Thursday, June 6
Better than: Any 20-second clip of The Blair Witch Project played on repeat for 45 minutes.
For less than one hour last night at the Independent, Sweden-born, Berlin-based electronic artist Axel Willner, aka the Field, stood alone at a table onstage and produced sound. This sound shifted tectonically from airy synth textures to blaring, near-metallic noise, producing various pulses but never quite coalescing into a beat. Projected behind him was a jittery video of trees and sky, shot from the ground with the camera pointed vertical. At one point the most exciting part of the hour-long film the leaves on the trees went from a dull, monochrome grey... to a deep green.
He started this performance billed as a special audio-visual show at 11. The room had cleared out considerably by 11:35. If you could quiet your mind and maybe close your eyes and focus deeply, there was a gorgeous intricacy to some of the Field's morphing textures. But in a stand-up black box like the Independent, with smartphones and chatty people and having to go to work tomorrow, it didn't sink in as it needed to. By 11:45 the big screen was still showing trees and sky, and a pocket of die-hards at the front were trying to pretend that Willner's ambience was danceable. Eight minutes later the man took a final sip of wine, gave a modest wave, and walked offstage. The applause was not deafening.