Fennesz Endless Summer & June (Table of the Elements #100,) paired with an Ommegang Belgian Pale Ale
I remember reading about Endless Summer when it came out, I was quite young and had no idea who Fennesz was or what to expect really, but I was really into Sonic Youth and remember being quite frustrated at not being able to find music that was as out of the ordinary as some of their SYR releases. I jumped on this and instantly sunk into it’s gooey core. It reminds me of teetering on the cliff of sleep, thoughts and ideas rapidly shrinking away, pixelating, then rapidly coming back into focus and blowing up like cosmic bubbles, the associated sounds coming in and out of tune, like being submerged in liquid of a high viscosity over and over, at varying speeds and not quite wanting to give in. Everything in your brain refracted, seen through reflective ripples in a swimming pool, or as a mirage. This album doesn’t have a sound so much as a feel, it’s an experience in itself.
I enjoy this style of music a lot, but it’s poorly defined often. There are few who really capture it, but often it’s lumped in with more rhythmically minded peers; not entirely off base, but not wholly comparable either. When I’m in the mood for something like this, appropriate substitutions are hard to come by. Tim Hecker is in there, as are frequent Fennesz collaborators Oren Ambarchi, Peter Rehberg, and a few more. The early Clicks & Cuts compilations lumped together several like minded laptop virtuosos, but there was a strange discord there. I love those compilations (Jan Jelinek, specifically, holds a special spot in my heart) but most of the artists evolved from the Berlin club scene. This is different, there’s pop in these drones (perhaps garnered subconsciously from the title,) and while a rhythm is present, there’s no kind of marker for it, it’s more of a pulse, or a faint heartbeat. A waterfall of good vibes, if he hasn’t heard it already, I’d wager Brian Wilson would be a fan.
Ommegang, coincidentally, is one of my all time favorite brewery’s. And the BPA one of my favorite beers. Super thick head, and just hoppy enough, like a bitter milk shake*. I enjoy a variety of styles of beer, but I’ll take a superbly hoppy IPA over most, and this combines the hops I love with the smooth sweetness and hints of wheat of a Belgian ale in ways that make you ache for summer. This is an easy beer to drink, but it’s also sneakily complex, it commands your attention and draws you in not unlike a challenging composition, but lulls you into a relaxed trance, like a sugar sweet pop song lying under the surface. God dammit this beer is so good.
June is a much more ominous track, with a steady electronic hiss and some manipulated guitars and electronics, ebbing and flowing in an abandoned pipe factory. But sizzling just below the surface is a reassuring calm, a martyr, appearing at the last minute in a melancholic feat of heroics. A beautiful track, but one for the last gasps of summer. This record is a one sided 12″, with etching on the B-side by artist and musician Savage Pencil. I’m not generally a fan of his, but the artwork on this is quite nice.
*Speaking of beer and milk shakes, if you haven’t made a milk shake with a heavy stout and chocolate ice cream, you haven’t lived. Stop whatever you’re doing right now and make one and drink it, especially if what you’re doing is driving a car or operating heavy machinery.