Solar Fields – “Movements” Review
February 9, 2009, 12:59 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , ,



Blissful, lush downtempo electronica. Movements is a lustrous album of exquisitely crafted digital beauty. Liquid melodies, ambient forms and silken textures revolve and meander among some of the most dreamy beats imaginable.

Magnus has the ability to deftly tread the knife edge between gentle melodic music and more acidic or less harmonious elements, managing to deliver themes of great warmth without ever straying into playing it over-sweet. Frequent arpeggios well up and dissipate, rarely repeating long enough to dominate, looming basses grumbling and pulsing below the surface, coruscating effects and splashes of distortion dancing above. Frequently the music falls away into airy lightness or into low-key, moody shade before sighing back into tranquil waves of climax and further soft interludes. The level of repetition is expertly managed, mesmeric phrases cycling round sufficiently to carry the listener along, but never so long as to become over familiar; constant variation and flux absorbing the attentive ear.


You might for a moment think that Ultimae has broken the pattern with this package – the generous black content of the imagery disguising the usual broad horizontal borders that letterbox the cover graphics into the familiar long panoramas. Loose knots of coloured light arc across each main panel of this glossy digipack, blue, green, muted orange, gold. A sixteen page booklet is found within – here inside the blackness parts and a series of coloured photographs fill each page from edge to edge. The pictures are visual atmospheres – accompaniments to the music, simple credits footing the pages. As is normal, thanks, credits and contact details are to the rear.


This is the sixth album from Swedish artist Magnus Birgersson, Solar Fields – as previously, delivered via Ultimae Records. Solar Fields unarguably produces some fine uptempo music – as the recent Earthshine disc demonstrated, but for me it is his chilled output that most outstandingly dazzles. It seemed at the time, that the last Solar Fields downtempo release Leaving Home would be hard to best, setting the bar so high, yet here is Movements. The musical structure of this album is second to none, the peaks and troughs emotively distributed, the melodies carefully laid out, not too predominant, not too easy on the ear too often – but with some passages of intense beauty. Whilst holding true to his chilled-out trance roots Magnus has built elements into this music that might appeal to a wider audience, I could imagine fans of Enigma’s more electronic side finding plenty to enjoy here. Movements seems a distillation of this outstanding artist’s craft, delivering all we have come to hope for from a Solar Fields album and more. Perhaps the best downtempo album ever released.

Review by Morpheus Music


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