Short Cuts 2: Fennesz, Akron/Family

More handy bite-sized reviews of recent shows I don’t have the time or the will to write more about.

Christian Fennesz, Vienna Radiokulturhaus, 2 November 2009

Very strong evening of guitar and laptop improvisations. The reason I love Fennesz so much is that he gives the lie to the idea that noise has to be ugly and atonal (not that that there’s anything wrong with atonality, done well). On the contrary, Fennesz’s music is dreamy, shimmering, and uplifting. And yes, it’s still noise. Beautiful.

Akron/Family, Vienna B72, 4 November 2009

A strange outfit, this. Their set was basically a long, free-flowing mix of dusty Americana, rabble-rousing vocal harmonies, eerie noise and guitar-driven progressive rock. Given this unusual blend, I can see why Michael Gira was so taken with them that he drafted them in to be his backing group. The great thing, though, was that the group allowed these disparate elements room to breathe and merge seamlessly into one another.

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