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Limited to just 500 copies and already sold out at source, this latest edition from the Tapeworm cassette label is likely to be the most feverishly sought after to date. One of experimental electronic music's biggest names, Christian Fennesz has collected his library of samples (dating between 1989 and 1996) made for his old Ensoniq EPS-16 Plus and ASR-10 samplers. It probably goes without saying, but this is an amazing hour or so of music to trawl through. Any long-term fans of Fennesz's music will no doubt be enormously excited by the prospect of sifting through these fragmentary, sketched curiosities; you'll hear one or two snippets you'll recognise too, with some moments even presenting early prototypical snatches of Endless Summer (for instance, around eight minutes into the first side you might catch a fragment of 'A Year In A Minute'). Each side flows like a half-hour stream of disconnected miniatures, with a range of material that shifts between the kind of serrated noise that characterised his early Mego output, sketched guitar pieces, orchestral textures, piano interludes, fearsome drones and even some unexpected beat loops lifted from pop music. Incredibly, it still all sounds very specifically like Fennesz. You get the impression that you could lock this man up for a fortnight with a fourtrack recorder and a tuba, and the outcome would still exhibit the same set of sonic hallmarks that single out this Austrian's compositions and sound designs from those of his peers. Szampler presents a revelatory listening experience for the established Fennesz fan and by any measure represents a great set of from an artist who's clearly been ahead of his time for a good while now. Get one while you still can...
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