Boomkat Product Review:
Uniquely disciplined guitarist Oren Ambarchi hustles an all-star ensemble in filigree arrangements of joyous, hyper-rhythmic melodicism nodding to Albert Marcoeur, early Pat Metheny Group, Henry Kaiser’s It’s A Wonderful Life and Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint.
Following in the vein of his intricately detailed longform workouts including ‘Quixotism’ (2014) and ‘Hubris’ (2016), the four parts of ’Shebang’ map an iridescent, undulating topography that links widescreen kosmiche with needlepoint precision and compelling fluidity. Taking remotely recorded input from Chris Abrahams (piano), Johan Berthling (acoustic bass), BJ Cole (pedal steel), Sam Dunscombe (bass clarinet), Jim O'Rourke (synths), Julia Reidy (12-string guitar), and Joe Talia (drums); Ambarchi (credited as Dick Wolf) and Konrad Sprenger post-edited the parts into a fleeting flux of staccato chimes, arcing harmonies and densely layered polyrhythms with a naturalistic flow that belies the fact its contributors were strewn across the globe.
Sweetly lifting off with pinpoint palm wine plucks, the album stealthily grows in density and curious intensity with Berthling’s sinuous bassline and Talia’s refreshing raindrop hi-hats guiding the flow down and out, snaking into clear Americana gestures with appearance of BJ Coles’ shimmering pedal steel, and Ambarchi’s puckered blues riffs. By the mid-way point their preternatural balance and surprising turns of phrase are in full effect, with a languid bassline sliding around the peppery percussion gently intensified by Julia Reidy’s Reichian 12-string intricacies, with Jim O’Rourke’s synths rising like early morning mist on a sunny day.
The Necks’ Chris Abrahams cuts avian figures across the keys, and in the final section they lock into the finest lattice, precipitating harmonic progression with the heady effect of a weather pressure front changing at liminal zones, roiling and gyring with Ambarchi and Sprenger’s discrete post-production magick.