[sic] Magazine

Field Harmonics – Corpsing

Confession time – I must admit to having an elevated level of apprehension before initially pressing [Play] as I didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with Field Harmonics’ debut album – but Corpsing, their third album, is an entirely different beast. It might be described as experimental and possibly filed under electronic – but it’s actually a melting pot of drone, ambient and electronica all rolled into one beautiful package. I’d even go so far as to say it’s Rob Glover’s best work to date. Yes, it’s that good. Let me explain…

Many of the tracks here feel like a commentary on Britain in 2018 – a dark, at times possibly critical, reflection on the world through Rob’s eyes. As a result, there’s not a single track which doesn’t deliver. Corpsing doesn’t attempt to be a pop record or conform to a mould, but simply wraps itself around you and accurately describes the world in which we live. Many of the tracks are looped and layered – possibly joining the dots which lie somewhere between Ulrich Schnauss and William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops. Gone are the more commercial aesthetics of the debut album and are replaced with something altogether arguably more sinister, fulfilling and uplifting.

I’ve literally listened to the album from start to finish around a dozen times now and it simply intrigues me just how good this record is. A release on cassette tape and digital simply doesn’t seem justice enough somehow. In other respects, maybe the imperfections of cassette tape are perfect.

‘Seraph’ is as good an introduction as we might expect – with a drone synth which sounds like it’s recently been discovered after laying lost in an attic for many decades. I wasn’t exactly sure where ‘Moxie’ was going to take us, but there’s a point around a couple of minutes in where the music suddenly becomes massively uplifting and optimistic. ‘Cigarettes’ has a sampled voice which sounds like it might have been oversampled hundreds of times to the point where speech becomes blurred, almost unrecognisable. ‘Clestine’ takes me back to those bizarre 70s TV programmes such as ‘Sapphire & Steel’. ‘Firmament’ describes being stood in an unsettling place late at night, feeling a high level of anxiety and unease. ‘Blamer’, closing the first side of the album, is possibly the closest we come to a ‘song’ with its repeated ‘Up In The Sky’ lyric. There’s even a gentle nod here to soundtracks by John Carpenter such as ‘Escape To New York’ and ‘They Live’.

Elsewhere, on side B there are elements of Rob’s previous work with Epic45 creeping in (particularly on ‘Hegira’) and also The Toy Library (Rob’s short-lived but highly enjoyable solo project from 2010). ‘Queens’ is an album highlight; it somehow manages to pull off an incredible feat – weaving together a musically diverse set of sounds and styles – firstly Bryony Williams’ pop vocal – disjointed and restructured – over the top of a bass-driven drone, which itself sits underneath field sounds and layered synths. If this track has any faults, it’s that it’s not long enough. It’s the sound of feeling alienated inside a huge city, of feeling anxiety about starting a new job or watching a loved one become sick. Anybody who has travelled abroad will recognise the pain reverberate throughout this track. At least ‘Follow’ ends on a positive and injects some well needed optimism. Let’s face it, we could all do with some of that in our lives.

Believe me – Corpsing is a brilliant, majestic statement. You need this album in your life.