Fennesz/Sakamoto Cendre

The impetus behind Cendre, the new full-length studio session between Japanese classical pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto and Austrian glitch guitar impresario Christian Fennesz, is 2005’s Sala Santa Cecilia, the 20-minute live EP recorded at an Italian festival. Ever since, a repeat performance has been highly anticipated and, with Cendre, those who’ve been waiting for these two to release more material together can breathe a sigh of relief because Cendre is as good, if not better, than the EP that preceded it. Of course, Fennesz fans should approach this album with a grain of salt. Much like Ryuichi Sakamoto’s collaborations with Carsten Nicolai, Cendre is very much a classical piano album that has Fennesz filling out the background with ambient guitarscapes. And, to his credit, Sakamoto has been more willing than any other established classical composer (where are you, Philip Glass?) to engage the new generation of electronic classicists. The results have revitalised his career and introduced his catalogue to an entirely new demographic. That said, Fennesz fans will find here the musician’s warmest and most approachable work to date since Endless Summer, even though it does not constitute his most ambitious. An inspiring album, Cendre is filled with beautiful passages, even though it’s not as inspired a collaboration as some would have hoped. (Touch)