Like you, I spend the majority of my waking life battering my ears and brain in an infinite loop of music discovering, buying, downloading, categorizing, processing, and excreting, and at some point long ago the loop started accelerating beyond the threshold speed of a healthy, functioning brain. Following a thread from one album to the next, carefully tying together disparate musics, feeling out commonalities that moved in step with my own experiences — all that went out the window some years back and now all I’m able to do is endlessly refresh Asmus Tietchens’ Discogs page, considering what to download next but too scared to move. Is this indie-leaning rock album lo-fi or hi-fi? Does that fidelity make the band sound shitty, or awesome? How does that compare to the 10 other similar bands on their label? What about compared to this noise 7-inch? Is the noise 7-inch hi-fi for its genre? Is it even playing at the right speed? Why does the Mp3 rip of that noise 7-inch sound better than the actual 7-inch?? Are the speakers working right? Is the subwoofer drowning everything else out, or is it supposed to sound that way?? O COME APOCALYPSE SAVE ME FROM THE HELL INSIDE
So it’s always refreshing to hear a new album by Oren Ambarchi, whose solo albums immediately do away with spiraling questions of intent/comparison by the shocking clarity and presence of his sounds — when Ambarchi makes a shift in guitar tone, it sounds like he’s literally tweaking your stereo system in real-time, even sounding like the record player’s tone arm is being picked up and dropped back down. It makes sense that sunn 0))) recruited him a while back, as they feel sonically aligned in a way that’s unrelated to genre. Now the dude has finally released a follow-up to 2007’s stunning In the Pendulum’s Embrace (TMT Review) called Audience of One (that’s you!) and it’s been available via Touch since Tuesday.
Though presented as a solo album, Audience of One (that’s you!) relies on a fairly large cast of auxiliary players, including Paul Duncan (who sings sans effects on opening track “Salt”), Joe Talia on drums, Crys Cole, Jessika Kenney, and Eyvind Kang (plus his own chamber arrangement). The album weaves all over the place but is unified as a four-part suite, with ambient textures, regular ol’ singing, chugging psych-rock abandon, Ambarchi’s aforementioned tone arm tappings, and… an Ace Frehley cover. Nice.
Audience of One tracklisting:
04. Fractured Mirror
[Photo: David Gallagher]