Fennesz - Endless Summer (Mego)
By Sheikh Ahmed
It can be so easy to dismiss the current wave of glitch-ridden producers.
Hit random on their sequencer, let the computer do all the talking and hey presto! You've got an album of avant-garde noise that'll sit easily next to anyone from the current rosters of Mille Plateaux, Schematic or Mego. Which is who this particular artist records for. Christian Fennesz lives and works in Austria and this is his third full length album.
And what differentiates him from the others? Well if you believe the press release this album is "Eight songs of sublime texture, solid melodies intertwined over vast valleys of digital sound." But what that really means is a mixture of real instrument playing and the aforementioned digital mayhem. He initially learned how to play the guitar and this album is his gentle homage to the Beach Boys. Sounds pretentious? Well, while the sentiment behind it may be a tad dodgy, the tunes contained within certainly aren't. The folksy lull of the title track is something genuinely original, where improvised guitar strings and slight flutes wrap themselves around faint barrages of noise.
On 'Caecillia', what sounds like a pop tune is trying to break through the layers of static and modulation. As if it's searching for the right frequency to make itself heard. The best effect of all this digital tricknology can be heard on 'Before I Leave' where the sound of a cd skipping is spread over 4 minutes. we kid you not!
Now to untrained ears, all that may sound unlistenable. But believe us, this album is possibly the most accessible result of this most difficult strain of electronic music. Like all the best ambient albums, it works by instantly evoking an atmosphere without resorting to cliche. On the basis of the evidence, it sounds like Fennesz's summer lasted a lot longer than ours did.