Posts from 6th November 1999

6
Nov 99

35. THE FIELD MICE – “Missing The Moon”

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Tom Ewing’s Top 100 Singles Of The 90s

An acid house love song? Not quite, soaked in 303 buzz though “Missing The Moon” is. It’s just another early-90s example of bands allowing the new music to seep into their existing sound and sensibility. Nowadays what we get is wholesale turnabouts (summarised in the dread phrase “gone jungle”) and look-at-me-Ma genre splicings, and it’s easy to forget records like this: our mistake.

I don’t know much about chief Fieldmouse Rob Wratten, but I doubt he went out raving much. “Missing The Moon” isn’t a dancefloor tune, though, it’s the sound of a songwriter who realised he could use dance music as a metaphor. The single-minded metronomy of the beats, the under-the-skin bubbling of the sequencers, the open-souled yearning of house’s simple melodies, the – slightly frightening – clarity and newness of it all: everything starkly perfect for singing about a new love. “Missing The Moon” doesn’t impact particularly big – the first few times I heard it it passed me by, even slightly baffled me – but the more you listen the more you’re left with a sense of enormity nonetheless, that bottomless butterfly feeling that comes with meeting someone who’s going to matter. The hunch that the world looks different from yesterday, turned on a strange angle. It’s the same sensation a lot of people had when they first heard and understood house music: a window opening on the future.

You could stretch that particular parallel way too far, but if the music wasn’t so beautiful and full of promise then the sentiment of “Missing The Moon” wouldn’t seem that way either. My original conceit for the Top 100 Singles was that they would all be, secretly or overtly, love songs. It turned out not to be true at all, but listening to the Field Mice I can see what I was trying to get at, and why.