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At the Sound of the Tone, You Will Hear Everything

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by Alex V. Cook, Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: September, 2005
It may not rock that much, but it makes up for it with its massive roll.
by Alex V. Cook, Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: September, 2005
It may not rock that much, but it makes up for it with its massive roll.

Oren Ambarchi
Triste
(Southern Lord)

I have heard some music theorists declare that all things in the world are music, being music is sound is vibrations of particles and everything is but an amalgam of quivering quarks and whatsits spinning in tiny bizarre vast orbits in their own microcosmos. Its a nice concept, but I think I would have to be a little more stoned than I am on a persistent basis to really buy into it. Its why no-one can really nail down a Theory of Everything, because people want to put Everything in terms of their own interest. Given enough bong hits, Mario Batalli will cough out a mindblower that Everything is penne and meatballs, a concept I'd be willing to explore as well, but I digress. What I'm saying is that a Theory of Everything is really a Theory of Me in thin disguise.

One guy that brings some credence to the concept that music/sound is at our root nuclear makeup is Australian guitar explorer Oren Ambarchi, who coaxes out the mysteries of the universe verrrrrrrrrrry slowly in his album Triste. The instrument in his hands turns into a resonator on which stray alpha waves and lost cosmic quasar pulses take sentient form in the two long form pieces that comprise the album. The sounds slowly go from low end somber pulsating sub-harmonies into an array of digital cicadas to solar flares directly attacking his humbuckers over the 2 part piece. It reminds me of earlier electronic explorations like the less pop end of Kraftwerk and even the surprisingly abrasive early album Beaubourg by later wine hawker Vangelis but there is a contemporary edge to his work. This is not academic Milton Babbitt beeps and blurbles but minimalism for the more exploratory crowd. It may not rock that much, but it makes up for it with its massive roll.

Tacked on this reissue of this long out of print album are two remixes by Tom Recchion, cheekily dubbed "Triste pt.1 [Remake}" and "Triste pt.2 {Remodel]" (after the greatest song Roxy Music ever produced) that temper but not tamper with Oren's raw power emissions, molding them into slightly more song-like ambient arrangements of shimmering light, but keeps enough of the meteoric resolve of the source material to avoid being some lackluster trance Pro-Tools noodle bowl or Brian Eno rehash. I don't think they have the same philosophical rigor or jagged expressionism of the original tracks, but they are still powerful works unto themselves, but their complexity (especially the slight percussion on "[Remake]" definitely add to the overall building effect of the album.

In sum, this no sleppytime ambiance here, this is the hum of the cosmos, the sing-song of the soul, the quivering quaver of our very selves. If you are one that likes to gaze out on the emptiness of sun-bleached playa of the human condition this CD will be a welcome find.

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Alex V. Cook
Music Editor

Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com

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