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Electronic/Dance - Released March 29, 2019 | Touch

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Christian Fennesz made Agora in his flat after losing access to his proper studio. He recorded everything through headphones, and didn't go through the trouble of connecting every piece of equipment he owned. Understandably, the result isn't quite as intricately detailed as previous works like Venice or Bécs, but it brings to mind Moodymann's famous dictum that "it ain't what you got, it's what you do with what you have." These four compositions have a hazy quality which most likely would have been scrubbed away in a state-of-the-art studio, and they feel much more exploratory than his usual studio work, edging toward the improvisational spirit of his live performances and collaborations. Opening piece "In My Room" continues in the lineage of Fennesz's previous allusions to the Beach Boys, including his abstract "cover" of "Don't Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)," and of course his 2001 masterpiece Endless Summer. Sounding as isolated and reflective as its title, the piece consists of softly vibrating static waves and filtered noise sweeps, resembling a very tranquil space probe. "Rainfall" and "We Trigger the Sun" have a bit more of a rhythmic underpinning, although it's still closer to waves than pronounced drum beats. "Rainfall" begins with a slower section graced by shoegaze-like swirling guitar as well as soft, blurry vocals. The second half has more of a rapid flickering, almost like a fast-forwarding compact disc, yet this sense of forward momentum still feels a bit obscured by nebulous droning. "We Trigger the Sun" is filled with lush, glowing organ-like tones, and seems to hint at Endless Summer's pop-influenced melodies, but at a much more sprawled-out pace. The unpolished feel of Agora is a bit striking for a Fennesz release, but it's clearly just as carefully considered as his other albums, and makes a welcome addition to his catalog. ~ Paul Simpson

Electronic/Dance - Released May 11, 2018 | Touch

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