Fennesz – Black Sea – CD – TOUCH

www.touchmusic.org.uk

 

The agonising four year wait for another fix of Fennesz has not been in vain – it is a constant source of amazement to me, that time has moved so quickly since Touch’s release of Venice. In that time, Fennesz has refined his modus operandi with a clutch of live appearances and collaborative projects, that have seen his material further matured, and perhaps a little more distilled. Black Sea opens with a title track that is unmistakably Fennesz in feel, yet here we see his layerings and fracturings more considered, and possibly less improvisational. A host of copyists have perhaps enabled the great man to take stock of his methodology, and focus more on the musical elements, as opposed to systematically dismantling the guitar sound altogether, virtually transmuting it into another instrument.
Fennesz’ strength lies in his deliciously capable handling of the instrument through a range of live permutations and restructurings, always maintaining wonderfully hooky harmonies, and blistering effects, generally amongst an ethereal foam of glitchy textures, and static mist – indeed at times, sonic references to Noto’s recent Xerrox would not be out of the question, as Fennesz manipulates his raw material with sculptural dexterity, with delicate and beautiful harmonies emerging from dense and overdriven texture. Even on the second track, The Colour of Three, we hear a Fennesz whose technique is now being held in check, despite the fuzzy, overdriven familiarity, it somehow isn’t quite the full on, amped up beast of the past. For me, the high points of this captivating collection have to be Grey Scale, and Glide – Grey Scale is an awesomely beautiful piece, its central themes rotating around delicately picked guitar, whilst Glide emerges from complete silence that gradually builds into a soaring sonic edifice, gilded with some of the most beautiful harmonics I have heard in a long long time. Once again, Touch have a masterpiece on their hands in the form of Black Sea, and since I received it two weeks back, barely a day has gone by without it being played..the litmus test for a highly listenable, and deeply enchanting return to the fold, by one of the experimental scene’s Grand Masters. Absolutely essential. BGN
 

 

 

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WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK
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