Only Wanting to Melt Beautifully Away Is It A Lack of Contentment That Stirs Affection for Those Things Said to Be As of Yet Unseen
Here we have three great improvisers all working beautifully together across one single album-length track. The magic here is in the subtlety, O’Rourke’s 12-string offers soft folk flourishes and across the first 15 minutes there’s a slow, soft, delicate build-up with minimal percussion from Ambarchi and Haino’s voice and kantele (a dulcimer-like sound) finding a few spaces in and around the guitar figure.
Then O’Rourke starts to stab at the guitar, moving the music forward but still with that circular weave, a hint of Steve Gunn’s sound in his playing. Haino adds synth into the mix to build scratchy textures behind the sleets-of-sound percussion and guitar. Things move slowly, inevitably, toward the weirder as the guitar drops out and the synth drops Theremin-like bombs of noise in the spaces between the bass drum stomps and frenetic cymbal pulse.
Then the vocals return – slight anguish but the guitar shadows them, playful, subverting the free-improv situation as the guitar and wordless vocals engage in a dance.
The climax of this piece is a clatter of sound that eventually falls away to silence. And then softly rebuilds. In the dying moments hope of an actual “song” emerges. It’s the way this trio play with (and inside) the contrasts that makes this recording.
Only Wanting To Melt never quite melts – instead it solidifies this trio, initially a one-off collaboration this is their fifth outing together and this performance is spellbinding, the constant push-pull of the players all seeking a new space but working together to achieve it. It’s hypnotic and entrancing, and finds all three players – Japanese avant-garde legend Haino, Black Truffle Records label head and hand-drummer Ambarchi and former Wilco and Sonic Youth collaborator (among so many other guises) O’Rourke all in fine form, offering some of their greatest playing.