Fennesz – "Bécs" new album April 2014

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First full-length Fennesz solo release for six years. Sample up here sounds excellent:


my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Friday, 28 February 2014 10:28 (six years ago) link

Out April 28th. Blurb from the EM site:

All tracks by Christian Fennesz, except * by Cédric Stevens & Christian Fennesz

Modular Synthesizer on “Sav" by Cédric Stevens
Bass on “Static Kings" by Werner Dafeldecker
Drums on “Static Kings" by Martin Brandlmayr
Drums on “Liminality" by Tony Buck

Recorded & mixed at Amann Studios, Vienna, 2013/14
Tony Buck’s drums recorded by Martin Siewert at Garnison7, Vienna, July 2013
Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin, February 2014

Cover design by Tina Frank

The last time Fennesz released an album on Austrian label Mego it was 2001 and the name of that release was 'Endless Summer'. Now, in 2014 Editions Mego is extremely proud to release the conceptual follow up that landmark of abstract pop. Bécs (pronounced 'baeetch') is Hungarian for Vienna and is the first full length Fennesz solo release since 2008's 'Black Sea'.

Eschewing the more drone orientated works of 'Black Sea', 'Bécs' returns to the more florid pop mechanisms as deployed on Endless Summer. 'Static Kings' features the extra leverage of Werner Dafeldecker and Martin Brandlmayer who deploy a range of atmospheric abstract effects to shape a bewitching sound world. The 10 minute centrepiece 'Liminality' (featuring Tony Buck on drums) is classic Fennesz: epic, evocative, beautiful, impossible. 'Pallas Athene' creates a sanctuary of hovering beauty which leads into the title track. Emotional and assured, the track 'Bécs' is an astonishing contribution to contemporary pop. 'Sav' co-written by Cédric Stevens (aka Acid Kirk) inhabits a less structural terrain as one enters a forest of small sounds and oblique atmospheres, where the closing 'Paroles', a gentle melody unravels amongst swirls of electronics and fried disruption. Bécs is not just an album or a series of songs, it's a world to inhabit, a landscape ripe with sounds, songs and that esteemed Fennesz signature.

A singular work by a singular artist.

Tim Heckler (willem), Friday, 28 February 2014 10:42 (six years ago) link

aww yeah!!!

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Friday, 28 February 2014 10:51 (six years ago) link

wow @ that sample, looking forward to this!

Crackle Box, Friday, 28 February 2014 11:02 (six years ago) link

I'm real excited even though if I'm being honest I foudn Black Sea to be quite a bore

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Friday, 28 February 2014 11:02 (six years ago) link

i've not really really liked anything he's done since endless summer tbh (apart from the times i've seen him live) but this is v obv an endless summer follow up so v excited

Crackle Box, Friday, 28 February 2014 11:10 (six years ago) link

why is this an edless summer follow-up?
For me, Venice is his masterwork so far.

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Friday, 28 February 2014 11:22 (six years ago) link

Black Sea never clicked with me, and cosign on Venice being his best. But it's not got a marketable hook like Endless Summer.

i reject your shiny expensive consumerist stereo system (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 28 February 2014 11:31 (six years ago) link

i preferred the distortion on endless summer which this is reminding me of, also this

"The last time Fennesz released an album on Austrian label Mego it was 2001 and the name of that release was 'Endless Summer'. Now, in 2014 Editions Mego is extremely proud to release the conceptual follow up that landmark of abstract pop."

Crackle Box, Friday, 28 February 2014 12:20 (six years ago) link

Venice is great, Endless Summer is better, Black Sea had some tunes. I guess this is a follow-up to ES just because it's on Mego. I would hope for some of the sounds from that album being suggested here though, which the press release promises.

abcfsk, Friday, 28 February 2014 12:38 (six years ago) link

The soundcloud link has been taken down already? Still, psyched!

NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 28 February 2014 14:36 (six years ago) link

no it's still there, the link didn't work but you can search for it

marcos, Friday, 28 February 2014 14:54 (six years ago) link

also, neither venice nor black sea did much for me, endless summer is where it's at, that album is forever

marcos, Friday, 28 February 2014 14:54 (six years ago) link

hmm that's weird, it worked when I posted it this morning

never mind, you can access it from http://editionsmego.com/release/eMEGO-165

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Friday, 28 February 2014 15:05 (six years ago) link

Black sea was obviously not as melodic or w/e as endless summer/venice, but its contours are fun to listen to.

brimstead, Friday, 28 February 2014 19:11 (six years ago) link

I recently wished Venice a happy 10th birthday, I like it but Endless Summer and its sister Live In Japan are clear highlights for me. I also really dig the gnarly textures of Hotel Parallel and Plus 47 Degrees, kinda wish he would return to that sound to some degree

sleeve, Friday, 28 February 2014 19:16 (six years ago) link

I haven't listened to Fennesz in ages (though I have very fond memories of Venice) so with that in mind, is it just me or is "The Liar" more aggressive than his past work?

