Exposé Online banner

The Cellar and Point — Ambit
(Cuneiform Rune 376, 2014, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2015-01-10

Ambit Cover artThis New York ensemble features seven regular members along with a number of guests, and the music is suitably rich and varied, with masterful arrangments of both original pieces and compositions by György Ligeti and Anton Webern. That should give listeners an idea where this group is coming from — no emulation of Romantic-era schlock for these guys. The original compositions are the work of co-founders Joseph Branciforte (drums) and Christopher Botta (guitars), both individually and in collaboration, and while there are echoes of previous chamber rock like Univers Zero, there's also a hint of jazz that brings to mind John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet. This latter is due in part to the prominence of Joe Bergen's vibraphone in the music, but there is a like-minded approach to melody and arrangement as well. Violin and cello (Christopher Otto and Kevin McFarland, respectively) enhance the chamber-like feel, and Rufus Philpot's bass, in conjunction with Branciforte's drums, provide touches of rock energy without adhering to rock conventions. The occasional augmentations of the core line-up include banjo, keyboards, melodica, contrabass, and viola provide some additional color but don't alter the overall sound greatly. There are also some electronic touches like loops, backwards shimmers, and so on. Ambit is nothing if not an ambitious entry into the RIO/chamber world, amazingly well conceived and executed — hardly what would be expected from a debut album. Absolutely one of the finest releases of 2014, and sure to join the ranks of the best chamber rock of all time.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): The Cellar and Point

Latest news

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Musicante (Guillermo Diego Ensamble) - Sonoridades Mexicanas – While not exactly a reissue, this compilation by Guillermo Diego y Musicante includes all of the material from their 1987 album A los Cuatro Vientos, plus two tracks from 1982's Buscando un Tesoro,...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues