Fessenden: v1.1
Other Electricities

v1.1 documents the first release of studio-recorded material by Fessenden, the Chicago/New York-based electroacoustic trio comprised by Joshua Convey (bass, electronics), Stephen Fiehn (guitar, electronics), and Steven Hess (drums, percussion, vibes, electronics). In operation since 2004, Fessenden traffics in a restrained and atmospheric type of densely textured dronescaping that generally eschews dissonance and ear-splitting dynamic extremes. Even flow doesn't mean uneventful, however, and there's ample activity in the album's five pieces, especially “Mid-Swing” which escalates to a churning, guitar-laced broil over the course of its ten-minute duration, and “Peak V/Z*sin,” which combusts into a volcanic churn after a two-minute intro of near-silence.

Opener “Not Sleeping, Just Resting” sets the tone with a lulling drone dense with industrial clatter and flowing loops. “Diode” seems closer in spirit to an improv jam as its agitated interplay between guitars, bass throbs, and percussion gradually changes to a still rapid but quieter flow of ride cymbals, guitar effects, and bass tones. Dominated by gravelly, distorted thrum, “A Walk in the Park” adheres more to the industrial drone template, though cymbal shadings shift it away somewhat. While neither genre-advancing nor genre-defying, v1.1 remains a more than credible exercise in electroacoustic dronescaping.

February 2008