Music Column | posted 03.07.2016
Records Revisited
Fennesz – Endless Summer (2001)
Endless summers. Endless longing. 20 years ago, the Viennese short-circuit provocateur Christian Fennesz got on a surfboard. And has been riding the perfect wave ever since.
Text Christoph Benkeser
Records_revisited_fennesz+endless+summer_1024x685px+kopie

Endless Summer« is computerised music for dog days. Open the laptop, press play – glitches are about to scratch smooth surfaces; blow-dry the sweat from your brow; destroy the idyll and break into the dream you fall when you put on this record. The album that the Austrian Christian Fennesz released on Mego in 2001 is the entry point that leads to the niche. It sucks with the chopped up power of guitar chords flowing out of the strings into the software, becoming data, just spitting out bits and wrapping them in down blankets over and over again, while at the same time putting ice cubes in the back of your neck.

In this regard, »Endless Summer« was the intersection between experimentation and ingratiation in 2001. It’s a record you bought because you wanted to out this so-called experimental music. Or you own it now because, in the rest of your collection of crackle-crunch-and-noise music, it feels like a two-week All-inclusive holiday somewhere at the Mediterranean sea. In other words, it’s something like the cool guilty pleasure for people who otherwise only find fulfilment in noise.

After all, the album works like a PR consultant’s wet dream. It tells the perfect story and triggers something that everyone knows, but no one can grasp. The feeling of endless summer. The sound of the waves. Mai Tais on the sun deck. But, also, at some point: a last sunset. The view into the distance. Desire. Not only melancholic people shed two tears at the end of a long summer, because they know that time slips away like sand in a clock. And because the knowledge of this is accompanied by the realisation that one has once again come a little closer to one’s own finiteness.

The memory of the past penetrates and catapults into the now while listening, in which what has been resonates. And will continue to brace itself against a wall of guitars that the short-circuit provocateur Fennesz shakes out of the laptop with three broken chords.

Fennesz takes up this tension. You can’t think of the washed-out melodies buried under technical crackle mumbo-jumbo without thinking of the album’s name. »Endless Summer« is attached to every single track, but never remains rigid, but moves along all the time. That’s why the record still works after 20 years, why there is no end inscribed on it. The memory of the past penetrates and catapults into the now while listening, in which what has been resonates. And will continue to brace itself against a wall of guitars that the short-circuit provocateur Fennesz shakes out of the laptop with three broken chords.

Thus, »Endless Summer« is a memory that everyone carries within them. One that is never the same and changes like patina on the walls of clubs. It is precisely through the combination of the two words that they acquire a common meaning that does not double their impact, but rather increases it – and charges them with an aura that emphasises the presence of absence. The feeling of endless summer. And the realisation that it must pass so as not to be lost. This feeling resonates, with the past and its stored memory inhabiting us in a way that is never alien to us. Every summer is threatened by its own overwriting, which means that its history, while not erased, is no longer remembered. To prevent forgetting, it must become infinite. It charges itself with thoughts and experiences and serves as a projection surface for wishes and dreams that have become music in Fennesz’ »Endless Summer«.

Fennesz – Endless SummerVinyl 2LP These dreams will never stand still. They change. Every time you swing from »Made in Hong Kong« to the two-minute outro of »Endless«, you pack seven things in your mind and take a journey. One that knows no boundaries, because it starts in your head. And it ends there. There, you capture an image of the past as it appears in the present. That only exists in relation to the now and is updated in listening. The endless summer is our history. Its past is no more fixed than its future. Precisely because it tells a perfect story without ever finishing it.


Please find the vinyl records of Fennesz in the HHV Records webshop.

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