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oren ambarchi / jim o'rourke / keiji haino - Tima Formosa
Recorded in January 2009 at the Playhouse, Kitakyushu, Japan, Tima Formosa documents the debut meeting of three iconic experimental artists: Oren Ambarchi joins with the great Keiji Haino and Jim O'Rourke, the latter of whom recorded this just a few months prior to the new Fenn O'Berg album - his other great three-way collaboration that's emerged over recent weeks. This hour-long performance is divided into three parts, the first of which begins in a familiar enough fashion: Ambarchi's signature rumbling, clicking guitar drone is present, while some sort of slowly modulating amp buzz emerges from the background. After such a relatively mild, inauspicious beginning the recording soon begins to ascend towards something altogether more impressive, and it's Haino who's at the forefront of this, adding a kind of pious choirboy vocal to a soundscape that's full of woofer-worrying sub bass and untamed, raw electronics. The outcome is a remarkable, operatic first part to this triptych, but it only gets better from here onwards: 'Tima Formosa 2' retains Haino's soaring castrato croon, but Jim O'Rourke's complex and atonal piano parts come to the forefront, backed up by static, motorised drones. After this florid sub-four-minute piece the album settles into a lengthy final furlong. 'Tima Formosa 3' is just stunning, stirring from a near infra-sonic Ambarchi drone before Haino's piercing flute tones offer a wandering top-end presence. Soon, you start to hear O'Rourke rummaging around in the insides of his piano and the booming guitar drones start to get louder before eventually, Haino introduces a line in thunderous drum machine pulses and just prior to the twenty minute mark you're practically in avant-metal territory. Momentarily the tone has shifted to something in the vicinity of a Wolf Eyes album or a particularly lurid slasher film soundtrack, only ebbing away to a more stately temperament for a wonderful finale in which most of these abrasive electronic signals recede to reveal O'Rourke's melancholy piano musings. If you're a follower of any of the artists involved you'll want to check this out, but certainly if you've been keen on such avant-garde electronics summits as Ambarchi/Fennesz/Pimmon/Rehberg/Rowe's Afternoon Tea, or indeed the aforementioned new Fenn O'Berg album, this is pretty essential stuff.