Oren Ambarchi, a man seemingly still in the midst of a years-long artistic peak, presents a new solo album on Editions Mego, although of course this serial collaborator also showcases others in his own work. On Simian Angel, he has Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista join him, with fabulous effect. Ambarchi weaves rich and complex abstracted guitar around the percussion, also at points using piano. Another vital Ambarchi statement.
Vinyl LP £20.75 EMEGO264
LP on Editions Mego. Cut by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin. Photography by Traianos Pakioufakis and design by Lasse Marhaug.
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On the liner notes to 'Simian Angel', Oren Ambarchi is listed as playing "guitar & whatnot". I think this does a good job of conveying the multi-textured nature of this album. It's a kaleidoscopic collection of ambient noises, textures, and... whatnot. Made up of two longform pieces, 'Simian Angel' always holds your attention, though doesn't demand it. It conforms to Eno's now legendary description of ambient music, that it should be "as ignorable as it is interesting".
It's great to hear the progression of Ambarchi's sound. 2016 and 2012 saw the release of his krautrock opuses, 'Sagittarian Domain' (what is it with psych and the sagittarius?) and 'Hubris', and while we're always happy to hear more chunky bangers I'm glad Ambarchi has gone down a more cerebral route on 'Simian Angel'. It's a record that sounds mature.
An interesting element of this record is Cyro Baptista, the percussionist that Ambarchi brought in for the album. Baptista adds lots of traditional Brazilian rhythms and textures that almost sit at odds with the music, if it didn't sound so right. Lots of interesting juxtapositions are thrown up by the introduction of a shaker, quite an immediate instrument, into these ambient pieces.
'Simian Dream' is a sign that Ambarchi shows no sign of letting up. Hopefully he'll continue to create music and whatnot for many years to come.
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