If there were an aural equivalent to the technique of smearing Vaseline on a camera's lens, Christian Fennesz would be its maestro. The Austrian electronic musician has built his career on a series of recordings where each seems even more on the verge of dissipation than the one before. Despite its obviously ambient qualities, thoughâhis music fades into the wallpaper as amicably as Brian Eno's, pearl-finished and aglow with dull yellow and blueâthere's a palpable sense of musical direction running like an undercurrent beneath his digitally whitecapped froth.
Before beginning his solo project, Fennesz was the guitarist for the underground Viennese band Maische; it was with a handful of recordings for Vienna's Mego, in the late '90s â including two inscrutable Black Sabbath covers â that he found his style and growing acclaim. (He has also collaborated in an improvisational capacity with artists like Jim O'Rourke and Werner Dafeldecker.) Despite Fennesz' obviously electronic signature, the guitar occupies a central place in his compositions; spindly plucking runs like sinews through his songs before dissolving into a foam of digital detritus. This is noise rendered as cotton candy.