#17: Oren Ambarchi - 'Hubris'
Hear "Hubris Part 3"
After a whole bunch of heavy metal, we are finally finding another genre on my top 25 at #17! Wait, what? There are non-rock forms of music?? Well, yes, yes there are. And they are more meditative and neutral usually. Like an abstract painting, drones and experimentation do not yield obvious results.
There is no mythology or heroic characters involved usually, just cool sounds a bit unhinged from reality. A futuristic sound beyond rocking out sometimes. While Oren Ambarchi uses the rock music cliched instrument of electric guitar, he makes it sound... different.
The pitch bends are either more subtle or more extreme; the feedback and noises allowed to ring out even more; more and more affectations layered upon the sound. This is not virtuosic playing, it is more like unleashing the instrument and allowing it to be more itself.
I have been following Ambarchi for a few years now. Prior, my favorite thing was his collaboration with Stephen O'Malley: 'Shade Themes from Kairos'. This is how I found out about Oren Ambarchi. His attention to tone and detail is hard to match. That and the wide variety of sounds and distortions he produces from his guitar and table full of effects and dials makes him a more expansive musician than most.
While 'Shade Themes' was more focused on tones and drones, Ambarchi's newer work is very rhythmic, adding another dimension to what was more of an ambient music paradigm. Harmonics are allowed to be free and frolic. Even at its most distorted the guitars are impeccably clear. And the rhythms on top of all of this are top notch.
Track one enters the stage as a 20 minute plus table setter. I am reminded of Phillip Glass in an obvious way, in that there is a study in repetition going on here. And also clarity. On this lengthy opener the listener becomes very acquainted with the most straightforward beat on the album and the track lulls the listener into a state of near-captivity (if it weren't just so long to let the mind wander I suppose).
Then the 2nd movement arrives and is gone in a few blinks of the eyelashes. Its main purpose is to introduce something totally different rhythmically, and to sound more like a digestible song format... accept that it is not even as long as a pop song. This in effect resets the whole thing so that you can hear "Hubris Part 3" (linked to above).
The ending track is somewhere in between the first two, mimicking the lengthy repetition of Part 1, but absorbing the more complex rhythmics of Part 2. The closing track is my favorite part of the album, and makes the whole thing, whole I guess. The other part beyond the interesting goings on with the musics, this thing is produced to sound fantastic. It is absolute ear candy and highly recommended.