‘Behold’ is Oren Ambarchi and Jim O'Rourke’s second collaborative release. With Ambarchi mostly on Guitar and Drums and Jim O'Rourke playing a selection of Synthesizers and piano and both playing various other, sometimes unidentifiable things to create a minimalist, slow burning, repetitive, melodic rhythm.
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- Behold by Oren Ambarchi & Jim O'Rourke
8/10 Jim Staff review, 22 February 2015
This disc features two live duo performances from experimental music superstars O'Rourke and Ambarchi. Both these fellers are about as eclectic as is humanly possible so I wasn't totally sure what to expect. What we get is two longish (about 20 mins apiece) tracks of seemingly semi-improvised, immersive electronica that sounds like its being played by at least 4 people. It starts of slowly with modulating drones and washes of concrete sounds that seem to be channeled from the ether. There's a blissful, komische brightness to the sound as layers of tones begin to coalesce and Ambarchi starts to subtly pin things to an open-ended rhythm. As the track culminates the sound patterns have become more complex with traces of faint melodic structures briefly emerging under the enveloping atmospherics.
The second track is similar but with a somewhat more pastoral feel that definitely touches on krautrock territory, especially O'Rourke's synapse-measuring filtered synth lines that drift across the stereo field. There's also some beautiful ecstatic dulcimer (?) trills woven seamlessly into the luminous electronic fold. The amount of sound sources across the track is pretty mind boggling and there are inspired psychedelic flourishes, like the flanger feedback that sounds like strange birdsong. Again, Ambarchi gradually brings some rhythmic coherence to the music which is underpinned by a very definite chordal structure that ultimately provides a canvas upon which metallic guitar harmonics are smeared with abandon.
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