“its most glimmering elements shining like sunlight through cracks in a
wall, sharp as diamonds.”
At the frontier of contemporary music is fennesz: a meticulous laptop conceptualist who weaves tangible melodies and glowing guitars through dense,
His last but one release, “live in japan”, is a sumptuous, crackling, melodic
cathedral of micro-editing and swooning vibes. The Wire magazine declared it one of 2003 best albums. 3 position in chart of the year. The latest, “Venice” has been described as “its most glimmering elements shining like sunlight through cracks in a wall, sharp as diamonds.” and The Wire magazine declared it one of 2004 best albums. 3 position in chart of the year.
Fennesz uses guitar and computer to create shimmering, swirling electronic
sound of enormous range and complex musicality. “Imagine the electric guitar
severed from cliche and all of its physical limitations, shaping a bold new musical
language.” – (City Newspaper, USA).
His lush and luminant compositions are anything but sterile computer
experiments. They resemble sensitive, telescopic recordings of rainforest insect
life or natural atmospheric occurrences, an inherent naturalism permeating each
piece. Fennesz burst upon the scene with “Instrument” [Mego, 1995] and followed that up with a succession of ground-breaking and highly original solo albums. As The Wire wrote, “he offers all the puzzles and adventures of experimental music, but with a more assimilable grasp of melody – and a prominent role for the guitar”, and to be sure, “though the process may sound simple, it takes some skillful manipulation to simultaneously tug those heartstrings and poke them with tiny pins.” [Nick Phillips, City Pages, USA]. Fennesz has been active in film soundtrack work – for Gustav Deutsch and his forensic view of cinema, “film ist”… Live performances, improvised music within a modus operandi that adheres itself more to jazz than computer software… everywhere from Tokyo to Bratislava.
Fennesz has also taken part in many collaborations: David Sylvian, in his latest
‘Blemish’ album; Ryuichi Sakamoto, in summer will be released a live album of their performance at Sala Santa Cecilia, Rome on 28th November 2004; Fenn
O’Berg, with Jim O’Rourke (Sonic Youth) and Peter Rehberg [Mego]; a duo with Rosy Parlane [Synaesthesia], and with Polwechsel [Erstwhile]. He has also been recording with Sparklehorse (Scott Minor), the first fruits of this
collaboration appearing on the recently released ‘Spire’ [Touch # Tone 20]. He
lives and works in Paris and Vienna.
Fennesz latest release (march 2004):
Touch # TO:53
Rivers of Sand – Chateau Rouge – City of Light – onsra – Circassian – onsay – The
Other Face – Transit – The Point of It All – Laguna – asusu – The Stone of
Impermanence “Venice”, the fourth studio album by Christian Fennesz, finds ‘laptop’ music at a cross-roads between its early status as digital subculture and its question of sustainability — the feeling that there has to be something more, an emotional quality that rises above the roar of powerbooks and musical deconstruction and moves towards melody and rapture. “Venice” was recorded on location in the summer of 2003 and assembled and mixed at Amann Studios, Vienna in January and February 2004. On “Venice”, Fennesz’s guitar playing comes to the fore. His vision of pop idioms interacting with more abstract compositional structures is more distinctive than ever.
Guests on the recording include David Sylvian, whose vocals and lyrics on
‘transit’ present a threnody for our times, pushing further their collaboration
from Sylvian’s 2003 solo album, “Blemish”. ” Austrian guitarist Burkhard
Stangl accompanies Fennesz on guitar on two tracks, the epic ‘circassian’ and
the laconic but no less powerful ‘laguna’. 3 shorter tracks, ‘onsra’, ‘onsay’and
‘asusu’, link the main themes of the album, the turning point of a Europe caught
between the culturally romantic and the urge to cover one’s eyes.
Dynamic whilst often introspective, “Venice’s” depths take time to fathom,
revealing complex emotional layers in its melodic airs, dense soundfields; lost
languages and new ideas about music.
Discography [solo albums only]:
Venice [Touch # TO:53] – 2004
Live in Japan [Headz # 10] – 2003
Field Recordings 1995:2002 [Touch # Tone 16] – 2002
Endless Summer [Mego # 035] – 2001
Live at Revolver [Touch # TO:CDR3] – 2000
plus forty degrees [Touch # TO:40] – 1999
Hotel Paral.lel [Mego # 016] – 1997
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