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Stuff From Spain's Attic: Collector's Edition; Digitally Remastered in Stereo From the Original Master Tapes!
Spain Sun

[table of contents]
A Hazy Walk Through The Woods

Fennesz (full name Christian Fennesz) is a musician who uses, quoth The Other Wiki, "a guitar and notebook computers" to make his woozy brand of electronica. This is the only album by Chris I have, so it may be an inaccurate description for his music as a whole, but it certainly applies to Black Sea. In spite of what the name implies, to moi, it really sounds more like wandering around in a drunken haze in a dark forest sometime around 2am. As evidenced by my review of Untrue, these are some of my favorite types of albums.

And this is an example of one done very well. The pieces (which really, really run together, so there will be no "to get a feel for this album" section today) are beatless, and a distorted guitar accompanied by electronic tones and waves of white noise are the only sounds you'll find here. But that's not to say this is a minimalist album, maybe it is in some sense, but the sounds are deep and lush. They give a sense of space and time (the aforementioned "drunk in the forest at night"), what does vary a good deal is the mood. Some pieces are moody, but still relaxing, others are genuinely unsettling. It just depends on where your metaphorical needle drops.

"Glide" in particular begins with near (or maybe exact, it's hard to tell with these low quality headphones) silence, and a wave of noise builds out of that, and comes to fuzz up the entirety of your ears. The whole album is full of little gems like these, and regardless of whether they shine with the deep amber orange of the rising sun, or the heavy purple of the dark night, they shine nonetheless.

Fennesz claims to be influenced by The Beach Boys and pop music in general, not being much of an expert on either of those things (perhaps I'll do a Beach Boys album for my next installment, who knows?) I can't really say. But it does provide some insight into this guy.

This is no hipster, nor is he some pretentious noisenik (no offense to either of those groups) he's an electronic ambience wizard with the soul of a soft rocker. A good X Meets Y comparison might well be "Brian Eno meets Train" and if that appeals to you, pick up Black Sea. It's a great album, whether you need something to sleep or meditate too, or if you just want to listen to a master of his craft at work.

8.5/10

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28th Feb '11 2:25:10 PM flag for mods
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