Oren Ambarchi In The Pendulum's Embrace

With recent group work that has swung from the high brow (Keith Rowe) to Cro-Magnon browed (Sunn O)))), Australian guitarist Ambarchi returns to the forefront with this new solo release. Following a thread begun with Suspension (2001) and Grapes from the Estate (2004), both on Touch, Pendulum starts as a familiar meditation on tone. The Sunn O))) aesthetic of repetition and vibration suffuses the muted low guitar rumble and sympathetic cymbal shimmers of "Fever, A Warm Poison”; it’s the sound of Ambarchi building a monolith in a bell jar. The tone cloud returns on "Inamorata,” which retains its slow pace and evocative shape until it’s slurred into colourful contrails by a bowed drone just past the track’s midpoint. "Trailing Moss In Mystic Glow,” the last of the three long pieces, adds lovely meandering acoustic guitar clusters to the mutating electricity, closing off is a wordless vocal counterpoint in the Lichens/Alexander Tucker family. This decentralisation of the guitar simultaneously breaks open new melodic terrain and maintains Ambarchi’s distinctive voice. One senses that if the album’s through line was extended, a song might eventually emerge. But whether or not this is the closing of a triptych or just another evolutionary step remains to be heard. (Southern Lord)