Published Oct 28, 2016Although the title of Oren Ambarchi's latest full-length is playfully tongue-in-cheek, it nonetheless takes a certain level of self-confidence and pomposity to properly pull off such an unlikely combination of sound. Although the Australian musician is a serial collaborator himself, frequently appearing on other artists' works (including Sunn O))), Jim O'Rourke and Merzbow), Ambarchi brings in a seemingly unmanageable number of guests for Hubris.
While he's been exploring techno and motorik rhythms over his past few releases, on "Hubris 1," the opening track on this three-song/40-minute LP, Ambarchi delves into the recently en vogue world of '80s new wave. While most modern musicians look towards the Drive or Stranger Things soundtrack for neon-lit cues, Ambarchi — with help with O'Rourke, Konrad Sprenger and Mark Fell — employs a groove that's much more subtle and hypnotic, playing almost solely off muted guitar strums and thinly processed drum beats.
"Hubris 2" clocks in at just under two minutes, and finds Ambarchi meditating over a simple guitar phrase suitable for frequent collaborator Christian Fennesz. Seventeen-minute closer "Hubris 3" brings in a solid line-up of Arto Lindsay, Ricardo Villalobos, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Will Guthrie and Joe Talia to lay down a bubbling clash of genres, as fusion jazz meets Krautrock, skronk and electronic music, sounding bloated or busy only for aesthetics' sake.
On Hubris, Oren Ambarchi displays the confidence to allow a jumble of musicians and sounds to come off like a beautifully orchestrated, high-concept piece. (Editions Mego)