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Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2003




The Austrian guitarist Christian Fennesz has made a name for himself in the rarefied worlds of ambient and avant-garde electronica with what could be called acoustic music, a preference that prompted one Japanese writer to describe his art as "laptop folk." Fennesz retains the clarity of his acoustic six-string even as he processes it through layers of effects and augments it with nonrhythmic percussion sounds.

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Fennesz may be more famous as a collaborator, most recently with noise artist Peter "Pita" Rehberg and indie gadfly Jim O'Rourke in the electronica "supergroup" Fenn O'Berg, one of the foremost practitioners of what's called laptop improv. As with all the European electronica musicians who make their livings out of their Powerbooks, Fenn O'Berg's music is characterized more by texture than tone, but they strive for the big effect, and, like a good jam band, work toward the heavy-duty climax.

By himself, Fennesz tends toward a darker, denser sound. As the title suggests, his most recent solo album, "Endless Summer," takes off from pop music. But even when Fennesz works with sunny melodies, he can't resist picking them apart and washing them all in a bath of clicks and weird aural effluvia. If this is electronica's answer to the Beach Boys, as some critics have suggested, it's the Beach Boys being tortured in one of William Burroughs' feverish dreams.

Joining Fennesz for a single night of electronic improv will be the Australian minimalist guitarist Oren Armbachi and a special collaborative project featuring Canadian noisemeisters Numb and environmental moodmaker Christophe Charles.

Fennesz: Feb. 9 at 7 p.m., Shibuya Nest, (03) 3462-4420. Tickets are 3,000 yen in advance, 3,500 yen at the door. Call Headz for more information at (03) 3770-5721.

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