Fennesz continued his glitch 'n' fuzz operations on 'Venice', zapping listeners with more white noise and temperamental synth melody. The record was made out in the waterlogged city itself, and while it dabbles in some of the same pop disciplines as its predecessor, 'Endless Summer', it feels more like an experimental soundscape, the soundtrack to an entire time and place.
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Christian Fennesz is a true romantic. He recorded 'Venice' on location, and the music he created betrays his love for its natural beauty, its unique position in the world and the sheer vastness of the place -- the sustained synths sound like water ebbing and flowing, curling up against the edge of canal beds and then returning. The guitars he uses, too, are only processed so they can sound more rustic, another part of this landscape that always feels gorgeously ancient. If Fennesz was trying to capture the natural beauty of this place, he succeeded: his electronica always had an emotive force, but on 'Venice' it was as if he were trying to extract that and put it in an empty place: boats and water as his protagonists, it never felt like this soundscape was meant for humans. The artwork on the back of 'Venice' feels like a sly wink to that. Unlike the beautiful front cover, it puts reality in front of the listener, showing a snowy Venetian airport runway and a couple security guards. Fennesz has to recognise the people of 'Venice' occasionally, but they're not what he came there for.
The influence 'Venice' has had, with the textural heights it reached, is phenomenal: I can hear these gasping electronics in so much of what's recorded now, and it feels like another chapter in which Fennesz was able to reconcile white noise and sonic assaults with beautified and ambient-leaning electronica. The ominous drone of "City of Light" feels ingrained into the minds of artists like Josh Mason, while the furious and gorgeous noise of "Onsra" feels like the key to unlocking Deerhunter's "Ink" compositions on 'Cryptograms'. Even the gasping processed sounds that mull around the record's edges feel strangely predictive of the blustery beauty Oneohtrix Point Never would go on to create. And though he worked in his own special realm -- processed guitars, electronic haze and a handy laptop to lean over -- Fennesz managed to conjure a feeling that artists have been trying to get back for years: one that's about truly recreating where you where in the world and what you wanted from it when you made your music. On 'Venice', the city is his.
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- Fennesz: Venice (10th Anniversary Edition) by Fennesz
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