Extended guitar hero Oren Ambarchi returns with Shebang, the latest in the series of intricately detailed long-form rhythmic workouts that includes Quixotism (2014) and Hubris (2016). Like those records, Shebang features an international all-star cast of musical luminaries, their contributions recorded individually in locations from Sweden to Japan yet threaded together so convincingly (by Ambarchi in collaboration with Konrad Sprenger) that it’s hard to believe they weren’t breathing the same studio air! Expanding on the techniques of these past works, intricate themes and variations build upon the staccato rhythms via expansive improvisations from BJ Cole, Sam Dunscomb, Chris Abrahams, Jim O’Rourke and Julia Reidy. The ensemble surges through a slow series of harmonic changes before the whole shebang dissolves into a delirious synthetic mirage.
Shebang begins with a precisely interwoven lattice of chiming guitar figures, developing Hubris’ monolithic pulse into a joyous, hyper-rhythmic melodicism while drawing on the free flow of improvisation, with individual voices momentarily coming to the fore and subtle changes in harmony and texture. The first excerpt, aptly titled "I", reveals itself by building from isolated single notes into densely layered poly-rhythms, as the muted guitar tones are joined by subtle touches of shimmering Leslie cabinet resonance and mutated guitar synth.
Bridging minimalism, contemporary electronics, and classic ECM stylings, and bringing together a cast of preternaturally talented contributors, Shebang is unmistakably the work of Oren Ambarchi: obsessively detailed, relentlessly rhythmic, unabashedly jubilant. Grab a slice and celebrate the birth of Shebang.