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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Christian Fennesz And Ryuichi Sakamoto

By John Kuhlman
Published January 14, 2008


It’s a little unclear at this point why the panjandrums of European glitch seem so anxious to collaborate with Ryuichi Sakamoto. An alumnus of the seminal electropop combo Yellow Magic Orchestra, whose early solo albums (especially 1980’s B-2 Unit) were predictive of certain electronica strategies of the early ’90s, he seems all too happy now, in these meetings, to confine himself to playing simple, ruminative piano motifs, much in the spirit of Harold Budd. In one sense, it’s a canny approach to collaboration, since it forces his fellow musicians to play background music, as anything stronger would certainly overwhelm his delicate noodling. Thus, on Cendre, we observe the somewhat dispiriting spectacle of Christian Fennesz, the greatest laptop guitarist in the world, whose best albums have completely redefined the possibilities of that instrument, reduced to rolling out sheets of quietly buzzing wallpaper for Sakamoto to dribble over, track after track. Enjoy!