The Field – Looping State Of Mind (Kompakt)
By Scott Creney
If you like albums that sound like this album, then I bet you’re going to really like this album. The Field have got this shit down cold. It pushes all the right ambient looping buttons that you like to get pushed. If this doesn’t improve your morning yoga routine, you should e-mail the band and demand your money back. It’s that goddamned good. If albums still existed in shrink-wrapped physical form, this one would have a big sticker on the front that read: WILL IMPROVE YOUR MOOD WHILE MAKING SUSHI! WILL MAKE BATHTIME INFINITELY MORE RELAXING! WILL TURN EVERY WALK AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD INTO A WILDLIFE EXCURSION!
It’s electronic. It’s repetitive (in a good way). It’s not quite dance music; it’s too psychedelic for that. In fact if you played it in a club, I think everyone would just lie down and stare at the lights. Find someone you love who doesn’t love you back and play this album for them. Wait until they are hypnotized and then whisper X-rated suggestions in their ear. It worked for Biggie Smalls, why can’t it work for you?
A looping state of mind, indeed. The Field’s new album is great. And it does all the stuff you’d expect your loops to do — hypnotize, lull, tear down and reassemble your notions of linear time and space. But is that enough? Should we expect more from this kind of music? Sure, it’s beautiful, and if you’re going to chow down some mushrooms, look out your back window and watch the yard turn itself into a green and brown expressionist painting that swells and breathes according to your whim, this music would make a most excellent soundtrack. But even an ocean has its storms and tsunamis. Even a wind-blown field of wheat has the occasional earthquake. So it’s hard not to wonder if Looping State Of Mind couldn’t be more than what it is. It’s hard not to wonder if soothing and tranquil is what we want from our art. Shouldn’t it wake people up? Shouldn’t it make them uncomfortable? Or maybe this does and I’m just too Terry Riley’d and Steve Reich’d, (and Donna Summer’d and IDM’d and Animal Collective’d) to notice it?
Collapse Board Reader, if I said you were tranquilized, if I said you were soothed, if I said you were like a loop, would you consider those to be compliments? If I said I liked you better when I was stoned, how would that make you feel about yourself?
This album’s great. Don’t get me wrong. But it’s hard not to turn on the computer, read the news, and get the feeling that the world we live in might be changing. And one can’t help wanting music to go along with it—a music that is fully engaged with the world it lives in. One that stomps instead of sways, that shouts instead of whispers, that says what it means and means what it says. One can’t help wanting to demand that music be every bit as exciting and full of life as the world that created it.
If we are going to start questioning authority, if we are going to demand better of our leaders, then it’s time we start demanding more from the artists as well. Escapism is a dead-end. Disengagement is a death sentence, and retreat is just another word for failure.
And making sounds go in circles for an hour is something to be appreciated, but certainly not to be admired. Not today.
But I will say this much for The Field. I’m listening to their album right now watching a forest of extraordinarily tall pine trees, each of them well over 50-feet high and thinner than my torso, sway in the November wind, rocking back and forth in the beginnings of what is going to be a ferocious storm. These trees have sent needles over and over through the fall to clog my room, my gutters, my porch, and most likely the throats of any dead animals. And I am marveling that they don’t fall down, that they do not topple and collapse despite the violence in their movements. And I am transfixed and spellbound through all of it as Looping State Of Mind continues to play. Surely that counts for something, and is not to be dismissed or taken lightly.