Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oren Ambarchi – In the Pendulum’s Embrace

With recent pendular group work that has swung from the high brow [Keith Rowe] to Cro-Magnon browed [Sunn O)))], Australian guitarist Ambarchi returns to center with this new solo release. Following a thread begun with Suspension (2001) and Grapes from the Estate (2004), both on Touch, Pendulum starts as a familiar meditation on tone. The Sunn O))) aesthetic of repetition and vibration suffuses the muted low guitar rumble and sympathetic cymbal shimmers of “Fever, A Warm Poison:” the sound Ambarchi building a monolith in a bell jar. The tone-cloud returns on “Inamorata,” retaining its slow pace and evocative shape until it is slurred into colourful contrails by a bowed drone just past the track’s midpoint. “Trailing Moss In Mystic Glow,” last of the three long pieces, adds lovely meandering acoustic guitar clusters to the mutating electricity; closing off is a wordless vocal counterpoint in the Lichens / Alexander Tucker family. This de-centralization of the guitar simultaneously breaks open new melodic terrain and maintains Ambarchi’s distinctive voice. One senses that if the albums through-line was extended a song might eventually emerge. But if this is the close of a triptych or just another evolutionary step remains to be heard.

Southern Lord

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