Laptop music polyglot Christian Fennesz crossed over in 2001 with the release of his placid and powerful LP Endless Summer, a rare triumph of experimental music that transcended the often cloistered scene. Its distant washes of guitar and glitchy electronics portended a decade of more palatable strains of ambient music—the careers of both Daniel Lopatin and Tim Hecker owe a lot to the work Endless Summer did for introducing abstract computer music to wider audiences. So after nearly 13 years of cosmos exploring that often approximated but never recapitulated the magic of that release, Fennesz is poised for a return to Mego (the label that released Endless Summer) with Bécs, a record that he’s calling a “conceptual follow-up” to his most popular work. Passive acoustic guitar strums will undoubtedly mark this work as a spiritual successor of Endless Summer, but the chaos that surrounds it also grounds it as something dramatically opposed. “Static Kings” remains connected to the work that precedes it, while using its blotchy sound art tendencies to hit emotional marks that Fennesz has never really aimed at before.
Stream: Fennesz, “Static Kings”