...chiming guitars and blurred electric piano chords hover above intricate networks of...
Peter Marsh 2002
While much contemporary electronica seems to be disappearing up its own digital fundament in a quest to push the sonic envelope as far as possible, there are still those around who aren't afraid to make music that can actually be listened to rather than endured. Such a pair are Joshua Eustis and Charles Cooper, aka Telefon Tel Aviv, who have produced a blissful and unashamedly beautiful record that still manages a passing nod to the (ahem) IDM massive.
Fahrenheit Fair Enough straddles post rock, electronica and even jazz (and as such pretty much reflects the concerns of Hefty Records); chiming guitars and blurred electric piano chords hover above intricate networks of glitches and analogue beats, glued together by warm, sinuous electric bass lines. Imagine Harold Budd and Vini Reilly jamming with Pole on chords donated by Joe Zawinul, and you might be someway there. Like Scott Herren's Savaath + Savalas project (also on Hefty), Telefon Tel Aviv blur the lines between what's played and what's placed, managing a wealth of detail but allowing acres of space between the instruments.
Apparently the pair came together through a shared love of 'innovative classical music' and while that's not maybe immediately apparent, there is a linear progression to the pieces here that transcend the usual piling up and subtraction that passes for structure in much electronica. There's not a weak moment on the album - from the sunkissed chords of the title track to the Autechre/Lonnie Liston Smith crossover "ttv", through to the soft focus techno squelch of "whats the use of feet if you haven't got legs ?", which piles up distressed bleeps and whirrs akin to the sound of a malfunctioning modem against deliberate, Eno-esque piano chording. Gorgeous yet completely devoid of cliché, Fahrenheit Fair Enough is a quiet, unpretentious beauty of a record. Treat yourself.