Fennesz at the Empty Bottle

Fennesz (a.k.a. Austrian musician Christian Fennesz) doesn’t tour in the U.S. all that often, so his concert last Thursday (Sept. 23) at the Empty Bottle was something of an event for his local fans. Performing solo for most of the set, Fennesz used guitar and laptop to sculpt intricate waves of sound. For the encore he was joined by Chicago guitarist David Daniell and drummer Frank Rosaly, who added more textures to the sonic art. It was almost but not quite a reunion of the concert I saw at the 2009 Big Ears Music Festival in Knoxville, Tenn., featuring improvised music by Fennesz, Daniell and drummer Tony Buck of the Necks. Thrill Jockey recently released an excellent recording of that concert under the title Knoxville.

Keeping with the theme of instrumental drone and ambient music, the Sept. 23 show also featured opening sets by Daniell and Rosaly (who were in great form) and the Chicago group Male. (Rosaly played with them, too, making him the constant element in all three sets.)