Boomkat Product Review:
Deliciously queasy, deep listening adventures in pitch and perception executed by Lucier’s Ever Present Orchestra, including Oren Ambarchi & Stephen O’Malley among its number, following their recording of his 2018 ear-boggler ‘Cross Cross’
Like the first volume, released back in 2020, 'Works for the Ever Present Orchestra Vol. II' these two pieces were written by Lucier for the Ever Present Orchestra, an ensemble he formed in Zürich in 2016. 'Arrigoni Bridge' was composed in 2019 and is handled by Oren Ambarchi, Bernhard Rietbrock, and Jan Thoben, who each play lap steel electric guitars, Lucy Railton on cello, Joan Jordi Oliver Arcos on alto horn and Rebecca Thies on violin. The orchestra was formed to focus on electric guitar, so Ambarchi, Rietbrock and Thoben take the initial spotlight, using e-bows mimic the sine wave oscillators Lucier used on earlier compositions like 1995's 'Still Lives'. These long, wavering tones throb and vibrate against each other to create a surprisingly rich form of minimalism, and the additional instruments fill in the empty space, creating near rhythms in the void that reward the closest, most patient listeners.
On the second side, 'Flips' uses Thoben and Rietbrock's lap steel drones once more, with double bass from Ross Wightman and Trevor Saint's glockenspiel. Working at a higher register, this piece's rhythms are far more discernible. The haunted dissonance is particularly searing, leaving fractal traces in the mind that are hard to shake. Turn it up and drift into Lucier's zone for a moment or two - it'll reveal the root of so much contemporary experimentation, from Kali Malone and Sarah Davachi to Eleh and Duane Pitre.