Axel Willner’s choice of name for his new ambient, Berlin-based project, Loops of Your Heart, brings to mind something that Gilles Deleuze writes in “Difference and Repetition“: The head is the organ of exchange, but the heart is the amorous organ of repetition. And Never Ending Nights often feels as if it is attempting to establish a circuit between sound and the heart, amorously looping and repeating with the unpredictable precision of cardiac variation, though, at times, love locked in loops can lead to a range of feelings with tenuous ties to pleasure, such as vertigo, entrapment, disempowerment, and fear in the face of forces that resist one’s comprehension, remaining all the more potent for their obscurity.
When listening to the record, it is noticeable that the most swooning and romantic tracks are also the most repetitive, their ending and beginning somewhat arbitrary, as if they could go on forever with only the slightest mutations. This can of course be said about a good deal of Willner’s work as The Field (and I have said it before, but it is even more pronounced with Loops), both with regard to the beatless and gaseous productions, and the more kinetic techno-shaped ones. “Cries” is 11 minutes long, strung along a slow, dazed loop cross-pollinated with wonder and nostalgia, its greatest departure of tone not taking place until its final moments, pulse and throb finally accompanied by wisps of solar flare. It is beautiful and simple, caressing and soothing as it drives one serenely into a glow of chance images composed of past and fiction.
If Willner would have stuck to this tone, bewitched and becalmed, for the entire length of an album, the result would have been a record that would be boring or background music in all but the most isolated listening circumstances. It still may be boring to a lot of people, and used as background music, though according to the internet there are a whole lot of people that like their music, or at least some of their music, drifting and filmed through a Vaseline-smeared lens. However, as it turns out, Loops of Your Heart is not only a producer of “wonder and nostalgia,” – though “End,” “Little You, You Should Develop,” and “At the Boards” also travel that all but strataless terrain of resonances – but of somewhat tense, sometimes even driving pieces that, even without a beat, are more frantically visceral or, at least, emotionally frantic.
“Broken Bow” begins with droning guitar and synthesizer and eventually unleashes an arpeggiated backbone as fit to unravel along dark, desert roads as to cycle endlessly in place, a stasis of whirring machinery. While it may not be an unraveling backbone in the desert, “Neukölln” may indeed be conceived or invented as a somewhat clandestine, machinic cycle aloft over an abyss. It may include the captured voices of children from the Berlin neighborhood where Willner has taken up abode, but it resides somewhere between raga to the eternal now and that dread that resides at the back of the brain, which is concerned with the weird spaces that we make with machines and that machines make in us. In that it resembles Bowie and Eno’s “Neuköln,” a plane of shadow falling apart into form as it goes, articulating at once the cohesion of what does not hold together by way of nature but only through action, and the moods and histories that are retained in the buildings of a neighborhood as alive with the dead and the past as with the living and the unimaginable future.
Stream: Loops Of Your Heart – “Neukölln”