Magic & Return


Editions Mego presents legendary supergroup Fenn O'Berg (Christian Fennesz, Jim O'Rourke and Peter Rehberg) and the double CD reissue of The Magic Sound Of Fenn O'Berg and The Return Of Fenn O'Berg, originally released in 1999 and 2002. Fenn O'Berg first hit the scene after a surprise appearance at the Nickelsdorf Festival in 1997. Throughout 1998 and 1999, the trio toured extensively throughout Austria, Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain, as well as shows in North America and Japan. The highlights of these trips were presented on The Magic Sound Of Fenn O'Berg. Although they were not the first group to utilize mainly mobile computing devices, they were the first to bring such a set up to venues that would not normally book or even be interested in such things. This resulted in some very polarized reactions from both audience and promoters alike. In many instances the group needed to "escape" the city they played. In Rome, Jim O'Rourke was even given an acoustic guitar and more or less forced to play a short acoustic set before anyone could leave the building. Despite all of this, there was a generally positive response, with some shows going down as local legend. However, it's worth considering that the technology at the time didn't offer the convenient "plug and play" of current operating systems and applications. This, of course, led to a set of recordings like no other. Not only was the rule book ripped up, but the tour book as well. Each show became an improvised, twisted journey through the various strands of electronic music -- where popular music sources (some more obvious than others) clashed with more academic tricks, but never sounding like being part of either. By 2002, the group's live output was drastically reduced due to all three members' schedules moving in different directions. Only two performances were committed that year, and although the sound was more polished and one could even suggest that "they knew what they were doing," their polarizing effect was still there. One show was a sold-out, over-enthusiastic Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the other a miserable "count them on one hand" turnout at a jazz club in Vienna. Edited highlights of these shows made up The Return Of Fenn O'Berg. Since then, the trio has been on a constant pause, but are planning to resurface with a brand-new album in 2010. This reissue is repackaged with new artwork by Tina Frank, and contains two bonus tracks from the same period. This is unmatched improvised computer music that simply defined a whole genre.