Endless Summer

[Editions Mego, www.editionsmego.com]

The label "classic album" makes me want to run deep into the woods and run like hell. It makes me want to throw up yellow vomit. I get ulcers just by hearing that phrase alone. Upon its release in 2001, "Endless Summer" was touted as the next best thing since sliced bread. Austrian electronic artist Christian Fennesz [but who remembers his first name any more anyhow] went out on a limb with this release. Sure, there were glitch, pops and crackles. More importantly, the guy had the balls to add melodies to his work, something most other laptop artists feared. My aim is not to spill too much ink over the release. I think the music speaks for itself. Fact that so many people name-dropped Fennesz following this release is a testament to the man himself. The fact that so many people all of a sudden were lining up to collaborate with him was quite significant too. How about the music? Was it really a revelation or was Fennesz simply re-doing something that's already been done before. With the album's artwork and Fennesz openly admitting the fact, "Endless Summer" was an electronic tribute to the Beach Boys. The man wanted to see how far he could push the envelope of electronic music but still keep it relatively simple. Melodies are an important aspect to the guy. Without these, the music would crumble under its own weight. The loveliness of "Caecilia" - with its warm vibraphone and fuzzy guitars - takes on a new life. Basically, it's a song within a song in electronic clothing. The title track reverberates with good vibes of summers past, as the music rolls along a subdued guitar line. The ten minute [original album closer] "Happy Audio" is an ambient piece that crackles with pops and clicks but more or less soothes rather than challenges. The addition of deleted Fat Cat split single "Badminton Girl" is a real treat. Long-deleted, the track features a vacuum-tube sound super-imposed over shifting landscapes. It could be a drowning organ or a reconstituted farfisa. Final bonus track comes in the form of the unreleased "Endless". The tune is a still sequence of glitches that honestly seem to go nowhere. I'm not too sure if its inclusion was mandatory. I don't want to toot Fennesz's horn and claim this is the most important electronic album ever made. Fact remains, six years after its initial release, it's a record that has aged damn well.

- Tom Sekowski

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