Release Date: Sep 21, 2018
Record label: Kompakt
The broad landscapes of Infinite Moment, the sixth album from Swedish producer Axel Willner under his moniker the Field, come after more than a decade of slowly rippling evolution. Beginning as bright yet abstract electronic pop with 2007's From Here We Go Sublime, the Field looked to inventively diced samples and repetition as the cornerstones of his sound. As the years went on, the unchanging minimal graphic design of the album covers spoke to the snail-paced changes in sound, letting the music speak for itself as it shifted ever so slightly from one release to the next.
Axel Willner's sixth album as the Field approaches slowly, like a car on a highway shredded by heat haze. Two chords oscillate; a humid bass tone rumbles a human voice, or maybe a synthesizer trained to sound like one. The voice is a scream trapped in amber, agitated but distant, a reaction far removed from its spark. Though voices dart in and out of much of the ambient techno Willner makes, this one is different from his usual samples, which tend to hold more structure--a discernible consonant, a fossil of breath.
Axel Willner, also known as The Field, recognises the power of repetition. Each track of his creates a blissful open space through washed out loops that subtly mutate, and complements this with the anchoring thud of a kickdrum. Some tracks have more rhythmically involved percussion, and this creates a mesh of progression and stasis that is not unlike a train journey through rural fields – which, coincidentally, is where this reviewer first listened to new album Infinite Moment.
Techno guru, Axel Willner, is decidedly one of these people. Infinite Moment, his sixth full-length under his moniker, The Field , shows Willner upholding his calibre with poise and self-assurance. Within its six tracks, he not only embraces his pronounced style, but seizes new subtleties of expansive growth. Infinite Moment begins with hostility.
In a statement regarding his sixth album as The Field, Axel Willner likened it to a respite from a world losing hope and "a moment that feels good and you don't want to end." It's a curious description to consider, even for longtime denizens of Willner's landscape, where each album is distinct yet interconnected enough that they could all be worked into a multi-hour DJ mix that would turn a dancefloor into sacred ground wherein epiphanies are manifested as surely as Willner's loops. In short, "a moment that feels good and you don't want to end." The pleasures of Infinite Moment, like the rest of Willner's discography, come from its multidimensionality. As Willner alluded to, it's an hour of refuge that refuses to become background noise.
Axel Willner, better known as The Field, is one of those acts who mastered his craft so quickly that he had completed the hard work almost immediately. His debut From Here We Go to Sublime remains a recent landmark record not just in electronic music, but in general as a masterstroke of carving one's niche and exploiting it for all it's worth. In the time since, over four subsequent albums and now this, his sixth overall, Infinite Moment, he has maintained a consistency that one has come to expect from just over a decade of excellent, minimal, atmospheric techno from the Swedish wunderkind, while each time finding space to subtly add something new to the mix.