Personnel: Oren Ambarchi (vocals, guitar, drums, percussion); Elizabeth Welsh (violin); James Rushford (viola); Judith Hamann (cello).
Audio Mixers: Joe Talia; Oren Ambarchi.
Recording information: Chinatown, Melbourne, Australia (05/26/2011); Sing Sing, Melbourne, Australia (05/26/2011); Chinatown, Melbourne, Australia (10/11/2011); Sing Sing, Melbourne, Australia (10/11/2011).
Photographer: Shunichiro Okada.
If Oren Ambarchi lives to create and record, then it's a sign that he is so consistently able to create involving, always enjoyable releases that explore the realms between dude-with-guitar and compositional experimentation and ambience so perfectly. Sagittarian Domain is in many ways one of his most conservative efforts -- not a slam, by any means, but an acknowledgment of how this one-track effort derives from the 1970s era of side-long vinyl efforts as everything from prog rock to fusion jazz to psych heaviness all swirl together. Recorded by himself aside from some string contributions, it's a pleasure from the get-go: a nicely ominous plucked guitar rhythm of a couple of notes is the bed for even more moody feedback wails and fading in/out arcs of feedback. It's very much a "curtains are opening" moment that is then supplemented by a pulsing bass element and then drums hitting a perfect steady groove that's not quite motorik or funk, more a focused trance without being trance in the electronic dance sense. By 13 minutes you can feel everything shifting into a more aggressive, full arrangement, a rising/falling tone making everything feel even more unsettled as further guitar noise builds and fills before everything cuts back to the rhythm section only, even the initial guitar going suddenly. Ambarchi then lets everything build up again around it minus that initial bit, angry drones and screaming intertwined. The concluding strings could almost be the end of Prince's "Purple Rain," something soothing in the post-apocalypse even if it never fully exploded as lingering tones replace the rhythm entirely. ~ Ned Raggett