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Album Review

This album documents a one-off live collaboration between three men who've been exploring the fringes of rock and the avant-garde for decades. Oren Ambarchi is a New Zealand-based guitarist whose work on his own has moved from raw noise to much more subdued "lowercase improv," but who has also brought his mastery of drones and overtones to recording sessions and live gigs with Sunn 0))), among others; Jim O'Rourke has worked solo, collaborated with dozens of avant-garde and improv musicians, and was a member of Gastr del Sol, Illusion of Safety, and Sonic Youth; while Keiji Haino is one of the most revered performers in the Japanese noise underground, both as a solo artist and leader of the post-psychedelic rock band Fushitsusha. This performance features none of the harsh aggression of Haino's solo guitar works (he doesn't pick up the axe at all, limiting himself to keyboards and keening vocals), focusing for its first, 25-minute track on slowly building drones with occasional crunching and scraping sounds reminiscent of Einstürzende Neubauten. The second track, a three-minute interlude, finds Haino singing over what sounds like a music box or a treated piano and some sort of oscillating noise. The last track, over a half hour in length, is the quietest of all, nearly silent for much of its first eight minutes save for some more wordless vocals from Haino; then a whistle begins, and things gradually build. There's another clattering industrial-ish section in the middle, and then a slow, nearly ten-minute fade. This is a compelling, hypnotic performance, but it may surprise listeners coming to it expecting Keiji Haino in full roar.


Born: 1969 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australi

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Oren Ambarchi started as a free jazz drummer, went through a Japanoise phase, and ended up cutting himself a place under the avant-garde sun as a lowercase guitarist in the early 2000s, pushing his instrument into territories similar to the ones explored by contemporaries Rafael Toral and Kevin Drumm. His releases on Tzadik, Touch, and Staubgold attracted international interest, but he remained in his home country, working hard at developing a local scene with his...
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Tima Formosa, Oren Ambarchi
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