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Thomas Brinkmann & Oren Ambarchi

The Mortimer Trap

(Black Truffle; US: 14 Feb 2012; UK: 13 Feb 2012)

Thomas Brinkmann’s glitchy confrontations and Oren Ambarchi’s cavernous guitar tones converge with unexpected chemistry on The Mortimer Trap, a 78-minute tidal drone of inconspicuous depth.  Like Boris’s Absolutego and countless Nurse with Wound records, when played through anything less enveloping than headphones, it sounds like noise or – worse – nothing.  But a proper setup opens you up to its frequent rewards.  It’s structured as a glacial sine wave, constituted at once by Brinkmann’s uncanny faux-machinery (more subdued than usual) and Ambarchi’s tectonic hums, in which every crest sounds louder than the last, and every valley feels mercilessly short.  The rhythm section doesn’t stand a chance until about halfway, at which point a groove locks in that renders futile any further resistance.  The final act settles when it should escalate, but having awakened your senses at the same time it tests your patience, The Mortimer Trap leaves you gratefully spent.


Benjamin is a fairweather cinephile and closet pop pushover from the affluent swamplands of Princeton, New Jersey. Nestled happily in the moist cocoon of post-graduate work at Northwestern University, he writes on music in his fleeting spare time and should probably be ignored at all costs.

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