Boomkat Product Review:
Death Ambient, the trio of Ikue Mori, Kato Hideki and Fred Frith have long been one of our favourite acts from Tzadik's sprawling catalogue.
They were formed back in 1995 by Mori and Hideki, and burst onto the scene with their genre shaking self titled debut album. Combining Ikue Mori's innovative drum machine and sampler work with Kato Hideki's bass and Fred Frith's signature guitar playing the three managed to come up with the most unusual textures and sound, yet what set Death Ambient apart from the rest of the experimental world is that there was something undeniably listenable about their work.
This was further confirmed with 1999's absolutely classic 'Synaesthesia', an album which absolutely cemented their status as serious players in the scene and managed to muscle in on many critics favourites lists, setting the pace for textural ambient music at this time. 'Synaesthesia' is an album that still stands up today coming across as fresh as it was back in '99, so hearing this latest record (the result of 6 years of work) I certainly had high expectations. The trio had invited in a guest into the fold too, the percussionist Jim Pugliese, but don't worry the dense and richly coloured experimental sound hasn't changed much, rather Pugliese's sound has been absorbed into the murky ambience and become one with the trio's noise. Similarly difficult to describe as 'Synaesthesia' (these are records for listening alone) this time around the band bring in violin, ukulele, banjo and computer sounds to add to their already rich soundscapes. Acoustic instruments scrape and dance around more obviously synthesized sounds so subtly that at times you're totally unaware of exactly what you're hearing, this is mysterious music, at all times totally impenetrable yet absolutely beautiful.
Whether the sound is dragging you into a deep waterlogged world of purples and greens or a firey red and orange hellish noise-caked miasma, the experience is utterly absorbing and as electrifying as any of the band's previous work.