Venice, it says: it’s a boat, on the water, alone except for another boat. Perfect Tumblr material; this is gold: do I hear (or, you know, see) a Wikipedia featured picture? Venice
. It’s so nice, isn’t it? This is the city that Christian himself, this laptop geek, this liquid individual, probably couldn’t believe wasn’t already taken after he flipped his Times Atlas of the World: Comprehensive Ed.
to a random page and closed his eyes and stuck his finger on the page and peeked--if he didn’t like it, he could switch. But, oh! Venice
. He got it and stuck with it, that water-city; nice place, I’m sure. Cover deserves a boat. Blue on blue. Perfect
. Anyone can agree: hipster photographers, ambient music fans, Venetians themselves.
“Château Rouge” is the second track on the album but it’s the first that implodes. Right there
, at that 1:58 mark, it reveals its insides; it is a ball of lightning. “Château” is the electrifying taste of orange juice pulp that wakes the eyes and jolts the body and brings its pulsing radioactivity inside you. It is the sun floating through and on top of passionate rectangular patterns projected onto pillows and sheets, and then it is back to the river and here are these boats. This is “pop” music smashed with a hammer and pieced together lovingly as a sculpture with more than a few visible cracks in it; it is also “crackle” and “snap” music. It is rigid yet amorphous and hidden melodies and hooks are everywhere, buried under mechanical static and dings and boops and clicks; this is pop music from the future but so far in the future that these two boats are somewhere else. They are at the bottom of the sea or in space or half-sunken in the sands of a barren desert. Luckily, they were salvaged and repainted and now here they are, solitary and blue. “Château Rouge” travels a billion years in six minutes and then reports the results back here, now, where these boats and this river and Venice
itself are still a possibility.
“City of Light” is waves of sand, in slow motion, everywhere. It is the moment at the end of the log flume where the water forms a translucent dome around you, paused and taken in and then expanded infinitely in both directions; do you hear me now? These waters are not as calm as they may seem, but Fennesz nevertheless presents them as such because we can all agree on these two boats here in still water--a universal appeal, so to speak. That is Venice
, but then the interior of the album is something else. It reaches inside your brain via your throat and pulls out memories and diffuses them into whole landscapes and lets you explore them: this is you
, and it’s yours
. This is a scary thought but also a necessary one.
David Sylvian, on “Transit”, is a robot. What is he saying? There is something about “Europe” in between the jarring, sour chasms of pure squish (like water being forcibly squeezed out of a sponge), but this is not our voice, nor is it his; he is an android dreaming of electric sheep at best. Is he the voice of reason or is he pretending? More importantly, does this voice, cutting through the jagged sheets of computer sounds with a pair of weathered scissors, disturb the climate? Sylvian’s voice is distinctly sad and the song and Fennesz and you and I all know it and we all watch as he slowly drowns in the bathtub and the rest of the album again goes vocal-less. Where is he now? He is with the boats but also below them and in their same state of ruin; he is the voice from forever in the future and he is now where he belongs: buried beneath rivers of sand.