The Field: Looping State of Mind Review
There are theories amongst people who study music that the perfect pop song should be 3:26 long, with Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips famously making a whole album of songs this length. The reason given by the link above is that listeners will get bored or lose interest beyond the stated 206 seconds. While there was a point in my life where that may have come close to being the case, that rule is consistently evisorated in my current musical tastes, most recently with the transcendent (and very long) songs on Looping State of Mind, the new LP by electronic artist The Field.
Looping State of Mind is the third full length (after the great 2007 release From Here We Go Sublime and the equally great 2009 album Yesterday and Today) from Axel Willner, the Swedish producer behind the blissed out minimalistic techno of The Field. Like his previous works, Willner uses space and ambience to warp electronic melodies to their fullest extent, melding the melodies of pop and the visceral feel of techno. Of the seven songs on Looping State of Mind, the shortest track is the 7:32 “Burned Out.” While some people may get lost in the long, cyclical tracks, there are moments of pure euphoria that really highlight the extended jams of Looping State of Mind. After about 7 minutes of sedative electronic swells in the song “It’s Up There” that are perfectly set to soundtrack your next lucid dreaming session, the music slowly surges and becomes a much livelier techno-esqe jam, with a beat nearly ready for the dance floor. While each section of the track is strong and brings unique sounds to the table, combining the two, making the rollicking beat of the last quarter of the song a reward for the sonic journey of the first ¾, only helps to build a mood that ultimately feels much more redemptive and fulfilling than two separate songs falling closer to the 3:26 formula.
Looping State of Mind, like all of his previous work, isn’t going to be for everyone. Some people would rather jump off a bridge than listen to an eight minute electronic instrumental song, and if that is the case even an album this good isn’t going to win you over. For those willing to be a little more adventurous with their music listening, The Field, and Looping State of Mind, is a great place to start. The melodies are rich and textured and the songs roll like waves through the speakers, sometimes to sedate your frantic brain, other times to get your head nodding to the transient beat. Looping State of Mind follows up on his excellent first two albums and really shows an artist taking what can be a restrictive genre and making it rich and exciting.