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Ambarchi/O'Rourke/Haino

Tima Formosa

(Black Truffle; US: 13 Apr 2010; UK: 5 Apr 2010)

Not for the meek

The songs on the experimental album Tima Formosa are simply called “Tima Formosa 1”, “Tima Formosa 2”, and “Tima Formosa 3”. The first cut is a 25-minute piece that features Oren Ambarchi’s droning and feedback-driven electric guitar, repetitive keyboard effects, and ambient guitar courtesy of Jim O’Rourke, and haunting vocal screeches and chants in addition to the manic drumming of Keiji Haino. The effect resembles the soundtrack to a noir horror movie. The less-than-4-minute-long piece that follows features the sound of chimes in the forefront, or perhaps it is O’Rourke on a children’s toy piano, to create a playful atmosphere. There is still something sinister in Haino’s vocals that keeps the listener on edge. The 31-plus minute final track moves at a faster tempo than the first two, and seems to pick up steam as it moves along. The musicians add more and more instrumentation as the song builds in intensity, with squeals and bumps emerging at random points and in increasing frequency until suddenly, things slow down and fade for the last five minutes. This abrasive music is not for the meek. The music works to create a trance-like condition in the minds of its audiences, and pop fans are sure to find it boring, but there is much more going on than initially meets the ears.

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Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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