Plus Forty Seven Degrees, Christian Fennesz's second solo full-length effort, released in 1999, follows a precise aesthetic arc: riffs are reduced to atomic particles and advance remorselessly in low key pincer movements while tension builds through slow, sensuous feedback and curtains of crisp digital confetti. Although it isn't the near-pop of his more recent work, musical components are sparingly used, elliptical, charged with multiple meanings, and tantalize with the fleeting prospect of significant liaison across zones of separation.
While today purveyors of electronica often venture elsewhere, into the realms of organic instruments, for instance, to supplement their schema's, Plus Forty Seven Degrees is a self-sufficient, vigilant system. Everywhere the brittle provocations are oil to the fluidity of the underlying textures. Flecks of incidental color paddle calmly or furiously to keep the main structure on its feet, making this music that never lets go of your ears.
The quietly abrasive electronics not only give the music a subtle delicacy, but they alter one's scale of perception in their elevated level of detail. In drawing one down to what's underneath, they make one vulnerable to small changes in dramatic tension. Track eight particularly capitalizes on this, its tremulous noise washes and tintinnabulation conjures an enormous tension without any of the grandiose theatrics that tinges some of his later material. In its remaining moments, the album then reabsorbs and regurgitates this energy very effectively. Despite the fact that the album dates back nearly a decade, it remains a telling example of how engaging experimental electronica can be. This is harmonically and texturally challenging music, its emotional effect complex and powerful.
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