Boomkat Product Review:
*Oren Ambarchi once again proves why he is one of the most revered and original composers working in the drone/death-ambient environments with this incredible selection of rarities and exclusives from the archives, recorded over the last 8 years.* A wonderful hour-long collection of rare material scattered disparately across Oren Ambarchi's discography on compilations and limited edition vinyl releases. The collection begins in a sublime, hushed fashion, with 'Intimidation', the wonderful joint effort with Anthony Pateras (who mans prepared piano) originally released via Southern Lord on the vinyl edition of 'In The Pendulum's Embrace'. It's a careful and highly detailed composition dominated by typically profound tonal sculptures from Ambarchi, while Pateras' quietly stabbing metallic interjections reveal a more three-dimensional texture. 'Moving Violation' is the only piece to have appeared on a Touch release before - it featured on the label's 25th anniversary CD, and makes a welcome reappearance lodged in the middle of this disc. It's nagging, Sahko-like signals border on outright and utterly compelling distortion building to a cacophonous hornet-buzz conclusion. The ensuing track ('The Strouhal Number') is a seven-minute oasis of remarkable calm. This is the earliest recording on the album, captured live in Sydney during 2000 and originally released on the Live & Direct CD on Spunk/Preservation. Far more chaotic and macrocosmic in scope is 'A Final Kiss On Poisoned Cheeks' (originally released as a limited 12" on Table Of The Elements), which amplifies Ambarchi's intricate harmonic exchanges to towering proportions, resounding with fierce overtones and siren-like sustains. Here Ambarchi pits his guitar against bells and motorised cymbal to ear-shredding effect, yet without ever terrorising the listener with heavy-handed noise. There's also one exclusive track on this selection: 'Iron Waves', a collaboration with vocalist Paul Duncan. It's one of the noisiest entries here, and breaks the almost ecclesiastical tone Ambarchi's stately low frequency signals tend to conjure. After a quiet first couple of minutes, humming towards a more vibrant, sonorous quality, the piece opens up with quivering overtones and Duncan's harmonies, which have him sounding almost like Will Oldham in places. It has the feeling of a one-off project - but is all the better for it on this epic collection of tracks. Probably the most crucial release on Touch this year - and a mark of just how engrossing a character Ambarchi is in experimental/electronic music - 'Intermission' comes to you with our highest possible recommendation, miss out at your peril.