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The Field

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The Field


The Berlin-based, Swedish-born Axel Willner makes a virtue of simplicity on his shimmering techno epics. Grounded in the constant pulse and flickering repetitions of Kompakt, the Cologne minimal techno label he calls home, Willner's music turns to pop to give it extra body, heft and color. He first came to attention for "Over the Ice," a 2006 single that spun a snippet of Kate Bush into a churn of pulsing synths and determined drums, and its B-side, "A Paw in My Face," which did the same with an even unlikelier source: Lionel Richie's "Hello." In 2007, he released From Here We Go Sublime, a full album of gossamer yearning that easily lived up to its title. Expanding to a full-band lineup complete with bass and drums for the resulting tour, he returned in 2009 with Yesterday and Today. The album boasts a fuller sound, bristling with bells and hard-to-place samples. (Not all of them: the Cocteau Twins' "Lorelei" figures prominently in "The More That I Do," and "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime" incorporates Korgis samples in the cover version.) The sublime never felt quite so within reach.
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