This LP is a document of a live concert from the duo of Crys Cole & Oren Ambarchi, recorded Feb 16, 2020 in Nanaimo, BC, Canada. "My own first experience with the music of Oren Ambarchi reaches way back into his pre-history, when he was a young, Sydney-based noise freak, playing drums or guitar in bands like Phlegm or the Menstruation Sisters. Oren began to show his Apollonian bent when he released the first volume of his Stacte series in '98, but re-stoked his Dionysian side by undertaking a parallel investigation of various forms of heavy rock. His true avant-garde stripes became fully evident when he founded the Black Truffle label, initially to document some of his own outstanding efforts (the albums of his trio with Jim O'Rourke and Keiji Haino are insane), and also reissuing key pieces from the 20th Century experimental canon.
crys cole is a Canadian-born composer, currently based in Berlin. She has a long history as a sound artist, both for performances and recordings that display a subtle approach to sound generation (often involving small gestures and the amplification of objects not necessarily designed to produce music). She also creates sculptural installations featuring sound as one element amongst others. This might suggest she possesses some of the mania associated with Fluxus, but crys's work generally eschews the antic, focusing on the slow build and accretion of sound layers.
On this night in Nanaimo BC, Oren and crys sat at a pair of tables. Oren held a guitar and his table was covered with electronics. crys held no instrument in her hands, but her table contained a mass of objects, some clearly electric in nature, others looking more like random bits found in a kitchen drawer. Working with these tools and microphones to amplify their voices and/or gestures, the pair created the two pieces here -- wonderfully flowing soundscapes from imaginary vistas of otherness.
The instruments they employ sometimes recall the essence of things you've heard before, but more often they are sonic events whose source can only be discerned (and then, only fitfully), by trying to see who is doing what with their hands. The interplay of gesticulation and the slow swaying of their bodies resembles a kind of slow-motion dance, almost like something taking place underwater. And at times there is a concordant submarine heft to the music. Drifting as though heard through a waving wall of water at 20,000 leagues beneath the sea. Other portions make you feel as though you are lying in a tent at night in a jungle filled with cyborg insects. It was a night of music that came and went like a dream state. Beautiful, familiar and utterly strange all at the same time.
Sadly, this will be the last LP in this series recorded at the original White Room, upstairs at 4 Church Street in downtown Nanaimo. A new landlord wanted to do something different with the legendary performance space/gallery, and so it goes. We are assured, however, that a new venue will be secured in the Nanaimo area, and the shows (with concomitant live LPs) will continue once the plague has abated. For now, take the opportunity to take a trip with Oren and crys. You won't regret a moment of it." - Byron Coley