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The Follower


Double LP version. 180-gram vinyl. Includes download code. Celebrated Kompakt staple The Field returns to the spotlight with The Follower, his fifth full-length offering following From Here We Go Sublime (KOMP 057CD, 2007), Yesterday and Today (KOM 193LP, 2009), Looping State of Mind (KOMP 094CD/KOM 241LP, 2011), and Cupid's Head (KOMP 110CD/KOM 290LP, 2013). Swedish soundsmith Axel Willner is well known for his mastery when it comes to the allusive layering of loops, but it was with his 2013 album Cupid's Head that a newly found, somewhat pressing snappishness started to replace the soft-hued sonics of his ambient-infused techno, imbued with a darker mood and stronger footing than before. A carefully gauged balance of stoic motorik and gloomy drones was key here -- just as it is for The Follower, which goes even further in blurring the lines between concrete experimentation, body music, and precisely laid-out arrangement, leading to one of the most rhythmically and texturally engaging listening experiences in Willner's catalog. Title-track "The Follower" opening on a surprisingly muscular groove and setting the tone for what could be considered The Field's most floor-attuned work yet; a raw bounce dripping with foggy acid and marching percussion catches long-time fans off-guard while providing a perfect entry point for curious newcomers. Follow-up cut "Pink Sun" quickly finds its pace with one of these perpetually rotating hooks for which Willner is known, while "Monte Verità" specializes in tunefully glitched vocal samples with accompanying bass workout. This powerful, propelling album build-up finds its first moment of introspection with the mountainous "Soft Streams," an exciting synth journey that emits both ethereal and kinetic propensities. "Raise the Dead" presents The Field's focused sonic storytelling at its minimalist best, gyrating around a basic motive for a while before joining an earthy beat and opening up the sunshine roof. It's a winding, hypnotic track that also works particularly well as transition to the album's remarkable closing chapter; the slow-paced "Reflecting Lights" shows Willner at his most refined, evoking his often-quoted appreciation of Wolfgang Voigt's ambient project Gas as well as an obvious fondness for kraut synthesists and their trance-inducing exploits. The Follower shows a consistent evolution in The Field's trademark style of creation, but may very well be considered one of his most vibrant and visceral outings yet.