Christian Fennesz’s first solo LP in five years arrives via Touch Records.
The manner in which Fennesz created Agora is rather different to the setup he used on Mahler Remix and Bécs, the pair of albums he released back in 2014. After losing his studio space Fennesz began to make music in his bedroom - just as he had done on his early records back in the 1990’s. Working with headphones rather than studio monitors has led to some of this record having an intimate, in-the-box feel. For instance, the opening half of ‘Rainfall’ is a gorgeously up-close blend of ambient tones and little curls of fuzz guitar. Agora’s title track is a watery thing that has shades of James Leyland Kirby to it, and the drones of closer ‘We Trigger The Sun’ end the record on a lovely wistful note.
Mind you, there are still plenty of awe-inspiring soundscapes to be found across Agora. ‘Rainfall’ may begin quietly, but by its climax the track has swelled to a stormy, distorted cacophony reminiscent of bvdub’s best work. ‘We Trigger The Sun’ has a similarly grand section as its middle third. Opener ‘In My Room’, a track built on a drone that ebbs and flows over the course of twelve minutes, is a masterful example of how to wring great emotion from minimal means.
On his new LP Agora, guitarist and composer Fennesz has expertly balanced silence and noise to create a beautiful ambient opus.