SH | The title displays a very now blend of apocalyptic and utopian sentiment. The entirely instrumental recordings then unfold unhurriedly across Part I and Part II, at eighteen and fifteen minutes respectively.
This has been tagged as the ‘rebirth of cool’ on the m=minimal website, something which was ‘originally’ re-declared in relation to a blend of hip hop and acid jazz. Perhaps if we track the kind of social which underpinned that, and the move to this, we might get some sense: ‘hot jazz’, which Rebirth of the Cool counter-intuitively encapsulated, was about emotion, 1990s exuberance, as well as a kind of distanced chic, but Jeff Nuttall wrote about ‘cool jazz’ in the late-60s as the alienated, distanciated realm of the addict living under the shadow of the cold war and the bomb. Well, maybe we had one ‘rebirth’ at the start of the 1990s and another in 2012, one a kind of hot-cool and this one marking a return to a kind of ‘cold’, albeit not quite the one Nuttall described. This said, the conditions under which he felt the pinch have not evaporated, far from it.
Spurious, outrageous, excessive historical claims aside, I only really need declare my undying love for Christian Fennesz here: The blasts of noise display both his aesthetic and the beauty of his craft. The opening of Part I is the sound of a mature artist, collaging with large slabs of his trade undaunted, like a painter with a trowel, overlaying the ground put in by his collaborators with sheer confidence. What sounds like live guitar eats itself livid, winks out of existence, then just as immediately spews itself back out of the void again. Sparse acoustic picking threads the whole thing together very loosely. If you have listened to Fennesz’s early tapeworm experiments, you will immediately know which parts are his. Just by uttering the word ‘Fennesz’s’, one begins to conjure his music, and here he is joined by Martin Brandlmyar and Werner Dafeldecker, the latter having played with David Sylvian. I am deeply disappointed to find that ‘Atmospheres 4’, Touch 30 at Beaconsfield, has sold out – Fennesz is playing.
There are vibes, shufflings, a brief attack on the inside of a piano, but there is space, space created by knocking out huge holes in time, not clean holes of pure silence, but ragged holes, like the sudden gap where a wall should have been in a ruined landscape: Maybe my historical claims are not so spurious and excessive after all, maybe this work shadows a different kind of outrageous.
Maybe this is the re-birth of the freeze.