Fennesz: Seven Stars EP (Touch)
When the opening chords of “Liminal” begin, you know immediately that this is Christian Fennesz, but you also may assume that is not going to be his most abrasive foray into guitar-based experimentation. If anything, “Liminal” is as sweet a song as he’s released, with synth strings and strummed guitar chords and details augmented with effects and treatments. Sweet as it is, I was happy to hear him veer further away from center with “July,” a track that captures the celestial implications of the release’s name quite well. Its trails of decay and feedback bring to mind the fallout of a shooting star, leaving a trail in the sky and an afterimage on one’s retinas. “Shift” is even more atmospheric, a wash of drones and overtones and harmonics, but closing track “Seven Stars” is truly lovely with its acoustic, clean guitar playing and delicate brushed percussion courtesy of Steven Hess, a dulcet lullaby to round out the release. While the center of the EP indulges Fennesz’s inclination for hazy atmosphere, the melodic bookends make this one of his more conventional releases, tender and striking.