OREN AMBARCHI / ELI KESZLER – Alps

Dancing Wayang

Oren Ambarchi: guitar; Eli Keszler: percussion

Alps is a record that stands firm against protocols, including those existing (yes, they do) in the universe of all-encompassing improvisation. It pairs extrusive talents whose activities uncover sonic correspondences between the underlying perils of a potentially detonative system and the tatters of enthusiastic irresponsibleness dispersed all over the ground after the fire has ceased to burn.

The two sides of this vinyl LP are as deeply connected as the sequential movements of a sonata. Still, this particular consort is reduced to a minimum, and is equipped with gas masks and guerrilla weapons, although both members of this duo are conscious of the value of a somewhat bulbous composure. The latter condition is manifested in shorter chunks of relative restraint: the very opening, defined by prolonged clouds of bowed cymbals, or the places where Ambarchi’s effect-generated tectonic heartbeats and roaring washes orientate the whole towards a boggy compatibility with the average listener’s needs.

However, this illusion is completely laid to waste by the ferocious swapping of blows occurring in the heaviest sections. Those are the reasons which will cause many fans of distortion-fueled freeform stuff to dive right into the magma. Without further hyperboles, this writer believes that there’s something here congenial to people rooting for Keiji Haino, Last Exit, Borbetomagus and other less contiguous derivations of that family, a caustic stylistic agnosticism bathed in the muddiest waters of entrancement.

This set is yet another demonstration of quality by Anna Tjan’s label. The commonsensical policy of not saturating the market with useless records in favor of rare petite gems is definitely a blessing for alert audiences.

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