9/10 Ant Staff review, 19 October 2012
Oren Ambarchi has released countless records this year, both solo and collaborative works. He appears to be unstoppable at the moment and has unleashed some real gems. Fellow upsidedown land cohort Robin Fox is also a great artist in his own right. A master of the lazer whom has had a coupla blinders with Anthony Pateras and a stonking solo album on Editions Mego. They’ve both sort of appeared on the same records before; Oren had a picture of The Fox on the cover of a 7” single and they both also contributed to the excellent ‘Wiredlab Open Day’ album on Taiga. However as far as I’m aware they’ve never collaborated in this way before, at least not on record.
What these Australian sound artists have done is truly remarkable. They apparently drunk three cases of Castlemaine XXXX and kidnapped some kangaroos. They then smothered the ‘roos in Vegemite, attached contact mic’s to their flailing furry bodies and proceeded to beat ten shades of shit out of them with humongous didgeredoos while the joey’s looked in in horror. The resulting audio is fascinating.... O...erm hang on... Wrong record, that’s Schimpfuch Gruppe Go Down Under.
'Connected’ was infact composed as a soundtrack to a dance production by Chunky Move and begins with ‘Standing Mandala’ which eases in with a gentle pulse and bleep which forms the heartbeat of the track, over which Ambarchi gently strums some delicate and restrained hypnotic guitar to mesmerising effect.
‘Game Of Two’ has Fox utilizing cymbals and Ambarchi uses guitars and bass to lay down considered and spacious tones which are allowed to resonate, levitate and fade away. The overall feeling is most pleasant. ‘Connected’ consitss of guitars, crotales, bells, percussion and computer and really delves into microtanal territory with tibetan singing bowl like drones and pretty bell tinkles. The mood recalls that of Ambarchi’s ambiet gutar classic ’Grapes From The Estate’.
‘Trios’ is the piece where Fox’s contributions are most immediately apparent with high frequencies, electronic crackles, icy atmospherics and glitched up hyper-pulses that sound like amplified insect wings. It builds into a dense and intense squiggly computer music/ noise piece. Quite possibly my personal highlight of the album.
Finally for ‘Invigilation’ Oren puts down the guitar and sits at an organ while Fox is still firmly glued to his computer. What transpires are computer processed harmonically rich organ drones that reach some truly celestial heights. A fabulous ending to a great record. Even out of the context of its intended purpose (soundtrack for dance) it’s a thoroughly engaging listen from beginning to end. Top notch!
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- Connected by Oren Ambarchi & Robin Fox
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