Murgatroid, Friday, 28 February 2014 19:18 (six years ago) link

Definitely more abrasive

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Friday, 28 February 2014 20:14 (six years ago) link

one month passes...

totally milking the Endless Summer vibe, but this is so good


licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Monday, 31 March 2014 10:01 (five years ago) link

yea, it is really good.

marcos, Monday, 31 March 2014 16:19 (five years ago) link


kyenkyen, Thursday, 10 April 2014 16:22 (five years ago) link

this is fenneszcellent

reggie (qualmsley), Thursday, 10 April 2014 17:30 (five years ago) link

Black Sea was good but it didn't felt right at the time, at least for me. Listening to this right now it feels like it couldn't have been released at a better time.

Moka, Thursday, 10 April 2014 18:48 (five years ago) link

This is awesome. Title track is really catchy, too.

toby, Friday, 11 April 2014 08:25 (five years ago) link

Not as abrasive as I thought it was going to be, but I'm really enjoying it.

crowhurst, Friday, 11 April 2014 10:12 (five years ago) link

not feelin it on first listen, sounds like he threw something together to get Endless Summer partisans to stfu

brimstead, Friday, 11 April 2014 18:52 (five years ago) link

or to pay him

brimstead, Friday, 11 April 2014 18:52 (five years ago) link

I'm excited for this. Black Sea is one of my favorite records of the last decade regardless of genre and finally got me to buy into his hype. Hope this is nearly as good.

octobeard, Sunday, 13 April 2014 03:20 (five years ago) link

The first song on this is just stunning. It's all good but that one in particular just blew me away.

Kitchen Person, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 00:58 (five years ago) link

not feelin it on first listen, sounds like he threw something together to get Endless Summer partisans to stfu

― brimstead,

I completely agree ... it's good but it's practically a carbon copy of Endless Summer.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 25 April 2014 06:22 (five years ago) link

i don't recall anything on Endless Summer being as spacious and elegant as the early half of "Liminality." Are there stretches on Endless Summer with such unabashed/pronounced riffage?

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Friday, 25 April 2014 06:49 (five years ago) link

That was the most obvious difference for me ... less acoustic, space-y portions, more noise and riffage.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 25 April 2014 07:09 (five years ago) link

Into this. I wouldn't really mind if he just kept on putting out variations on this theme tbh.

popchips: the next snapple? (seandalai), Monday, 28 April 2014 18:29 (five years ago) link

he's kinda perpetuating a blighted aesthetic, akin to tim hecker -- too much tonal saturation. "Sav" is pretty nice, with a variety of textures and sort of ambiguous tonality. I think pitchfork would give this a solid 6.5 or 7.

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Tuesday, 29 April 2014 04:57 (five years ago) link

maybe a 5.5, if they were realistic.

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Tuesday, 29 April 2014 05:00 (five years ago) link

too much tonal saturation.

that's definitely why I don't like the Hecker stuff I've heard, but for some reason I like the way CF does it

RSD-rolled (sleeve), Tuesday, 29 April 2014 14:06 (five years ago) link

by 'tonal saturation' are you referring to the mixing or the tonal/harmonic content of the music?

clouds, Tuesday, 29 April 2014 14:17 (five years ago) link

I took it to mean the seemingly all-frequency buzz/roar that I hear in both of those artists, so yeah harmonic

I'd guess a lot of this stuff is mastered close to 0 db as well

not sure abt the original post

RSD-rolled (sleeve), Tuesday, 29 April 2014 15:29 (five years ago) link

yeah, the mostly tonal/harmonic content of it. I suppose it's more of an issue with Tim Hecker, where his last couple albums feel very monotonous throughout. Regarding "saturation," complaining about the ever-present swaths of distorted harmonic noise that just sort of take over. Several tracks on bécs build into these frenzied washes that, while they're harmonically "sweet," there's not much tonal variety or concision to their conclusions. Of course, there may be exceptions on the album and there are some really fine details. Really liked the track "July" from his last ep.

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Tuesday, 29 April 2014 16:52 (five years ago) link

I was expecting to like this but actually on first listen I love this. None of his other albums have ever grabbed me this quickly and forcefully.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Tuesday, 29 April 2014 21:35 (five years ago) link

Most of the tracks are harmonically compatible with the array of audio signals used on the local transit system (trains) in salt lake city. "The Liar" is actually in key with the beeping of the release mechanism for the rental bike docks located downtown. Tonal saturation.

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Wednesday, 30 April 2014 01:17 (five years ago) link

two weeks pass...

an odd phenomenon, when i play "liminality" on the stereo, sometimes the lead guitar sounds all reverbed out, lacking any attack and definition, sort of diffused and in the background. it happens both with the cd as well as an mp3 played through a shitty little portable speaker. other times the tracks plays/sounds as i first heard it, the lead guitar is ultra pronounced, right up in the foreground. never seen/heard this sort of playback variation before.

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Sunday, 18 May 2014 19:36 (five years ago) link

two weeks pass...

maybe a 5.5, if they were realistic.

― braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Tuesday, 29 April 2014 05:00 (1 month ago) Permalink

is this nu-ILX humor?

Kornblud (admrl), Friday, 6 June 2014 19:14 (five years ago) link

it's what i was feeling at the time... but i guess it does what a Fennesz record is supposed to do, and that is probably enough. what constitutes "nu-ILX humor" ?

