Cendre album cover

Ryuichi Sakamoto , Fennesz


Compared to contemporary output by the two artists involved, this is quite a soft-sounding record. It doesn’t have the crunching digitally processed guitar crescendos of Fennesz's solo work, nor the ultraminimal starkness of Sakamoto's collaborations with Alva Noto or Sachiko M around the same time. Rather it’s all mist and stillness, Fennesz’s shoegaze sound layers at their most contemplative and Sakamoto’s piano lines circling gently around ideas, half-quoting things like Satie's Gymnopedies and Eno’s “By This River" in passing. But it’s a long way from blissed out. There’s discord and depth here, indeed the darkness is sometimes chasm-deep. But this only adds to the beauty: like a Zen garden you might feel you can stare into its spiralling patterns for ever.

Joe Muggs

Sakamoto’s juxtaposition of abstract electronics with European classical romanticism served as a template for future generations of musicians. By the late ‘90s, Austrian guitarist/composer Christian Fennesz took up the mantle, running his six-string through his laptop to elicit thrilling – and glitchy – new vistas. The two collaborated in 2007 and it was a match made in heaven, as Sakamoto had returned to his avant-garde roots. Together, the two delve deeper into this exquisite realm of old-world melodic motifs rendered by 21st century technology, creating patterns that resemble antique lace draped atop a television set to static.

Andy Beta

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