Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Field @ Mezzanine, SF - June 6, 2009

Axel Willner likes to tamper with the fabric of time. This is precisely why he holds my interest over many of his peers in the crowded world of minimal techno. The Field have expanded their live band to a trio including bass guitar. Previous tours displayed a fairly accurate reproduction of his recorded work, likely due to the restrictions of performing heavily sequenced, loop based tracks solo. The two extra bodies on stage enable a more dynamic performance sonically and visually. Axel himself seemed more free to stretch and tweak his familiar chord sequences into shapes that stimulated the crowd's heads and bodies. The space that exists somewhere between head and body music is the place where The Field shine brightly. 

The crowd seemed unsure whether to trip out and be enveloped or to dance, but that said, this may not be true for other stops on the tour where crowds are more naturally enthusiastic. I'd love to see this band evolve into a multi-media experience, strong visuals and quadrophonic big club sound could be the next step forward. The new tracks sounded amazing in Mezzanine, and showed more acoustic timbres to balance with his debut's synthetic sonic palette. It's always pure joy to spot his Cocteau Twins and Kate Bush samples tweaked far enough out of context to mysteriously suggest old tunes resurrected in bright and shiny new ways. 

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