Boomkat Product Review:
Released in 1997, 'Hotel Para.lel' was Christian Fennesz's debut album, showcasing his pioneering cocktail of laptop-damaged rhythms and guitar noise. Fully remastered, this new reissue is bundled with Fennesz's equally brilliant debut EP "Instrument".
Although later releases like 'Endless Summer' and 'Venice' might be better known, the Austrian producer's early work is, for our money, among the best material he's released. At this stage in his career, he was still chiseling out a niche for himself:, a mixture of dubbed out whirrs and brickwall guitar noise that's closer to Third Eye Foundation or Flying Saucer Attack than anything on the early Mego catalogue. Just check 'Instrument 3', with its rattling inverted D&B top rhythm, syrupy low end and Sonic Youth-esque sampled guitar noise - almost 30 years later it sounds out on its own.
'Hotel Para.lel' shuttled these ideas even further into outer space, and provided the blueprint for Fennesz's later development. Simultaneously harnessing the damaged aesthetic of the Austrian experimental scene and noisy post-rock adjacent bands like Radian, Fennesz managed to find a space that inspired creativity and helped shift an entire sound forward. Early moments like 'Nebenraum' and 'Sz' proved Fennesz's drone cred, but it's tracks like 'Blok M' that feel completely ahead of their time, with deranged house rhythms set against shredded guitar noise. 'Santora' meanwhile subverts darkcore jungle distorted bass by looping similar-sounding noise into a jumpy, evolving beatless pattern.
'Fa' is almost like Wolfgang Voigt turned to 11, with a pulsing minimal kick submerged beneath fathoms of undulating guitar noise that shifts and splashes over the duration, peaking as it almost winks to Thomas Bangalter's filtered French touch sound. Then there are the album's euphoric moments - like 'Uds' and 'Dheli Plaza' - that hint at the Austrian producer's later "Endless Summer" evolution with a subtle mix of harmony and dissonance. There's so much to take in here, and so much variation from track to track - "Hotel Para.lel" is the sound of an artist reveling in his ability to take risks, prompted by fresh technological developments.