warmth of this album. If you haven't checked out "From Here We Go Sublime", it's worth checking out to see if you'll like it. If you're already on board, though, check this album out, and live with it for a while in the background before moving it to your favorites.

One of the best of 2011, in my opinion.
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Format: Audio CD
(Taken from my blog at [...])

I'm not normally a fan of "looped" based methods of music making. I prefer stacked harmonies, melodies, a whole wall of sound that shifts and surprises. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of trance music because, although I understand what is trying to be done with repeated patterns, it usually doesn't lull me into the music and instead makes me think that the musician is simply lazy and hit "repeat" for 16 bars in their computer program.

But with The Field, Axel Willner manages to accomplish the main task of pattern-based music (putting the listener into a trance) while making it still sound organic and natural. It doesn't feel like someone arranging blocks of sounds in a computer sequencer, it sounds like someone with a sense of purpose. He smartly augments his loops with live instruments which breathes a hefty amount of life into the music. He is also extremely patient, some of the more rewarding songs exceeding 10 minute lengths.

As I'm listening, I don't even hear some of the things creeping in. "Subtle" is a vast understatement; there were times when I started listening to a song and before I knew it, realized that 15 different things were going on at one single moment. That was the moment I realized the brilliance of this work. It doesn't try too hard but it works hard enough to make the listen worthwhile.
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Format: Audio CD
The Field (aka Axel Willner) is a one-man trance/house project with strong flavors of minimalist techno, shoegaze and ambient music wrapped into a very coherent package that can really only be described as; The Field. Willner really broke out in 2007 with his debut LP From Here We Go Sublime, producing music so shameless in it's simplicity yet so unapologetic for it's majesty. Containing very limited 4/4 drum loops and samples repeated for minutes on end, creating a very blissfully hypnotic effect. It is this hypnotic bliss that Willner is so good at conveying, and he knows it. However he's also aware of the need to expand his sound to new horizons whilst still harvesting from his roots, as shown on his sophomore LP.

Now, roots are really the key to the ultimate success or failure of Looping State of Mind, and while the album title may suggest a strong return to form after 2009's somewhat meandering Yesterday and Today, Looping State of Mind actually finds Willner expanding more, however the music isn't quite as indulgent as that of Yesterday and Today. Sure there's not a single track under 7 minutes to be found here, but Willner really uses restraint on a lot of these tracks and actually builds on them. Whereas on a track like Sun & Ice off of From Here We Go Sublime, Willner would let the simplicity of the sample do all the work, we find him here on tracks like Burned Out, consistently layering the dreamy frenzy creating a kind of understated crescendo. This is one of the new tricks he's really honed in on throughout the album, and it's quite a welcome change of pace.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The evolution towards something more organic from From Here We Go Sublime through to this album is apparent. However, as good as Looping State of Mind is, something leaves me wanting. This album lacks the emotion prevalent in previous albums; it sounds just a bit more generic. That said, it's still great.
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