At least a few people who were at the Christian Fennesz/David Daniell/Tony Buck collaboration at the Square Room during the Big Ears festival in 2009 consider it one of that weekend’s finest performances. Fennesz and Buck, especially, are genuine superstars among their small but devoted audiences—Fennesz for his subtle, textured soundscapes of processed guitar and Buck as the drummer for the Australian improv trio the Necks. (Daniell, the least known and youngest of the three, performs as a solo guitarist and in the Atlanta-based free-improv group San Agustin.) Fennesz performed three times that weekend—solo, with Daniell/Buck trio, and with Mark Linkous and Scott Minor of Sparklehorse. Buck also played three times, with the Necks, with this trio, and backing horn player Ned Rothenberg.
If you missed the show, or saw it and want to hear it again, the independent Chicago label Thrill Jockey, home to Tortoise, the Fiery Furnaces, and Freakwater, is releasing a live recording of the performance later this summer. Titled simply Knoxville, the four-song EP will be released on Aug. 24. The label press release describes the set as “a darkly atmospheric piece of music that ebbs and flows with remarkable cohesion.”
“Minimalist drum passages scatter over the top of textured layers of guitar and subsumed melodic sequences, eventually giving way to warm beds of evolving, tactile drones,” the release reads. “Sonic rain showers roll into full-blown thunderstorms of effected guitar and pounding drums only to yield a field of shattered electronic and percussive debris. For never having played together (aside from a brief soundcheck), the three retain a remarkable sense of unity while allowing plenty of room for each person to express their individual personality.”
It was the first time the three musicians had ever played together, but the press release suggests that future trio performances may be in the works.