Oren Ambarchi & Jim O’Rourke – Hence

Hence, the third collaborative effort between Oren Ambarchi and Jim O’Rourke, consists of two side-long pieces. The ingredients: glowing synths, tabla (provided by U-zhaan) and heavily-processed guitar. The record is a smooth listen, and that’s in spite of the synth’s robotic stuttering. The virus-eaten electronics appear to be fragmented, chirruping throughout, but the embryotic opening of ‘Hence One’ is still able to shift and expand, sending out anticipated but irregular beams of light into its ballooning Universe.

The tabla, as always, adds an infinite amount of depth and a squeeze of Eastern mystique, not just supporting the track with its complex and sometimes rapid sequence of slippery rolls which swell up into sand-like dunes but prodding and tapping at the gelatinous synth with newly-formed fingers. The tabla invokes a clear mind and a sense of sublime stillness thanks to its rhythmic pulsations and its energetic, morning-raga patterns while adding some Indian spice, too.

The nineteen-minute piece shifts throughout its duration, and as it snakes along, the music emanates nothing but positivity and optimism. The swirling electronics distort the overall frame, causing the sound to sit at an odd angle, lighting up one at a time and constantly fading in and out, their lifespans cut short as they enter a holy temple of sound. The second part has more of a sparse atmosphere.

The glistening electronics become spider-like, dancing over twinkling textures that slowly form a melodic web of elongated notes. The notes tickle the tabla, negotiating space between the pair, while an underlying drone, almost unperceived, attempts to ground the track. Its synths are reminiscent of Sasha’s Airdrawndagger, with the tabla replacing the electronic beats; its peaceful music will leave the listener wanting more.

The sensitive melodies sprinkle a kind of prismatic snow over the track, and the melodic debris is minimal when compared to the first track. Overall, the second piece feels cleaner and neater, but it remains spacious throughout, providing an equal balance to the record with its scales of stress and serenity. Hence feels like a spell, running for just the right length while still pulling the listener into the deep end.

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