Published May 21, 2009Axel Willner, aka the Field, isn't exactly this generation's "Firestarter." So when From Here We Go Sublime garnered top marks from both electronic music fans and several rock-centric sources in 2007 it surprised even him. "I think more people in North America are getting into pure electronic music where you don't have to have the rock elements, [but are] more than just techno for the dance floor."
New album Yesterday and Today definitely moves further off the dance floor and nearer to the current of ambient electronics. As for the rock content, despite some lazy comparisons to shoegaze, its precedent is more Alan Parsons than Kevin Shields. The six tracks are book-ended by instrumentals that overlay the persistent pulses of both Krautrock and vintage trance. In between there is a guest appearance by Battles' John Stanier, whom Willner "met in Cologne last summer and we just went into the studio to have a little jam session." The collaboration shows off Willner's skill in gene splicing the organic and synthetic into one smooth evolution of rhythms.
His ear for finding the sweet spot in pop music and extending its potential resulted in a lot of remix work over the last couple of years. That experience is imported back into the re-re-working of '80s hit "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime." The track grows from a mellow '70s vibe supporting the vocal into a grand '80s crescendo more heartfelt than an amen break on ecstasy. "Emotion is actually the main thing, because I'm not that guy that sits in the studio and just keeps on trying. I just want to go in and make music."