It would be odd to talk about Australian musician Oren Ambarchi as being famous for a particular work, but to the extent that he’s known it’s mostly for his early processed guitar albums like 2002’s Suspension or hs work with SunnO))). He’s been busy in recent years with collaborative works such as SunnO))) and everything that’s spun out of that, but the new Sagittarian Domain is an excellent example of what Ambarchi can do almost entirely working on his own. Some brief violin, viola, and cello work during the coda of Sagittarian Domain aside, the 33:36 of this single-track, Krautrock-leaning album is all Ambarchi.
Given that Ambarchi sometimes gets pigeonholed as an ambient musician despite his wide-ranging output, the results might surprise you. Much of Sagittarian Domain is a kind of slow-motion motorik groove, echoed drums and insistent bass pulse providing a ground over which Ambarchi layers slowly evolving curls and spikes of feedback and other elements. The music is hypnotic, kind of a like a rougher-edged version of what his countrymen the Necks do so well. Then near the end the strings start keening along with the feedback, before taking over the track/album for the last five minutes in a gorgeous series of dying falls. It’s a lovely and unexpected choice to end Ambarchi’s roughly propulsive groove. Like the rest of the album, it might not be what you’re expecting from the man, but it undeniably works.
// Notes from the Road
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