Oren Ambarchi:Stephen O’Malley:Randall Dunn Shade Themes from Kairos


It’s difficult to discuss Shade Themes from Kairos without invoking the lineage of Oren Ambarchi, Stephen O’Malley and Randall Dunn. The music feels similar to the ever-looming monolith of Sunn O))) and will likely appeal to listeners of the drone and doom persuasion. However, Shade Themes from Kairos evokes more, sonically, drawing from a much wider instrumental palette than the twin guitar attack of Black One. All but devoid of distortion, it draws upon Seattle’s Earth and the Middle Eastern progressions of Om. The group all but distances themselves from the density and thrust of metal, finding themselves much more contemporarily seated with Bohren & der Club of Gore.

While there seems to be a drive for composition, Ambarchi, O’Malley and Dunn seem to be just as interested in sonic experimentation. The group attempts to create ambient soundscapes that rely heavily upon minimalism and repetition, giving the album a decidedly Krautrock and psychedelic sound. While this is certainly aligned with Ambarchi, O’Malley and Dunn’s musical philosophy, the results feel ambitious, covering territory we seldom hear from these individuals. That said, the slow pace and long, drawn-out tracks may feel disengaging. And those familiar with O’Malley’s work expecting a more visceral experience may be let down. But with Shade Themes from Kairos, there is a definite attempt to branch out artistically and tread comparatively new ground.

By Aaron J. Marko

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