Field Kit is the self-titled debut album from the Berlin-based musical collective, which is fronted by German violinist and composer Hannah von Hübbenet. On this record, Hannah collaborated with Berlin-based pianist, composer, and producer John Gürtler, and together, they’ve produced an album of original and startling compositions.
Featuring a careful blend of frigid, industrial sounds and warmer acoustic episodes, a ‘cyber-noir’ atmosphere is established. Future meets retro, and both of their individual tonal worlds collide. Delicately plucked string sections circle around the voice and other instruments, giving off some body heat and warming up the music, and the highly-rhythmical nature of the music is always at the eye of its storm. Mechanized, robotic sounds are always close at hand, giving off a steely feel to every other piece. But, in cutting itself free, severing itself completely from the messy threads of human emotion, the more motorized sections of Field Kit have the effect of strengthening the music, making it more resolute, colder; its robotic arms are able to lift weights which would have crushed a mortal skeleton. This is the balance that both Hannah and John have been striving for, and they stride forward with confident steps.
Field Kit are able to mould an innovative sound by using debris and material from older decades as well as a future not-yet-realised, echoing down from the hallways of an unborn time. The music feels ripe for the picking, even though portions of its sound lie somewhere off in the future, and, like much speculative science fiction, it doesn’t paint the rosiest of outlooks. The strings are capable of dealing devastating blows, with many wars to be fought still on the horizon, and at other times, they wilt in the suffocating heat due to the unrelenting spectre of climate change, which is right here, right now, in the recent and unprecedented European floods and the punishing temperatures along the West Coast of the USA. For this reason, the record is also a very human one, in that it deals head-on with the concept and reality of suffering, which has a permanent grip on the species, clinging onto humanity no matter the current age; it is a constant.
Somehow, Hannah and John have sculpted a record with sharp angles and strong architecture, a sound like no other, but music that’s still able to coalesce, when one would’ve thought it impossible. Opposites attract, and the music here is able to transcend its differences, its contrasts, forming something new from the ashes.