Wednesday, December 15, 2010



Though it’s uncommon to see a band like The Field in a setting like the East Brunswick Club, it shouldn’t be. Audience response tonight shows there is nothing like Swedish minimalist techno played live to rustle up some enthusiastic shuffling from the crossed-arm brigade that mass to Meredith sideshows.

Kicking things off with what at first seems to be the tired clich̩ of live electronica Рa casually dressed dude bending over a MacBook Pro РKharkin soon dispenses with these preconceptions and starts beating an Alesis Control Pad over some silvery chords, lets some space slip between his dense blocks of urbanic atmospherics and rules.

Having been lurking on the fringes and occasionally bursting to the centre of whatever musical communities will have him (i.e. most of them), Qua aka Cornel Wilczek has been steadily amassing a fanbase since he crept into consciousnesses five years ago. Tonight we get warm pulses, geeky glasses, choir-like synth pads, a devilish ‘tach and a dusting of amp-driven distortion over everything. Soon progressing through aerosol bursts of hi-hats, Derrick May-like hard beats before strapping on a guitar, it seems as if he’s trying to cram 100 ideas into each minute of the set, any second I’m expecting him to turn to us with a grin and say (a la Rob or Deane from the Curiosity Show) ‘keep up kids!’ Granted, five minutes of this would be enough to set James Murphy on course for another two albums but here Wilczek moves as if he had no pressures at all. AiH’s James Cecil joins for some synth drumming mid-gig and it all goes down splendidly.

Curtains part to a sensually undulating stream of sine wave and pink noise and before us lie the four-piece techno reinterpreting machine of The Field. Beneath projections of outer Swedish suburbia shot from a train window Axel Willner and co deliver clipped beats, controlled compressed cycling chords, delicate chorus-laden guitar chops and some of the most wildly enthusiastic drumming ever to remain within the strict boundaries of techno rhythms. While visiting several high points of 2008’s From Here We Go To Sublime album the Field push much that is unfamiliar to the audience, which suits us fine. Though it’s the irredeemably exhilaratory highs of Over The Ice, Everyday and The Little Heart Beats So Fast that get people moving there isn’t a moment where the band are anything less than phenomenally tight and the vibe is less than euphoric; a stellar performance that leaves everyone wondering why there isn’t a merch desk and when they'll be back. Must have been killer at Meredith.

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