Oren Ambarchi & Eli Keszler – Alps
Oren Ambarchi & Eli Keszler – ALPS
180 gram LP album with free digital download
edition of 500 – £15
ALPS by Oren Ambarchi & Eli Keszler is a seemingly inevitable collaboration of two musicians kicking against limits and genre definitions, recorded and presented with a similar disregard for anything but quality.
Two side-long pieces that mix improv, noise, rock, and drone, ALPS is never an easy listen but always a compelling one. Both musicians are compulsive collaborators, with individual oeuvres that span all those genres and others yet to be labelled, and this album reflects and distills their hard-working heritage. They have a similar approach to questioning the fundamentals and exploring the sonic properties of their chosen instruments in a way that is informed by musical theory and learning but manifests itself in a defiantly non-academic, visceral and physical sound, both in intent and experience. Listening to ALPS is a discomforting, uneasy and massively rewarding exercise, which denies the listener any steady ground on which to stand.
This is evident from the moment that “Alps I” kicks off with piercing bowed cymbals. Percussive elements emerge from deep in the mix, drums without rhythm nor metre. Background and foreground shift tectonically and queasily. A chopping helicopter pulse hovers omnipresently over the battlefield of attacking drums and splintery bass beneath. It is a liquescent, rolling, never still 20 minutes of multiple musical narratives.
From the outset Side B upholds the intensity. The conflagration of “Alps II” comes off like a tribute to classic Japanese psych; guitar proudly and consistently in the red, tsunamis of drum rolls. It has a defiant crudeness and rawness to its attack, which belies the intelligence needed to create such a rough-edged sound, the deftness needed to keep the truck-driving momentum on the road.
The first 100 copies of the LP come with a bonus 3″ CDR which features a specially mixed collage of Alps I & II.
DWR009, released August 2014
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Band photo by Fabio Lugaro.