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Boomkat Product Review:
I'll be the first to admit I wasn't the biggest fan of Axel Willner's debut Field album from a couple of years back. It managed to set the indie scene alight with its clever blend of glitchy minimal techno and thick, reverberating shoegaze-lite melodies, yet for me something never really gelled. 'Yesterday And Today', Willner's sophomore effort, however is a far more refined affair and reaches parts its predecessor just couldn't dream of. I think in part this is due to the new and expanded studio setup the producer has been gifted - not only does he now have a veritable museum of analogue synthesizers and drum machines at his disposal, but also a gaggle of reputable musicians to help him out. There's ex-Helmet and current Battles man John Stanier on drums assisting his touring band of Dan Enqvist, Johan Grimlund and Ola Keijer taking control of guitar, bass, electric piano and all else you could imagine. Unlike so many electronica producers who drift into the sphere of 'real music' though, this works; instead of trying to expand his sound to make full-on nu-gaze songs, Willner builds on his existing template making his sound bigger and better than ever before. Taking cues from Lindstrom's cosmic disco and welding it together with the kind of Kraut electronica that's often forgotten or derided (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze et al), Willner manages to bring the nuances of his sound out into the open, utilizing the unpredictability of his analogue equipment and real musicians to highlight this. Tracks such as the gorgeous, slow-moving 'I Have the Moon, You Have the Internet' might be nearly ten-minutes in length but the repeating patterns ebb and flow with a humanity that outstrips the weak promise of their circuitry. The album's finest moment however comes with the closer, aptly titled 'Sequenced' which slows his sound down to a near crawl, allowing the rich textured mono-synth and pounding percussion to do all the talking. Second albums are a difficult beast - it's hard to please everyone without simply repeating yourself but Willner has exceeded his debut in every way. Electronic music the way it should be - buy it.