On his 2001 breakthrough Endless Summer, Fennesz unlocked a code that allowed greater access to melody and song structure without abandoning the exploratory aspects of his music. By fragmenting themes into smaller elements than simply verses and chorus he both released trapped energy into less tamed states and gave our ears something deeper to work through. On Black Sea both the free and the slightly civilized swirl together like oil on water. Sombre tones and a muted palette of sounds drawn across wider spaces give the album a colder, wintry feel.
"Maybe halfway through I thought, 'OK, this is going to be a more ambient soundscape,' but if you pick certain tracks like 'Grayscale,' it stands alone as a single track." Fennesz admits drawing some of the inspiration from recent collaborations with experimental pioneers like Keith Rowe and Ryuichi Sakamoto. "It's interesting that you mention those two people; I learned from Sakamoto lately to be really simple sometimes. To play one note and let it be."
Not a final destination, Black Sea is a step along an ongoing path of development that sometimes circles back to visit traditional ideas, including "microphone techniques and good sounding rooms for acoustic instruments... but also in computer music, there's still a lot to find."