Label: Thrill Jockey Release Date 23/08/10 Link: Label Website Buy: Amazon My first introduction to Fennesz was at a festival, it was raining, I was miserable and he was obscured by a big box completely lost on a huge stage, in a huge field. Thoughtful, pondering ambient electronic music is not designed for a situation such as this, and I hated him. Later investigation into his work showed that I had been wrong with my initial interpretation, finding tuneful but subtle works. Anyway, Fennesz has now released an album with David Daniell and Tony Buck. Fennesz is perhaps the only member of the trio who is a big name in his own right, known for his own music, but it is not just his touch and style that is felt here. The three have clearly worked together on Knoxville intimately, probing each other for strengths, and weaknesses and playing off each other. The music definitely feels more epic and expeditionary then the earlier work of the collaborators. Seemingly arbitrarily named opening track 'Unuberwindbare Wande' is a strong beginning, jangling slowly into life, building up slowing to a groaning conclusion. It's maybe not really the three sitting in a room jamming together, but it feels like it. It feels ramshackle in structure, clobbered together by three very creative minds. Not overproduced, or too thought out but wide eyed and playful. Knoxville climbs to shattering crescendos, but never feels forceful or powerful. It's not forward with it's strength, blurting it's qualities right out into the open but instead subtly nudges them into your ear space. Songs, and their mountainous highs, clatter into life stuttering upwards and onwards. Knoxville has no staggering highs that will make you jump out of your seat and notice it, but what it does has is hidden beauty. It does build up to huge crescendos but they don't really feel exciting, or like they could break at any minute. Knoxville always feels natural and completely organic in it's progression. It doesn't need to be forceful or outwardly brilliant, it happy clatters along in it's own understated way. There is perhaps a somewhat noticeable lack of variety between songs, the distinctions in the track list are somewhat unnecessary and the album could easily be one long song. Don't come to this if you are wanting a work of any variety. Knoxville does have it's crescendos but they can easily fade away into the background, most of the album trundles along in the background, somewhat unnoticed. It's simply very good ambient music, something that could easily soundtrack a slightly eclectic dinner party, but could also be listened to by tired ears that just want to zone out. It certainly has it's moments, and despite it's continuous pleasantness, every so often I'll notice it and think “this is really quite good”. Photobucket