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- The Field »
Sweden’s Axel Willner, the man also known as The Field, is currently riding high on a swell of acclaim for his Kompact Records debut, From Here We Go Sublime. While not typically the type of fare to give editors and writers on the indie side of the music critic playing field sweaty palms, Willner’s cocktail of vintage pop snippets, squelching synths, repetitive beats and ambient backdrops has earned him surprisingly top marks and support from some of the more guitar focused internet sites and magazines. Even NME_ recently gave it a decent review.
But how does a Swede specialising in lush electronic waves of sound more suited for the bedroom than a cramped dance club fare when performing live, at his label’s first official London bash, to a room full of foreign girls and vinyl-loving boys stealthily eyeing up every move the DJs make? Surprisingly well it turns out.
Following support by London’s Allez-Allez (check out their ace online mixes here) and Kompact’s Tobias Thomas – who makes a brilliant argument for what a thought provoking DJ set should sound like – Willner shuffles on with his laptop dressed in a loose fitting cardigan and vest. Combined with a thin moustache across his upper lip, he looks more like someone’s quirky uncle than the mastermind of what is gearing up to be one of the year’s cross-over electronic success stories.
Yet all this is forgotten when he plugs in his laptop and the music starts blaring out of the speakers. Far from being a navel-gazing affair for likeminded souls in attendance, the tracks lend themselves to an air of fist pumping celebration. While the throbbing rhythm of ‘The Little Heart Beats So Fast’, keeps the appreciative crowd entranced, it’s on highlights like The Flamingos-sampling _‘From Here We Go Sublime’ _and the Lionel Richie-loving _‘A Paw In My Face’ _that the secret behind the record’s success sticks its head out of the sand. Willner appears to approach his electronic constructions with an underlying pop sensibility and a serious knack for crafting strong melodies. It’s a trick that, in a live setting, successfully embraces the domain of melody loving nu-shoegazers like M83, as well as the more techno-driven side of the equation. It’s also a winning combination that the audience adores.
Which just may be the reason why Willner breaks out a cigar near the end of his set, leans back for a second with his cardigan draped over his shoulders in a cape-like fashion, lights it and, with what looks like a smile on his face, goes back to playing his tunes to the audience while puffing away.
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