Joel Stern

Stitch

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Recorded over a seven-month period, this debut album by the London-based duo of Joel Stern and Anthony Guerra takes a cue from Christian Fennesz's brand of dreamy electric guitar meshed in with noisy electronics. But a clone this is not: Stern and Guerra explore their own territory. In particular, they rely heavily on field recordings that seep in, treated, looped or left intact. They provide an almost constant background and tie together the nine untitled pieces into a hour-long suite. Stitch is more than a suitable title, it describes how roughly the tracks are sequenced, but the changes are not so abrupt and they keep you trapped inside the artists' sound world. Even in its most abstract, electronics-driven moments, the music keeps a door open on melody and harmony. The closing 19-minute track provides the disc's highlight. Here the guitar becomes highly tonal, first slowly laying down a post-rockish motif and later reappearing in a sped-up incarnation as the gritty electronic textures pull it underwater. It is done with art and soul, in a much warmer way than many of the Fennesz knock-offs that followed the release of Endless Summer.

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