How many artists out there can claim to have the best reviewed album of 2007?

And now, how many artists can claim to have accomplished that feat on their debut album?

Not very many. Especially when their chosen genre is ambient music.

Axel Willner, alias The Field, is the acclaimed Swedish producer who has come to embody a diversity of aesthetics, splashing energy and mood together in entirely unexpected ways.

As a young man, he attended a formal music academy but never lost his love for punk and classic pop. These influences would later merge and become the template for The Field.

And if there is any one great strength of the music itself, it is its synergistic power, its blending of multiple forms into a dynamic unity.

I mean, if you were to place ambient music on one end of a spectrum, it’s very likely you would drop punk or pop music somewhere close to the very far end of that spectrum.

The genres are just…different.

Yet The Field, employing samples, synths, and a whole lot of creativity, has managed to simultaneously draw energy from one end of the spectrum and insert it in the middle of a beautiful, minimalist soundscape.

Clever, right?

That ear for a catchy tune, so much an essential quality of a good pop songwriter, is exactly what distinguishes The Field from the rest of the ambient crowd. Like all good ambient music, it assists in heightening your experience of the moment; it takes what is already inside you and amplifies it, projecting it outwards into the surrounding world.

And that’s all well and good. But a great hook never hurt anyone.

And that’s what The Field delivers. Mood plus Energy plus Listenability: an altogether enjoyable listening experience.

What makes the music interesting is not just that The Field has been consistently bold throughout his career or that he combines genres while simultaneously smashing the boundaries between them.

It’s that he’s really good at it.

And not just good at challenging preconceived notions of what ambient music is (although that is certainly part of the appeal), but also at making enjoyable, gets-stuck-in-your-head-and-stays-there music.