Oren Ambarchi - Hubris LP
Label: Editions Mego
The list of accompanists for Oren Ambarchi's Hubris amounts to a dauntingly large ensemble from lands far and wide. In alphabetical order, his players include Crys Cole, Mark Fell, Will Guthrie, Arto Lindsay, Jim O'Rourke, Konrad Sprenger, Joe Talia, Ricardo Villalobos and Keith Fullerton Whitman. Yeah, a who's-who of the avant-garde from the past four decades. All of these variables would lead a lesser composer into a muddle of too many divergent ideas from too many egos. Not so for The Australian avant-guitarist Ambarchi who delivers a slithering, brilliant album of polyrhythmic tangles and engineered precision. Ambarchi pursued a similar line of compositional thought on his 2014 Quixotic with his weighty ensemble of multi-national musicians, producing an elegant recapitulation of Krautrock hypno-groove.
Hubris synchronizes percolated electronics and tightly-woven guitar ellipses to muscular monophunk grooves. Ambarchi is unafraid to pronounce his influences of Can, E2-E4 and Gunter Schickert. He even slyly states that the Wang Chung soundtrack to Live And Die In L.A. also factored into the construction of Hubris. He ain't lying about Wang Chung, as the shadows through the bamboo and wicker latticework of Wang Chung's romantic machismo can be heard through Ambarchi's work, composed without a lick of irony and with considerable panache. All of this spirals into two long-form, organically groovy tracks, with a brief acoustic ditty between Ambarchi and O'Rourke to break the spell. It makes for one hell of a great record.