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Fennesz’s solo output has taken a back seat to soundtrack and collaborative work since the release of his last album ‘Black Sea’ 6 years ago. He now returns with 'Bécs' on Mego records, home to his classic album ‘Endless Summer’.

Fennesz has recruited Werner Dafeldecker, Martin Brandlmayr (Radian) and Tony Buck of the Necks for this album. The sparkling ‘Static Kings’ opens the album and you’re instantly moved by the luminescence in Fennesz’s music. ‘The Liar’ is much more robust, but rather than adopting just some dense industrial noise, this track has a softer flow of washes sprinkled over the noise. Its as forthright as Fennesz has been in a long time, and very effective. ‘Liminality’ may be the 10-minute centrepiece, seducing you with Fennesz’s signature blissed out guitar, but it didn’t hold my attention as well as i would have liked.

‘Pallas Athene’ is a serene ambient piece full of guitar layering, synths and organs. The majestic ‘Becs’ simply floors me every time i listen to it, a full-on assault combining primal sounds to sophisticated layers of sounds and textures. How can such a stream of guitars sound this gorgeous? The moodier ’Sav’ doesnt try to compete with ‘Becs’, its a more sinister beast lurking in the crevices of your mind. ‘Paroles’ ends with some initial confusion, as Fennesz plays it straight with some beautiful acoustic guitar melodies, before static starts to corrode the track into what we expect from Fennesz.

Its hard not to be biased by anything that Fennesz creates as i’m such a big fan of his music. Its a better album than ‘Black Sea’, which didn’t sustain my interest as much as this album. You won’t find anything new on this album thats different to Fennesz's previous output, though if this is your first album from Fennesz then you are in for a treat. The music is hard to fault, such is Fennesz’s skill. The title track ‘Becs’ is the best slice of noise i’ve heard since anything on Yellow Swans’ album 'Going Places’. Becs’ is probably his most versatile album, fully exposing Fennesz’s mastery of anything from ambient to noise and anything in-between. Welcome back Fennesz!

Rating 9/10
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on 8 August 2014
Solid and serious (as ever)
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