Oren Ambarchi’s latest release Hubris is a confident continuation of Sagittarian Domain and Quixotism in its exploration of relentless, driving rhythms. The extended three-track album is apparently simple in form, but the best way I can describe its deception is to think about seeing a pack of cards so perfectly from above that you can’t tell if it’s one card or a whole pack. In truth, a form which seems repetitive and inconclusive is, in this case, a result of careful, meticulous work – layers of bass guitars, retouched percussion, slipped in aleatoric synthesiser.
Amabarchi has revealed that, for him, collaboration is an approach to get beyond what we’d expect to hear, or even what he’d expect of himself; to take his ideas, have them challenged, torn apart, and built on. The list of collaborators on Hubris boasts the likes of Crys Cole, Mark Fell – whose electronic percussion is heard on the final passages of Part 1, Arto Lindsay, Jim O’Rourke, Konrad Sprenger and Ricardo Villalobos – who contributes the electronic rhythm of Part 3 – as well as Joe Talia and Will Guthries on twin drums, and modular synthesist Keith Fullerton Whitman.
Each additional collaborator helps the rhythms throughout this album gesture towards an almost transcendental state. It’s patterned, repetitive form captures a spiritual, ritualistic head space. If you keep your ears alert you notice the subtlest of details and tonal shifts, but it’s better to let go and lose yourself in the sound, completely bypass any sense of time, and fall into its unconscious journey.