Release Date: Aug 28, 2012
Record label: Editions Mego
Genre(s): Avant-Garde, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
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.
If Oren Ambarchi lives to create and record, then it's a sign that he is so consistently able to create involving, always enjoyable releases that explore the realms between dude-with-guitar and compositional experimentation and ambience so perfectly. Sagittarian Domain is in many ways one of his most conservative efforts -- not a slam, by any means, but an acknowledgment of how this one-track effort derives from the 1970s era of side-long vinyl efforts as everything from prog rock to fusion jazz to psych heaviness all swirl together. Recorded by himself aside from some string contributions, it's a pleasure from the get-go: a nicely ominous plucked guitar rhythm of a couple of notes is the bed for even more moody feedback wails and fading in/out arcs of feedback.
The best music doesn't always happen by design. There are innumerable stories of musicians stumbling across moments of inspiration while fooling around in the studio, although usually these are happy accidents that merely serve to flesh out a much bigger picture. Australian musician Oren Ambarchi, currently in the midst of an extremely productive run of albums, simply let that kind of impulsive thinking dominate his entire work mode when putting together Sagittarian Domain.
Oren AmbarchiSagittarian Domain[Editions Mego; 2012]By Alex Phillimore; October 5, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetSome albums take a bit of getting used to. Oren Ambarchi's new brooding instrumental Sagittarian Domain, a 33-minute sprawling Krautrock tempest, is one of these albums. It's not accessible by any means, and it isn't immediately gratifying; instead, it's an album that requires investments of time and patience, and one that could easily put a lot of people off due to its high-demand style.
The label description for Oren Ambarchi’s Sagittarian Domain observes that the 33-minute piece, which in fact makes up the entirety of this album, becomes stuck in “a voodoo groove like Faust covering a 70’s cop show theme,” an observation that to a certain extent isn’t all that far off the map. Indeed, the self-contained, pulsating mini-epic that Ambarchi lets sit relatively unencumbered focuses on the forceful and obsessive repetition that has for many overwhelmingly come to characterize the 70s Krautrock movement. While that rigid and robotic aesthetic, dubbed “motorik,” is a distinct creation seeing shape in that period (perhaps most adamantly and brilliantly explored by Neu!), using such a reductive, superficial observation to characterize that movement as a whole is problematic (especially when attached to a band as notoriously diverse, bold, and freewheeling as Faust).
"This is a confusing period of time for you Sagittarius… You are discovering a truly expanded sense of who you really are… There is an element of looking ahead with breathless anticipation and also one of slowly feeling into a more conservative streak that honors the past and its limitations. You are in fact both consolidating the insights that have been coming at you fast and furious lately, and simultaneously launching yourself forward into the world in an entirely different way than with previous growth spurts, so that you are this time on more solid ground. " Henry Selzer, AstroGraph.