Monday, December 14, 2015

Fennesz/King Midas Sound, "Edition 1"

I pretty much lost my head when I came across this album in the Berkeley Amoeba, for I had no idea it was in the works and didn't know that it had been released a few weeks earlier.  Kevin Martin and Fennesz ... joining forces??  What could be better?

Unfortunately the album turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, but that's usually the case with Fennesz collaborations.  His interests span genres far beyond his bread and butter formula of 60's melodic charm meets noise and static.  He's never been afraid to experiment in the most literal sense -- he doesn't force his signature stuff onto the record, the way a famous rock guitarist might play a guest solo in a style so familiar sounding, you won't ever mistake it as anybody else.  Fennesz genuinely loves to share ideas with a revolving door of musicians spanning genres and continents, and it certainly helps pay the bills between his own proper albums.  But sometimes it's too bad that he always saves his best stuff for the albums solely under his own name.

The dream Fennesz/KMS would be constructed out of infinitely dense slabs of guitar noise laid over cavernous metallic dub.  Instead of that, both artists decided to show their quieter sides -- atmospheric, dreamscapes dedicated to unknown lost loves, rendered spookier via strange, processed sounds squeezed from a sentient computer.  It's an album that fans of both acts will be proud to own, but won't otherwise grab many people's attention.  The second disc adds nothing to the overall product.  It's identical to the first disc but with the vocals removed -- no extended dubbier edits, alternative version, or unusual sounds you can't hear on the first disc.

UPDATE:  Why couldn't the entire album have sounded more like this transcendent three song live set??

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