New digipak edition.
Touch has reissued a digipak version of Fennesz's first studio album for Touch, previously released as a jewel case in 1999. [There was prior to that a deluxe edition of 1000 copies in landscape art format, which sold out immediately.] It has been out of print for a couple of years. The audio remains the same, the imagery uses the location shots from the deluxe edition.
Touch # TO:40
CD - 8 tracks - 37:45
This is Christian Fennesz's 2nd solo full album after the highly acclaimed 'Hotel Paral.lel' (Mego 16). He also released 'fenneszPLAYS', a 3" CD originally issued by Mego but now on Jim O'Rourke's new label, Moikai. Fennesz has also made various contributions to compilation CDs, including the awesome 'Surf' on 'DECAY' (Ash International 3.9) and is a member of MIMEO, fixed line up orchestra alongside Keith Rowe, Kaffe Matthews, Jerome Noetinger, Phil Durrant, Peter Rehberg, Thomas Lehn, Rafael Toral, Gert Jan Prins, Cor Fuhler, Markus Wettstein, and Markus Schmickler. He has also released a live CD on Touch, # TO:CDR3. 'plus forty seven degrees 56' 37" minus sixteen degrees 51' 08"' was recorded in his garden in Austria in July and August 1999; the photographs in the booklet by Jon Wozencroft embroider this.
I remember reading on the release of DJ Shadow's seminal Endtroducing (you remember, before he lost the plot) that the producer was the "Jimmy Hendrix of the sampler." This may have been true, but if Shadow was the Jimmy Hendrix of the sampler then surely Christian Fennesz must be the Jimmy Hendrix of the humble laptop? He's certainly the rock star that the electronic community was always waiting for, and with 2004's Venice he captured the hearts and minds of more than just the horn-rimmed, beard stroking elitists and surprisingly did it without losing his core fanbase. Of course, with any success comes re-issues of prior work, but in Fennesz's case it's a worthwhile venture even though many of us bearded folk will have shelf or hard drive space filled with these tracks already. Those expecting the harmonic, tear-jerking near-pop of his more recent work though might be surprised to find a barrage of crushing electronic noise, but underneath the snap, crackle and pop of a faulty firewire cable is something altogether more arresting. The 'songs' are disguised carefully, and over repeat listens gradually reveal themselves, showing slowly their distinct melodic characteristics. Released back in 1999, I've had a while to digest Plus Forty Seven Degrees 56' 37 Minus Sixteen Degrees 51'08, and to strip back the Pita-patented crumbles to open up that lilting heart. Deep down there is a record of almost shoegazing proportions, something which surely influenced the newer wave of noisy ambient producers such as Tim Hecker and Aidan Baker but one which has the mathematical chops of anything Raster Noton might eulogise over. With this record Fennesz created a milestone in electronic noise music, and an album that has possibly even more relevance now, almost ten years on, than it did on its original release. [JT]
2008 Edition. Christian Fennesz is an artist who I'm sure needs little or no introduction. Since the runaway success of his 'Endless Summer' album he has gone from strength to strength with a following that defies the musical field in which he operates. Hell, as if producing for David Sylvian wasn't odd enough he even ended up on the last Sparklehorse album. This rather lengthily titled album came out back in 1999 when he was merely a name on the lips of Wire reviewers and antisocial crate fondlers, but was a startling sign that something truly amazing was happening over in Vienna (besides great baking). Using a laptop and a guitar Fennesz conjured up cracking distorted passages of sound, somewhere in between the ear-piercing noise of the Mego label (who Fennesz also managed to notch up releases on) and the glorious harmonic drones more readily associated with Touch. However this was not only electronic music, what Fennesz had done was blend these sounds with the distorted guitar rock he had grown up on and chanced upon a sound that owed as much to My Bloody Valentine as to Hecker. 'Plus Forty Seven Degrees 56' 37 Minus Sixteen Degrees 51'08' might not have the instant appeal of 'Venice' for instance, but give it time and it reveals great and beautiful depths - this is an album that once it hooks you in rarely gives you the chance to wrestle yourself free. Quite unnervingly gorgeous music...
Created using field recordings of his backyard and signature guitar playing, this CD shows Christian Fennesz taking a different approach from the fragmented and cracked pop treatments of "hotel paral.lel" and "Plays". Far subtler and more abstract, melody is hinted at, but never achieved, buried beneath layers of sound. Any resemblence to the source material is obliterated, yet each sound somehow retains some vague, inherent qualities Beautifully designed with photography by Jon Wozencroft. [JZ]
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