Fennesz and Sakamoto - Flumina (2 x CD Touch)

This is the third time Fennesz and Sakamoto have collaborated for a Touch release though the germination of this one is a little different.

The 24 pieces of "Flumina" are based on piano compositions/improvisations which Ryuichi Sakamoto had recorded whilst touring in Japan. On that tour Ryuichi played a piano piece in a different key at the beginning of every show, always having a "Fennesz Sakamoto" project in mind. After 24 shows he had 24 tracks in 24 different keys, covering all 24 tonal steps of the western tonal system. Sakamoto sent the tracks over to Christian Fennesz and he worked on them using electronics, guitars and synths. They met in New York then and mixed the album together with Fernando Aponte at KAB Studios.

Itís 2 CDs that really very much need the right set and setting. The ambient nature and sparseness of these 24 tracks make it a really difficult set of pieces to explore without quiet surroundings and a level of concentration that you might not otherwise feel the need to give to a more pop/rock/ noise orientated collection.

As a whole set of 24 tracks played back to back itís hard going. The very nature of the minimal and improvisational method of Sakamotoís piano playing here makes it easy to lose concentration. Fennesz would be the element that would keep your interest but on these pieces he seems to be happy to take a more relaxed and subdued approach to normal and almost comes across as being an accompanist rather than a collaborator. A few more upfront moments from him would possibly have pushed this release up a level.

Ultimately, for me, this has become something of an album to dip into. A track here and there, one, two or three at a time rather than a whole disc works, whereas the whole of one or two discs just seems to accentuate what seems to be lacking which at the end of the day is Fennesz. There isnít enough of him here. DB

Contact: www.touchmusic.org.uk