Among the wave of experimental electronic music artists who came to prominence in the 1990s and early 2000s, Christian Fennesz was the scene's great romantic. His laptop compositions were as formally rigorous as those of his peers, but his music always carried with it an element of grandeur and a touch of the sublime. Unlike many of the producers who were once gathered together under the umbrella of IDM, Fennesz's work never had a strong connection to dance 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.
Christian Fennesz is a hero to fans of minimal electronic music. Since 1997 he has crafted and created soundscapes that feel euphoric and melancholy at the same time. And it's hard to know where to start in order to explain him. The same is true of this new album Agora. At times it is ethereally ….
On the process of creating the album, the Austrian musician stated that "I had temporarily lost a proper studio workspace and had to move all my gear back to a small bedroom in my flat where I recorded this album. It was all done on headphones, which was rather a frustrating situation at first… but in the end it was inspiring". This is palpable across Agora and although the music has been subject to great technological limitation, it still finds a way to prosper and convincingly diversify.
Photo by Jon Wozencraft Agora by Fennesz Austrian experimental guitarist Christian Fennesz returns with a new album Agora. Four long tracks recorded in "straightened circumstances" after Fennesz lost access to proper studio space and was forced to record in his bedroom on headphones with limited equipment. Guitar, voice, field recordings and a computer.