Agitated Atmosphere: Fennesz – Bécs

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Christian Fennesz.

The first listen of Bécs was not my first listen of Bécs.

Four years ago during his performance at the 2010 Decibel Festival, Fennesz first played what has become the supposed kin of his storied 2001 album, Endless Summer. It was a visceral experience, every composition growing louder and more emotional with each passing phrase.

The memory of that performance never left me. So when I first listened, it felt familiar and my mind began searching itself. As the album continued forth, I was flooded with the same excitement and intrigue of that September evening. Clearly that evening was where Bécs was born for me, even if it had long been festering in Fennesz (and likely so).

The same descriptions that held true of the live performance stand the test of time. Though the visual component is not included, that doesn’t mean anyone with imagination couldn’t feel the cruelty and chaos of nature’s embrace as it plays out in Fennesz’s latest flirtation with antique California tropes possessed by modern day cynicism.

Much like the hope and dreams of the public facing Beach Boys brought a glimmer of hope in the madness of the 60s love and politics, Bécs too puts forward a thoughtful but optimistic view of the winds of change. Land may erode, sea waters may rise, but at some point the metamorphosis will be complete. As a planet, we will all arrive at the point we need to be for a better world. We will draw upon eons of emotion, experience, and etymology to draw a new definition of what we feel, what we went through, and how to explain it to future generations.

It may have been four years ago but Bécs was an unexpected time capsule. Not only will it remind me of a place and time for the rest of my days, it will serve as a constant to an era before change came; the positive and negative forces of nature embodied by the equally persuasive power of music.

Justin Spicer is a freelance editor and journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. You can also find him on Twitter.

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