Hence is the third collaborative release from Oren Ambarchi and Jim O’Rourke, following on from 2013’s Behold. Building on the refined combination of electronics and acoustic instrumentation found on their previous releases, Hence presents two side long pieces combining synthesizers, heavily effected guitar tones, and tabla rhythms played by special guest U-zhaan. On the first side, an explosive opening chord sends out ripples of sparse, irregularly pulsing guitar and synthesizer tones, aleatorically changing in pitch and jumping around the stereo image. Combined with the tabla, which gradually builds in busyness throughout the side, the piece is like a dream collaboration between David Behrman and the Henry Kaiser of It’s a Wonderful Life, gradually overtaken in its second half by a swarm of lush live electronic sizzle.
The second side begins in a similar area, combining tabla, shimmering Leslie cabinet guitar tones, and a wandering melodic line. Undergoing a series of subtle variations, this initial area eventually builds to a climax of twittering synthesized birdsong reminiscent of Alvin Curran’s 70s work. As on the first side, Ambarchi and O’Rourke craft a piece that is both comforting and subtly strange, as the constantly shifting dynamics and changes of focus (which recall the flow of improvised music) refuse to allow the music to settle into any one moment for too long or to build in too linear a fashion. Combining influences from post-minimalism, the pioneers of live electronics, and eastern music into a unique sound world, Hence is a seductive work from two of the most singular sensibilities in contemporary music.
released November 23, 2018
Oren Ambarchi - guitars etc
Jim O'Rourke - synths etc
U-zhaan - tabla
Recorded & Mixed at Steamroom, Tokyo 2016
Additional recording at SuperDeluxe, Tokyo, Nov 10, 2015 by Masahide Ando
Cut by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin, September 2017
Photos by Traianos Pakioufakis
Sleeve/type design by Stephen O'Malley
Oren Ambarchi is a composer and multi-instrumentalist with longstanding interests in transcending conventional instrumental
approaches. His work focuses mainly on the exploration of the guitar, "re-routing the instrument into a zone of alien abstraction where it’s no longer easily identifiable as itself. Instead, it’s a laboratory for extended sonic investigation". (The Wire, UK)....more
The music of the spheres...I want quarks and pulsars to sound like this...has Jim O'Rourke tapped into the cosmos? Are these drones and pulses and overtones that steadily accumulate and multiply how the universe sounds if we could remove the vacuum? Perhaps these pieces connect the inner and outer spaces of our existence and the ineffable gulf between them...