Sunday, 5 February 2012
Review: Fennesz & Sakamoto
Fennesz & Sakamoto – Flumina (Touch)
“Flumina” is the third collaboration between Austrian guitarist and laptop pioneer Christian Fennesz and the ex-Yellow Magic Orchestra leader, and Oscar winning soundtrack composer, Ryuichi Sakamoto. On their second record, 2007’s “Cendre”, they merged Fennesz’ ambient electronics and processed strings with Sakamoto’s fragile piano to make tremulous, sometimes melodic, ambient soundscapes. Their new two-disc set continues the concept, gently coaxing structure from swathes of current flecked hum, static blasts and piano droplets that fall like summer rain. Older listeners may be reminded of Fripp and Eno’s “The Heavenly Music Corporation” and “Swastika Girls”, and although “Flumina” isn’t as grandiose, it’s just as spellbinding.
There are no titles here, just numbers. Though as individual tracks merge and become signifiers for pieces that follow, designations become meaningless and using words to label wordless sound appears almost crass. Let digits carry that particular burden and concentrate instead on the massed swells of treated electronica. It’s very beautiful, icy cool yet embracing, and emotionally distracting. It’s ambient music to listen to.