Alone in the Field

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Alone in the Field Review

by Joshua Glazer

Strange are these days when young artists talk about cutting their teeth by working in garage bands and posting tracks on websites for feedback. Not exactly a year spent playing three shows a night in Hamburg à la the Beatles. Still, if listeners let the music be the judge, Dutch teenager Ludo Maas certainly shows a maturity well beyond the fact that he was born five years after Lennon was killed. Although perhaps only a youngster can truly capture the mournful tone of today's war-ravaged planet, opening "A Day for War" with a dirgelike machine rumble and cello hum, before his voice breathes the title in a mantra that offers an optimism in its youthful tone but makes clear that even the video game-infected children aren't fooled by the media gloss. But outside of this opening hymn, the album is far from depressed, instead drifting gently around digital folk atmospheres with enough melody in both voice and instrumentation to rival Air, although it should be noted that Maas' programming far outdoes his French seniors, yet his sweeping production does not match up (home computer vs. paid studio, perhaps). But be warned, the closing remixes will bring the gentle fancifulness back down into darkness, though without the spiritual/political tones, and the final rock remix of "Night Stranded Drummer" by Bambi Dexter throws the whole electro-folk mood out the window with successful yet utterly mood-altering mid-'90s reminiscing.

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