Hailed as his "most diverse and satisfying statement to date“ (Resident Advisor) and a “victory lap for the power of the loop“ (XLR8R), THE FIELD’s LOOPING STATE OF MIND (KOMPAKT CD 94) – Axel Willner’s third full-length under his most prevalent moniker – ranked high in those 2011 charts, being featured on virtually every “best albums“ list known to man and reaching well into 2012 with sold-out concerts and its universally acclaimed remixes (KOMPAKT 263). Now, the Berlin-based Swede presents CUPID’S HEAD, the first album recorded solo since his debut FROM HERE WE GO SUBLIME (KOMPAKT CD 57) and a powerful touch-up of his landmark hypnotism, but also a departure for new shores both personal and musical.
A first glance at the black cover already signals the profound changes entering the well-defined artistic framework of THE FIELD, where the tools may remain the same, but the outcome significantly differs from what has gone before. “When I started to work on CUPID’S HEAD, it was quite awkward“, says Axel, “I felt that I had nothing to put into a new album and I’m not the type to sit down and force something out in the studio. But then, after a few modest attempts, I got a first loop together and running.“ That initial loop acted as a breakthrough agent and became NO.NO..., an intense piece of concrete poetry dissolving in gorgeous swathes of sound and CUPID’S HEAD’s key tune…“it sets a mood for the entire album“.
This mood is a discernibly complex one and not easy to categorize, for THE FIELD’s multi-layered approach to sound now transcends its technicalities and reaches far beyond mere production values, entering a phase where its original message has become the medium for wildly differing emotions that also draw from Axel’s many side-projects: “take the end of BLACK SEA for example and then listen to what I’ve done as BLACK FOG... there’s a strong connection“, says the producer, referring to the ubiquitous traces of his alter egos - like LOOPS OF YOUR HEART’s ambient bliss or BLACK FOG’s dark disco inspired by classic horror movie soundtracks - that can be found all over CUPID’S HEAD.
From opening epic THEY WON’T SEE ME to the more upbeat (and very “Field-ish“) title track, the gauzy softcore of A GUIDED TOUR or the intriguing ambient ornamentation of 20 SECONDS OF AFFECTION, CUPID’S HEAD invites the listener to a highly immersive experience that feels as comfortable on the dance floor as it does in private. Continuously wandering off into the woods of its very unique sound world, the album finds not one, but many rabbit holes to bravely explore, basically rewriting the love letter to the loop that lies at the center of THE FIELD’s quasi techno to include more than that one recipient. More open than hermetic, CUPID’S HEAD presents itself as tremendously accessible work, whose focus lies well beyond the tunnel vision of studio-bound antics or sophisticated navel-gazing. Or, again in Axel’s own words, “CUPID’S HEAD is about visions of the future, tiny actions and their consequences, about sentimentality and most certainly... about life.“