Fennesz
Becs


3.8
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
April 28th, 2014 | 73 replies


Release Date: 04/28/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Somber soundscapes and lush melodies: a vivid Fennesz experience.

In the past six years, Austrian artist Christian Fennesz has focused mostly on soundtracks, remixes and several collaborations that kept his fans interested in his output yet a solo full length was nowhere in sight. The sample collection, Szampler and the Seven Stars EP kept teasing until the man finally announced the release of his latest work, Bécs. Besides bearing the Hungarian name for Vienna, the record also marked the return to his former record label Mego, through which he released the beautiful classic Endless Summer.

While Bécs was indeed created with the aforementioned album in mind, the overall output is slightly different this time. There's less glitch and more straightforward ambient soundscaping, while the guitars are more often distorted and sunk in waves of effects and samples. Even so, the prominent beauty that lies underneath the musical dirt makes for an easier listen much like Venice is. Centerpieces, 'Liminality' and 'Pallas Athene' are two gorgeous examples of this gentle approach within rough edges. The former was expanded on the 'Liminal' track off Seven Stars, adding a lovely guitar lead that gets gradually obscured and ultimately drowned in an ever increasing wall of noise. The melodic lines are still vaguely audible until the last couple of minutes, even if it sounds as if the whole world is coming to an end. The ambient 'Pallas Athene', on the other hand, goes quite the opposite way. The serene synth pads build a brittle foundation with different sonic layers comprised of faint guitar strums or restrained organ touches, occasionally finding their way to the surface.

Somber moments are found in 'The Liar' and 'Sav', however, even these aren't that abstruse as before, thus boasting more melodic progressions. They aren't composed entirely of industrial noise, feedback and field recordings like his early records do, instead featuring at least some atmospheric sounds and synths that break through the murk. 'Sav' comes off like a dreamy underwater soundtrack that could start from the diving point and goes deeper and deeper into the darkness. Once you finally return to the surface, the grim, background remnants give way to the warm and lovely closer, 'Paroles', where an acoustic guitar slowly plays its way to the end, rarely being interrupted by scratches or radio static. It feels like a perfect ending to such a vivid experience that Fennesz has perfected along the years.

Overall, is this album better than Endless Summer? No, because it's sketched on its format. Still, it benefits from recipes found on Black Sea and Venice too and that makes Bécs such a nice and rather fresh listen. After a decade of heavy experimenting it was clear Fennesz couldn't leave it all aside to return to 2001. For the better of it, the album is made of lush tones but it also delves on the harsh side, with melancholic leads drenched in noise and distortion (the title cut is very representative of this). There aren't many artists who can deconstruct and rebuild such interesting tracks equally based on both disturbing and exquisite soundscapes, yet Fennesz continues his winning streak.




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user ratings (51)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2014


3482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

A beautiful record only Fennesz could create. It is arguably his best work since Endless Summer.

Liminality - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdFksI52akk
Becs - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoNPCKGISCw
Sav - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpauClM8l1Q
Paroles - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62S6Gyfl1NU
Pallas Athene - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo9FS2bdqEc
The Liar - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAjhoWvuyFk


Digging: Brant Bjork - Black Flower Power

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2014


15015 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Will definitely have to check!

Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - 9 Songs

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2014


3482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Make sure you do man, it's really worth the time!

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2014


15015 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Soulseeking the 320 now, been looking forward to this since it was announced

TheBarber
April 28th 2014


2048 Comments


digging Liminality atm

Digging: Low Roar - 0

Phlegm
April 28th 2014


5374 Comments


whoaaaa this is nice

TheBarber
April 28th 2014


2048 Comments


Great review too, never heard about this guy but he's got the haunting feels of the night coupled with the lush sonic dirges you mentionned (almost reminds of what was going instrumentally on the lips The Terror tbh), it's basicly pretty awesome yeah

SeaAnemone
April 28th 2014


20834 Comments


yeah, this has a few boring moments, but Liminality and The Liar are so good, especially

TWIGtheWONDERKID
April 28th 2014


904 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review (didn’t know anything about Fennesz’s solo work), I’m a fan of his collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto, especially Flumina. This is different than Flumina, less glitchy (like you said in the review) and less piano, but I like what I hear so far.

Digging: David Bowie - Nothing Has Changed

Yotimi
April 28th 2014


6548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Been obsessed with his stuff lately

Digging: Sand Circles - Motor City

SeaAnemone
April 28th 2014


20834 Comments


I've only heard Endless Summer otherwise, I think I like it a little better than this

conesmoke
April 28th 2014


5275 Comments


Endless summer is the soundtrack to super computers mating in a data cloud.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2014


16113 Comments


like the linked track, worth a spin methinks, nice rev

Digging: H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft II

BigPleb
April 28th 2014


37569 Comments


sup mena :]

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2014


16113 Comments


hail,
same girl in avatar ? old one was nicer

BigPleb
April 28th 2014


37569 Comments


Ye man, but her smile is just the best so I crumbled :/

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2014


23970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't love this on first listen but I think I just had sand in my vag or something cause it's sounding much better on second listen.

Digging: Taylor Swift - 1989

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2014


16113 Comments


too laddish, looks like she's saying 'owright guvnor' in a cockney accent

BigPleb
April 28th 2014


37569 Comments


Laddish my arse, I'm going Canada in November so will hopefully see her.

She's prob trippin balls on acid and just making cute mouth movements.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2014


16113 Comments


cheeky chirpy cockney lassie



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