Here with their second duo collaborative album are two guitarists who are both in fact multi-instrumentalists, Australian Oren Ambarchi and American Jim O’Rourke. Behold, as with the pair’s previous outing, Indeed, splits a single piece of music across two tracks – or two sides, for vinyl devotees. So we have Part A and Part B if you like. Across the 42 minutes we have guitar feedback cloaked inside synthesizers and tinkering-becomes-clattering percussion.
There’s eventually a strong sense of groove her, which links aspects of this to some of the darker, weirder noises that Ambarchi’s fellow countrymen The Necks sometimes conjure.
From a disorienting soundtrack of abstract noise to – eventually – a near-Kraftwerkian sense of hypnotic groove this is manipulated improvisation and it’s so strangely calming given it circles around a type of chaos.
Side 2/Part B of Behold takes a little longer for the groove to arrive, but when it does it is looser though just as hypnotic. We go from a train-like rhythm in parts of Part A to something approaching The Dirty Three, that lazy-sounding, but busy-enough swagger and sway.
Another touchstone is Glacial’s magical On Jones Beach, the way the noise falls in on itself to create melody, the way the rhythm becomes melodic through repetition signalling awareness and then understanding of when and how the ideas are going to fall and though it’s impossible to really know who is doing what here – Ambarchi and O’Rourke fit together so well on these records they are essentially finishing each other’s sentences – it’s fun to ponder, as you listen, wondering the where shows and whys of this project; how it came together, how it was made, what the process was.
A great piece of accessible improvisation has been captured here. Worth your time if you’ve got wide open ears.
They’ve also made some stunning improvisational music with Keiji Haino – check this album out for starters.