The Field

Cupid's Head

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Axel Willner said that when he went into the lab to make his fourth album as the Field, he felt he "had nothing." Eventually a loop materialized, and he pushed, pulled, and embellished it into an ominous and flickering nine-minute track titled "No. No…" And then, suddenly inspired, he went about knocking out another hour-long set of trance-y techno informed by dream pop and dub, albeit by himself and with nothing but hardware at his disposal. The black on black sleeve and album title, as well as some of the track titles, point toward a darker mood, but it's not as if the first three Field albums are all sunshine rays -- far from it -- and it's not as if Cupid's Head is dominated by unrelenting bleakness. This offers another slight change from Willner's past -- enough to maintain perked attention from listeners in love with his sound, while those who are less enamored won't hear enough that distinguishes it from any other Field album. Regardless, the sound is very familiar; no longer novel. Willner's still capable of creating grade-A material, like the baleful "They Won't See Me" and the dazzling "Black Sea"; the manner in which the rushing and near-euphoric latter changes course around the seven-minute mark is akin to a brilliantly sequenced and mixed DJ set. Other tracks, such as the staid "A Guided Tour" and washed-out "20 Seconds of Affection," lack vitality, like they were made before Willner felt driven to make an album with as much imagination as his first three.

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