Oren Ambarchi Simian Angel
Published Jul 08, 2019Collaboration and hybridization are two forces that yield interesting musical mutations, and this is especially true when the splicing involves a couple of already multivalent characters. Cyro Baptista is the skipping stone across the traditionally placid surface of Oren Ambarchi's synthesized guitar tone on "Palm Sugar Candy." His hand drums, shakers, and whispered vocalizations reshape the tonal ambience until the ripples multiply and overlap, describing new and slightly distorted patterns.
Baptista opens side two's title track with a driving beat and dexterous play on the berimbau as, gradually, Ambarchi's guitar rises out of the silence to enfold the rhythm in climbing and collapsing spirals. Spare piano figures drift out of the slowly calming pulses, gradually gaining complexity and spurred on by subliminal radio chatter before the punctuating beat regains its place.
The album has an unpredictable "in the moment" feeling of improvisation that gives it the a perpetual spark. In its combination of electronics and Brazilian rhythms, it carries echoes of the best Bill Laswell experiments in world music, but with the structural audacity and occasional tension of vintage Gastr Del Sol. Its explorations are well considered and the rewards for following along are many. (Editions Mego)