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Sunday, 8 June 2014 17:01 (five years ago) link

I've come around on this album -- I love the intensity, the sense of barely controlled chaos in contrast to "Endless Summer"'s relative calm ...the title track could be the finest work of his career.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Sunday, 8 June 2014 19:43 (five years ago) link

one month passes...

En killed this shit on Already Gone.

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Sunday, 13 July 2014 16:54 (five years ago) link

I finally got this and I love it. I think Fennesz does for me what MBV does for some people. "Liminality" is my favourite so far.

EveningStar (Sund4r), Thursday, 24 July 2014 20:52 (five years ago) link

Came across Fennesz's "Seven" EP on Touch, which includes an early version of "Liminality."

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Saturday, 26 July 2014 21:04 (five years ago) link

four years pass...

New album Agora to be released in March. A medley of the album's four tracks is available on bandcamp.

Apparently, it's his back-to-basics album :)

Fennesz writes: “Its a simple story. i had temporarily lost a proper studio workspace and had to move all my gear back to a small bedroom in my flat where I recorded this album. It was all done on headphones, which was rather a frustrating situation at first but later on it felt like back in the day when I produced my first records in the 1990s. In the end it was inspiring. I used very minimal equipment; I didn't even have the courage to plug in all the gear and instruments which were at my disposal. I just used what was to hand.”

willem, Friday, 18 January 2019 14:59 (one year ago) link

Looking forward to the Fennesz "oozing sobriety" press photo :)

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Friday, 18 January 2019 15:01 (one year ago) link

Solo acoustic Fennesz? Sign me up.

pomenitul, Friday, 18 January 2019 15:03 (one year ago) link

Just one guy in a studio, making music, the way it used to be.

seandalai, Thursday, 31 January 2019 02:01 (one year ago) link

To me, Black Sea is his masterpiece. Thought he was overrated af until that dropped, and it's probably on my top 10 00's albums list. I hope this focus brings him back to that level textural immersion and pristine melodic beauty he sustained for that record.

octobeard, Thursday, 31 January 2019 03:17 (one year ago) link

Venice was my entry point and still fave. Endless Summer is good but a work with a particular flavor, and Black Sea is a smoothed out and extended version of Venice moments

I have a cd of Bécs that I value because I wanted to support a cool record store when I was traveling and they only had the listening station copy. They gave it to me for free with my purchases and it has a characteristic corner punch <3

mh, Friday, 1 February 2019 04:46 (one year ago) link

His masterpiece is the "...Plays" single.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 1 February 2019 05:03 (one year ago) link

my music library Iittered with interpretational covers and I am going to have to say no. it’s interesting as a release but it seems very dismissive of excellent work to make that call

mh, Friday, 1 February 2019 05:15 (one year ago) link

agreed, Plays is a certain peak of hype & moment but I don't think it holds up quite as well now. I started buying this stuff in the Hotel Parallel and Touch Records era and Plays was exciting because it showed a new direction forward, but I dig the Endless Summer/Venice/Black Sea trifecta way more

sleeve, Friday, 1 February 2019 06:18 (one year ago) link

Plays? Come on... seriously put Black Sea on with some headphones and immerse. Each song is extremely visual, with the title track and Glide as absolute pinnacles of his sound, compositionally and texturally. Glide in particular is an amazing build up and tear down. Visually, I feel like I'm in some forest at night and some bright light or space ship arrives and shines its light on me only to fly away and leave me breathless and with a sense of awe. It's a record dying to be heard from beginning to end, and is his most consistent.

octobeard, Friday, 1 February 2019 07:34 (one year ago) link

it's highly dependent on whether you like the king midas sound album, but the full-album rework by fennesz is pretty good. it's a lot less fenneszy, and could use a little stretching in some moments

mh, Friday, 1 February 2019 15:14 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

So, new one... I was excited by the p4k "80's new wave" references but this is very much the continuation of Becs and Black Sea I would say - perhaps a bit too slow and abstract for my taste at this point.

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Tuesday, 16 April 2019 13:54 (ten months ago) link

Yeah, I'm not feeling this one, unfortunately (and I liked Black Sea) and I agree the 80s new wave references were a tad misleading

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 16 April 2019 14:02 (ten months ago) link

three months pass...

It isn't happening in bite-sized chunks - and abstract it certainly is

I thought it relocated Fennesz back to a context of Gas, Chain Reaction and Porter Ricks

When the glinting neon bliss arrives, as it does in the second halves of Rainfall and We Trigger the Sun, it is truly wonderful

Worth a relook

Freeze Instr., Sunday, 4 August 2019 18:57 (six months ago) link

six months pass...

Yeah this is absolutely blowing me away right now. I don't think it's so abstract, I was struck by how immediate the appeal was. Vast and enfolding and gorgeous. Time to re-run the ambient albums poll.

lukas, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 02:45 (two weeks ago) link

aaaand today I find out a "concert extravaganza" for Agora is coming my way

lukas, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 19:44 (two weeks ago) link

ooh he's doing a festival near here!

mh, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 20:04 (two weeks ago) link

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