Unspool’t: New Batch – Field Hymns Records August 2017

(Field Hymns, 2017)

When Field Hymns releases a new batch, it’s like Christmas or my birthday or Thanksgiving (my birthday’s on Thanksgiving a lot), because each new tape is like a gift specifically meant for me and me only. OK, and you too, you lucky hundred or so who happen to be as cool as me. And the additional five to ten thousand who buy the MP3s. That’s how Field Hymns stays afloat you know!

Two self-titled tapes, two paeans to cinematic synth scores of the 1980s. Let’s dive in – I’m ready for the madness!


I mean, I was literally just listening to the Thief soundtrack when these two releases popped up in my inbox, and the fact that Dylan compared the tunes on Bolabit to something out of “a pastel-hued Michael Mann flick from the middle part of his canon” only served to freak me out. Does Field Hymns have my office bugged? What’s the deal? Regardless of the fact that all Field Hymns tapes come embedded with miniature surveillance devices built into their shells, I was ready to make the easy switch from Thief to Bolabit, because, sure, there’s a ton of Tangerine Dream influence up in this joint. And I’m totally cool with that, because if you can’t allow a little of the Dream into your life, what’s the matter with you anyway? Bolabit, the synth/drums duo operating out of a VHS tape somewhere in your garage, or out of Marquette or Detroit or Chicago, wherever they actually operate out of, craft puffy clouds of dreamy synth magic that pulses with energy, clearly cinematic in vision and scope. It’s like my ears are watching a movie or something – how is that even possible?! Well, Bolabit makes the impossible happen, and fortunately the aspect ratio of Bolabit’s compositions is in widescreen. That’s the best way to watch a record.


And then there’s COPS, operating out of a different VHS tape, this one in Berlin, where the movies are grimier and the throwback vibes are edgier. Edgier than Chicago, than Detroit? Sure, why not. But definitely flecked with krautrock influences, just like Bolabit. You’ve got your Tangerine Dream, your Neu!, your Cluster. Trancelike structural arrangements vaporize themselves as they exit your speakers, swirling before finally solidifying into celluloid imagery. Go to the movies, why don’t you?! There, at your local cineplex, you’ll encounter nothing but COPS-backed entertainment, that’s how fully they’ve compromised the Hollywood machine. You thought S U R V I V E was the only band that was gonna make money off all this? COPS ain’t no S U R V I V E, and this ain’t no Stranger Things! This is real, this is the streets, this is how it is. If you can’t take it, I’ll have your badge and your gun – you’re on probation, detective! … Whoa, where’d I go there? All this excitement is giving me flashbacks to moments I never experienced. I think our action movies have made it to Berlin somehow. Or at least the sound of them has.


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