Axel Willner is a Swedish electronic music producer and DJ from Stockholm and currently based in Berlin, best known for his releases as The Field, blending micro-samples of pop songs into atmospheric minimal techno.
Born in southern Sweden, Axel Willner spent his formative years living in Stockholm and Lisbon, studying both at a formal music academy and in the moshpit, citing bands like Misfits and Dead Kennedys as inspiration to pick up the guitar and play in punk bands. Enamored with the burgeoning electronic music scene of the mid-90s, he started composing and playing drone- and Warp-influenced IDM, followed by guitar-based ambient music that he released on his own imprint Garmonbozia in the early 2000s.
Combining affinities for classic pop (Lionel Richie, Kate Bush), shoegaze bands (Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine) and 90s experimental ambient (Seefeel, Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas) , Willner’s background in punk and avantgarde electronics came to full bloom with his widely acclaimed The Field project: signed to Kompakt in 2004, this monicker saw him constructing ambient techno based on a stoic motorik and a perpetually rotating hook, with the debut full-length „From Here We Go Sublime“ receiving highest accolades from the likes of NME, the BBC or Pitchfork – who went on to place it inside the Top 200 records of the decade. According to Metacritic, it was the best-reviewed album of the year, tied with Untrue by Burial.
Extensively touring the globe’s festivals and clubs, armed with just a laptop, Willner soon grew weary of his solo performances and incorporated a backing band, fostering a more organic evolution of The Field’s ever-expanding sound palette that can be heard on follow-up albums „Yesterday And Today“ and „Looping State Of Mind“ – both showcasing diverse influences from 1970s krautrock and Moroder disco to John Carpenter’s synthsoundtracks or minimalist composers Steve Reich and Philip Glass.
The Swedish musician is also involved in a number of non-dance projects, including guitar drones as Lars Blek, ambient/drone as Cordouan and classic Warp electronica as Speedwax with Ola K.
Axel Willner has described his music as “somewhere between soundscapes and classic songs.” 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 you’ll find on a Saturday night in Bucharest.