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Recorded on February 7th, 2009, at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, the aptly named Knoxville, documents the first meeting of three of the most recognized players in experimental music. Christian Fennesz (guitar and electronics), David Daniell (guitar), and Tony Buck (drums) were brought together and encouraged to collaborate by the festival, and used the opportunity to channel their collective energies into a darkly atmospheric piece of music that ebbs and flows with remarkable cohesion. Minimalist drum passages scatter over the top of textured layers of guitar and subsumed melodic sequences, eventually giving way to warm beds of evolving, tactile drones. Sonic rain showers roll into full-blown thunderstorms of effected guitar and pounding drums only to yield a field of shattered electronic and percussive debris. For never having played together (aside from a brief soundcheck), the three retain a remarkable sense of unity while allowing plenty of room for each person to express their individual personality.
Christian Fennesz is known for creating his own intricate musical world and for his impeccable work in crafting beautiful compositions for guitar. Somewhere between concrete music, classical and ambient sounds, he stretches musical resources and effects to create melodies and atmospheres that fuse classical and orchestral concepts with conceptual musical research and complex digital structures, resulting in dense multilayered sheets of sound underpinned by a strong melodic sensibility. He has recorded and performed with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Keith Rowe, David Sylvian, Sparklehorse, Mike Patton and many others. Fennesz has also worked for nearly a decade alongside Peter Rehberg and Jim O’Rourke in the improvisational trio Fenn O’Berg.
David Daniell recently recorded his Thrill Jockey debut Sycamore with Douglas McCombs of Tortoise. As a duo, the two create a delicate tapestry of spacious and ethereal guitar lines woven into abstract, slow-burning and multilayered textural improvisations. The sounds blend and overlap to create richly faceted and thickly psychedelic passages, unveiling new layers of detail with each and every listen. Over the years, Daniell has collaborated with many notable musicians, including Loren Connors, Rhys Chatham, Tim Barnes, Jeph Jerman, Thurston Moore, Greg Davis, and Jonathan Kane, as well as releasing numerous albums under his own name and with his band San Agustin on labels such as Table of the Elements, Family Vineyard, and Antiopic.
Born in Sydney, Tony Buck is regarded as one of Australia’s most creative and adventurous exports, with vast experience across the globe. He is best known as the drummer for the award-winning piano/bass/drums trio The Necks, with fifteen albums over their 20-year history. The Necks work in extended forms featuring lengthy pieces which slowly unravel in the most mesmerizing fashion, founded in a confluence of avant-garde, minimalist, jazz and ambient approaches. Early in his musical life, after having graduated from the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, he became very involved in the jazz scene in Australia, often touring with visiting international artists such as Vincent Herring, Branford Marsalis and Ernie Watts. Tony has played, toured or recorded with, among others, Otomo Yoshihide, John Zorn, Tom Cora, Haino, The Ex, Peter Brotzmann, Han Bennink, and Wayne Horvitz.