Oren Ambarchi & Robin Fox - Connected
Layers build organically with patience and design tinkering with futuristic non-human sounds and amalgamating the idea with an instinct which harks to your ancestral roots. This experiments with not only sounds and their relationship with one another but also your relationship to music as a listener. It really questions: what are you in this for? What do you expect? Its them posing the questions and not the other way around. You are being led to something unfamiliar and intrusive. There is no passive way to listen to this record.
There is no shortcut to euphoria that is delicately manufactured, but it requires something of you. It requires merely a willingness to participate and invest in the structure. On 'Guitar Duo they are speaking the same language but saying very different things; not even perhaps emotions you could define. Yet, without question it enthrals. With ambiguous turns and subtle shifts that have no vanity or predetermination to be recognised or even acknowledged. Theirs is a cavern littered with menacing, black protrusions that pierce and impale the turbid, liquid air. Even the few moments of silence at the end are a purposeful encouragement towards reflection.
Subtle manipulation of delicate sounds could easily slip towards unrepentant noise, but theres a masterful control of mood and ambience. The sounds linger and reverberate against each other just long enough for you to consider their purpose. The spectral flecks impart upon the underlying quiver something entirely common - yet individually their sounds are vastly compromised. It is, again, for the listener to take as much as they wish from the ambience. Unlike much music today, they arent going to fill in the ambiguities for you – it takes some participation, as I said. But as soon as you begin to delve beneath layers and creep between soundscapes, you begin to discover a world of immense beauty with profound contradictions, and purposeful ones at that. At no point does any element feel needless; and these are elements – a musical periodic table in which Ambarchi & Fox are creating complex compounds for you to observe, consider and translate. This would not be for the faint-willed, and certainly not for anyone wishing to be gratified by intervals which remotely cohere to pop music.
You feel as though they are lovers of sounds both tonal and obscure. And they endeavour to manipulate all forms whether it be innocuous or pleasing (but mostly innocuous). I'm sure there are layers of meaning which I havent deciphered yet, and thats the real gift. That when you return to the record, each time youll be rewarded; each time a different tonal element will speak out to you and consequently demand consideration; with each listen the mannerisms become more familiar and the uninhibited language of Connection resonates more effervescently, as an overseer - an all-knowing creator.
Its a journey that you can visualize in image as much as you embrace it as sound. The otherworldly undertones suggest something unknown but slightly closer than we might expect: something beneath the surface, beautiful yet infinitely powerful. They collate their music into vast images upon which they decorate layers of searing clarity. The sound is swept away to carry on its journey through some other paradox which it will endlessly travel. There is something creationist which feels as infinite as the space in which it inhabits. The energy is incomparable and unconceivable in the same way that the scale of the universe is so awe inspiring and question filled. The best works of art, and this is certainly that, always ask more questions than they answer – Im sure thats paraphrasing someone. But the remarkable; the undefinable; the profound conceptions actually tell us more through what they dont say (or perhaps do, subconsciously). The space for expansion begs a question which you the listener must fill. There is a narrative which somehow you must provide the account of. And more than anything, what you must do; what you can't fail to do is feel what this music is telling you – and that will be as varied as the sounds which encapsulate this dream.