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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars True Music, A True Message, 30 Jun 2003
By 
Simon Godfrey (London, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
There are many artists that profess to exist on the frontier of music but few who can realise such a role with both creativity and ease. Fennesz's Field Recordings (a fairly self evident title) is a collection of material accumilated on the artist's travels between 1995 and 2002 to form a wonderfully cohesive work filled with wild extremes of sound and feeling.
This instrumental melange straddles the gulf between the dense textures of Autechre and the dark streams of sound produced by the Stars Of The Lid with consumate ease. The material is always underpinned by a subtle musical pulse or a hinted rhythmic base and it is through this that the sound filters like powdered glass.
The recordings commence with 'Good Man', a sort of gentle handshake filled with thin almost granular shots of sound, welcoming you to Fennesz's world and letting you know what is to come. As the album develops, the music leaps from texture to texture hinting at half forgotten melodies and glorious chord shadows. Some tracks are hard and metallic (Instrument 1, 2), while others posess a uniquely abstract yet solemn quality (Instrument 4, Bettrieb). Overall you get the feeling that the pieces were ment to ebb and flow like the breathing of some immense, impossibly complex machine that presents itself in fleeting glimpses.
The highlight of the album for me has to be 'Surf' which bubbles up from nowhere and scorches your senses like a desert sun, finally settling into a repetative cycle that slices through you like some beautiful yet terrible surgical tool.
Eventually though, all good things have to come to an end and the final track (Codine) reluctantly bids you farewell in a wash of acoustic guitar reathed in hazy distortion coupled with a mournful organ that quietly paints itself into the distance. In short, this is an recording with thirteen messages that get better every time you listen to them.
Finally, after all this gushing you might think that it's misleading to give the album four stars. I do this however because as wonderful as Field Recordings is, there is surely better to come.
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