Pitchfork Music Festival 2012, live review | The Field
Swedish techno outfit the Field found some stiff competition in Beach House, but a loosely populated and dedicated bunch gathered to zone out to Axel Willner's densely looping live-band techno. A perennial Pitchfork fave, the Field is just the type of electronic music that resonates at this festival. Heady enough to be considered intellectual but still danceable, the meandering house-tempo beats were a welcome addition to the day, offering a funk groove vibe to combat Beach House's Balearic drone.
Primarily a solo studio act, the Field is more fully realized in person with the addition of bass guitar and drums. Whether done alone or as a trio, the music's beauty lies in its slow and calculated build-ups and break-downs. A drum pattern or atmospheric texture eased in or faded out; that's the payload for the patient, the initiated or both. Judging from the audience reaction, the trance-like output—in terms of mood, not relation to the dance genre—was exactly what people needed at the end of a third day of out-and-out festing. With the breeze blowing through the trees, it was perfect sundown techno, and given that many in attendance today were queued up in front of one of the main stages, it was nice to have space to dance a little.
This smaller crowd created a synergy between band and audience that's tough to capture at a festival. Another shoegazer not making shoegaze, Willner never looked up from his controls, preferring to remain fully engrossed in orchestrating sprawling and spellbinding loop-driven techno. His band mates, however, were visibly amped up by the connection to the crowd. Closing with the fittingly titled "Burned Out" from last year's Looping State of Mind, they were all smiles as they sent us off dancing into the night.