Can you believe it’s been nearly five years since the sumptuously singed guitar and synths of Christian Fennesz graced a solo album? It’s amazing but true. And his return to the format is a little unusual, in that it was put together away from the studio in his bedroom using only minimal equipment. Touch continues to touch.
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OK, so just take a moment... and breathe. I hope you've done your 10-minute relaxation today. Ready now? I'm advising you brace yourselves, cuz this is gunna be intense. IN-TENSE! This is wonderfully, extraordinarily -- and immersively -- warm, this record presently balanced finely in the palm and splayed-out fingers of my right hand. Warmth… Warmth, not just through the radiation of our home planet’s sun-rays but warmth through deep drone and hazily drifting ambience. It’s the return of the original guitar-and-laptop drone maestro, one Christian Fennesz of droneland (Austria).
'Agora' -- out for a coupla months now, through Touch records -- is the first new solo Fennesz record in yonks. Yes, yonks. His ‘Mahler Remixed’ was the last we heard from him and it was very, very nice. But nothing, (NOTHING!), nothing could’ve prepared us for this masterpiece.
Yes, I said masterpiece, because that’s but one humble opinion. Really well-crafted, carefully constructed and oh-so-absorbing waves of electronics and processed guitar add up to something wonderfully, beautifully, excitingly in excess of its components. Opening track in and of itself ‘In My Room’ is breathtaking in its simplicity, its execution and its emotional pull. It’s just like being drawn in by the most powerful magnet in the world; or, perhaps, being crushed and collapsed in a black hole in the darkest depths of deep space; then being battered like a particle in the Large Hadron Collider.
Yup. It’s THAT INTENSE… and it gets better and better.
There’s barely a breath of air to be spared in this sultry, sweaty and FUNKY office-space this 33-degree afternoon; but if there were I would hardly have room or lung capacity to whisper to you how good the rest of this record is: ‘Rainfall’ with its unrelenting cascades provides brief respite and refreshment but then the album’s title track comes in and spears us with huge, glittering shards of sound so now I’m perforated. Battered, bloodied and now baked by closing track ‘We Trigger The Sun’: so it’s all Christian’s fault then. I bet you never knew drone could be this visceral, this violent, this glorious. Well, we do know now. Told you.
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- Agora by Fennesz
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