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Review: Fennesz - Black Sea

By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  December 17, 2008
4.0 4.0 Stars


In the music of Christian Fennesz, there's a fine line between what's being done for you as a listener and what's being done to you.

The title track here finds a way to tame violent steely-edged noises into a trickle of acoustic guitars before sending the whole kit and caboodle down a seemingly endless passageway of dark bass drones, whispers of pink noise, and plumes of wild resonance. It's a balance of effect and affect that, over the course of four albums (and especially on '01's Endless Summer and '04's Venice), he's blurred into something like a signature.

There's enough laissez-faire melodicism throughout to retain the word "song" somewhere in your associative stream — but Fennesz is hardly the same from track to sprawling track. The subtly shifting tectonics and darkening hues of "The Colour of Three" paint him as a hungrier Ekkehard Ehlers; the canyonized guitar notes and tiny filaments of static that frame "Grey Scale" call Jim O'Rourke's more ambient works to mind. Comparisons with the countless brothers-in-noodling that he's influenced can go only so far — suffice to say that with all its slowly blooming beauty, alluring aberrations, and deftly measured brute force, the closest analogue to what Fennesz has done on Black Sea seems to be nature itself.

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  Topics: CD Reviews , Black Sea, Black Sea, Jim O'Rourke,  More more >
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