Posted on Aug 9th 2012 01:51 am
Ash International 2012
15 Tracks. 52mins29secs
Christian Fennesz is well known for creating dense textured pieces from processed electric guitars, and his live sets are often extremely intense experiences, the music so loud that it is primarily felt racing deep down through the body. But the Austrian-born experimental guitarist has for some time been exploring a much more ethereal and gentle side to his work, most notably recently with Ryuichi Sakamoto. It is exactly this side that Fennesz chose for his soundtrack to Austrian director Edgar Honetschläger’s feature film Aun: The Beginning And The End Of All Things, a tale of how mankind is at once fascinated by, and fearful of, the future.
Fennesz provides a particularly striking atmospheric soundtrack here, composed in majority of short sonic vignettes, some merely developing into drone sequences, others left to grow and incorporate fragments of melodies or, at least, tonal variations. There are occasional hints of his harsh, corrosive sound, but it is never more than a vague echo or a passing pulse buried under layers of soft hazy sounds. In fact, whilst he relies primarily on processed electric guitars to build the backbone of his pieces, Fennesz uses acoustic textures and sounds quite extensively here, taking delicate motifs and processing them, at times almost imperceptibly, at others much more consequently, to render them distressed or grainy and give them an ever so slightly unusual appearance. Furthermore, the soundtrack also incorporate three pieces from Fennesz’s first collaborative effort with Sakamoto, Cendre, for which he creates gently textured backdrops for Sakamoto’s delicate piano motifs. In comparison to much of Fennesz’s soundscapes, Sakamoto’s sparse and precise piano tones are incredibly clear and well defined, reverberating like highly polished silver droplets in an otherwise clouded environment.
Despite some pieces barely lasting more than a couple of minutes, there is an impressive feeling of space and amplitude here, partly resulting from slow reverberating sounds and refined layers, and partly for the lack of clear temporel reference points on many of these piece, which sets this work apart even from most of Fennesz’s own releases. The progressive drone forms he assembles throughout resembles the milky glare of fog on a winter morning. As they slowly swallow they surroundings, sharp edges become softer, shapes and tones are distorted. They are an essential part of the structure of this soundtrack, yet they are for the most part kept to discreet ethereal sequences which continuously expand and contract throughout to create a wonderfully airy and moody soundtrack.