Release Date: Mar 2, 2015
Record label: Editions Mego
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
behold: during spring break of my junior year of college, my mother and i visited my aunt in Istanbul, where she teaches middle school English. one day, we were ambling about an old, hilly, cobblestone-encrusted neighborhood right before afternoon prayer time. it was so eerily quiet, we could hear our arhythmic footsteps boom as we crab-stepped uneven terrain in an alley between rows of modest homes and mosques.
Oren Ambarchi is usually described as a guitarist but before 1998's Stacte, his solo debut, he was a drummer. And if early records like Suspension or Reconnaissance, with Martin Ng, tended to fixate on liquid oscillations and eyedropper drones, recent releases are putting his rhythmic sensibility front and center. Ambarchi's 2012 album Sagittarian Domain was propelled by an elliptical funk groove that moved between krautrock and post-punk.
The metaphor of vision suggested by the title Behold serves as a useful way with which to consider this album's exploitation of the spaces between obscurity and accessibility. Over the course of two lengthy tracks, experimental mainstays Ambarchi and O'Rourke present a masterful exposition in control; concealing and foregrounding different sounds, pitching moments of abstraction against the delayed revelation of tangible musical ideas, bringing different textural, tonal and rhythmic themes in and out of focus. Ambarchi, usually known for his exploratory guitar-mangling, largely limits himself to the drum kit on both tracks.