Audience of One by Oren Ambarchi - Touch [TO83] FLAC download included with physical items

Audience of One

A 4 track electronic album (53m 51s) — released January 30th 2012 on Touch

On Audience of One, Oren Ambarchi, presents a four-part suite which moves from throbbing minimalism to expansive song-craft to ecstatic free-rock. While his previous solo albums for Touch have exhibited a clear progression towards augmenting and embellishing his signature bass-heavy guitar tones with fragile acoustic instrumentation, Audience of One, while also existing in clear continuity with his previous recordings, opens the next chapter in his catalogue of solo works. Remarkable in its confidence and breadth, but also in the sensuous immediacy of its details, this is the first time a single record has come close to encapsulating Ambarchi's musical personality in its full range and singularity; as, among other guises in addition to the guitar based solo-works he is best known for, electro-acoustic improviser with Keith Rowe, explorer of the outer limits of rock with Sunn O))) and Keiji Haino, and, in the epic yet faithful Ace Frehley cover which closes the record, classic rock enthusiast.

The album features a multitude of different collaborators, who, far from appearing in incidental roles, are integral to the pieces on which they perform: on the opening 'Salt', Ambarchi paints a hypnotic, chiming backdrop for Paul Duncan's (Warm Ghost) vocals, and Joe Talia's virtuoso drumming and driving cymbals are at the core of the epic 'Knots', in which Ambarchi, alongside a chamber arrangement by Eyvind Kang, weaves a net of frequencies and textures with the organic push and pull of a 70s psych jam, the bass response of a doom metal ritual and the psycho-acoustic precision of an Alvin Lucier composition. Where on his previous records, Ambarchi's signature guitar tone was the ever-present bedrock over which other elements of the arrangements sounded, at moments on Audience of One it even disappears entirely, as on the beautiful 'Passage', which, recalling the 70's Italian minimalism of Roberto Cacciapaglia and Giusto Pio, is composed of overlapping tones from Hammond organ and wine glasses, Jessika Kenney's voice, various acoustic instruments, and the delicate amplified textures of Canadian sound-artist Crys Cole. Rather than being provided by any particular sound, the unified experience of listening to Audience of One stems simply from the unique, patient sensibility Ambarchi has developed over twenty years of abstracting musical forms into their barest forms, while somehow always managing to leave their emotive power intact. [Francis Plagne]
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