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Oren Ambarchi — Quixotism

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For the 47-minute Quixotism, Australian experimentalist OREN AMBARCHI recorded bits and pieces in different places all over the world over the span of two years. It’s almost unfair to categorize this as a solo work. While the piece is undoubtedly Ambarchi’s and his contributions on guitar and percussion are absolutely essential, the work features huge contributions by others, most notably THOMAS BRINKMANN, whose pulsing, rhythmic electronics are the one constant in this slowly evolving long-form work. The record also features the very talented EYVIND KANG on viola, JIM O’ROURKE on synths and engineering duties, an entire Icelandic orchestra, and the Japanese tabla player U-ZHAAN, as well as other collaborators on drums, electronics, contact mics, and piano.

Throw in some design work by STEPHEN O’MALLEY and vinyl cutting by RASHAD BECKER and Quixotism is a veritable who’s who of contemporary experimental music. Luckily, these disparate collaborators and separate sessions are so masterfully interwoven by Ambarchi that the album still manages to sound like a single recording, which may be its most impressive quality.

This percussive and dynamic work is presented in five parts. Its first four movements are patient and understated, reaching a particularly spartan arrangement in its fourth section before the 14-minute closer explodes in a crescendo that is Ambarchi’s most ambitious and breathtaking composition to date. While indebted to techno in its formalism and emphasis on percussion, Quixotism has a delicacy and intimacy to it which can often be lost with that style’s more mechanical nature. Here, the bump and thrum of the dance floor is married to influence from minimalist and avant-garde classical music to create something fresh and vibrant. The result is an album that is far more than the sum of its parts.

Quixotism is available now from Editions Mego.

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