This is an "unreleased rarities" record from an artist that i am not at all familiar with. Solar Fields is the project of Magnus Birgersson from Göteborg, Sweden, who is an ambient electronic music composer. He has apparently released eleven records since 2001. That is a pretty productive schedule...
And the music on this record is very in line with what i expect from Swedish ambient electronica. The music is sparse and crisp, with wide reverbing beats and often silly old-fashioned computer noises. It is music that moves along, inexorably, moving forward, pushing, as if shoving itself through snow. (As a Southerner, i expect snow blankets Sweden pretty much year-round, right? Their summer is like a week in July, i would guess... So -- music about snow is a good summation of Swedish music to me.) Solar Fields mines the same territory as Carbon-Based Lifeforms and Biosphere.
Birgersson is a little more rhythm heavy that Biosphere has been of late. I guess that this compilation is rhythmically comparable to Jenssen's Patashnik-era. It is good head bopping music for sitting and listening while you read, or edit HTML files, or cook, or work, etc. I like this type of music to play in the background, because it moves along nicely and yet does not have vocals that attract my attention while i am trying to focus on other words.
A lot of the tracks here have a cinematic feel to them, like this is the music that played in a SyFy channel show, or an impressionistic film like Baraka. Now i suppose that it is also kind of similar to the music you hear in New Age bookstores, as you browse crystals and sip herbal tea. It might be a little too innocuous for some listeners, but i think that Birgersson does some pretty cool stuff.
There are ten songs on this compilation, the shortest of which is six and a half minutes. Birgersson seems to average around eight minutes a song, so expect slowly growing drones and a slow if consistent pace.
My favorite track here is Surface. The beat here is almost hip-hop -- a nice thumping bass and a fuzzed hi-hat hit. It gets really head-bopping, just that beat grooving along under some dense keyboard drones.
On Unknown Presence, the beat is a skittering, slowed, drum and bass beat, which Birgersson pairs with slow drones to lovely effect. I also like the track Mystic Science, which features clattering rhythm samples, making it the most Baraka-like tune here.
Also of note is Falling Shadows. This starts with his normal drones and beats, but it speeds up as it progresses, until it sounds like Birgersson is channeling Explosions in the Sky. There is a nice whirring sound, like a guitar played fast. Does he use a guitar sample here? The drumming is intense, which really makes the song work. An interesting variation on what he normally does.
I know this type of music is not for everybody, but i have found much to enjoy here. I have added Solar Fields to the list of electronic acts i am on the lookout for.
Oh, and Ultimae Records, his label, is selling downloads of this for a measly 5 Euros on bandcamp. Given how much music this represents, that is practically free.