Oren Ambarchi

My Days Are Darker Than Your Nights

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The Australian experimental guitarist Oren Ambarchi made a trip to Stockholm, Sweden, in March of 2002. On his to-do list was a recording session with multi-instrumentalist Johan Berthling (one-third of Tape, among other projects). My Days Are Darker Than Your Nights consists of a single 31-minute piece. Ambarchi gets credit for guitar and Berthling for harmonium, but that only tells half of the story. As usual, the guitarist has used a multi-track looping device to build up a thick, dense, highly kinetic drone. The harmonium sounds more immediate (no electronics seem to be involved); Berthling holds down chords for long durations, pumping air in the instrument and letting its whiny breath blend into the guitar soundscapes. The piece starts out very atmospheric and ambient. It gains momentum and volume gradually, and after 15 minutes it reaches a point where it could either remain comfortable and "ambient" or cross over to harsh noise -- simultaneously velvet and glass shards. You can literally feel how dangerously thin is the separation between the two. And it remains there, sitting on the proverbial fence for the last half of the piece, mesmerizing you like a giant (it feels huge!) kaleidoscope. The fade-out -- however careful and slow -- is a bit disappointing, but not enough to cancel out the fascination this piece exerts. Recommended, especially to those who appreciate Phill Niblock's microtonal works.

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