Audience of One, latest album of Australian Oren Ambarchi, is a puzzling record. It’s even disappointing when you first listen to it, and then it starts digging its path into your memory, where all the works that are worth it eventually find their place. It’s puzzling because Ambarchi largely discards the stringy and so subtle textures that gave that particular charm to his previous records for Touch, Grapes from the Estate and In the Pendulum's Embrace, and because he tackles varied musical forms that are not necessarily compatible. Also because he has preferred to work in collaboration with several partners who all brought their voices and their universes, and because he has chosen to present a suite in four movements where four distinct works can clearly be noted. After an ambient pop opening with the deceptively simplistic “Salt” -- which reminds one of a more ethereal Sun, Ambarchi’s side project -- Audience of One is then clearly dominated by “Knots”, a thirty-minute monster which slowly aggregates growingly impenetrable masses of rumbling bass, of cracking sounds, of cellos, horns, drones and noise attacks to the lively rhythm of the cymbal, with the different elements coming together and falling apart around Joe Talia’s crazy percussion. That’s in this frenzied race along the border, in this precarious balance, that can be found the dark heart of Audience of One, in a track so powerful that one has to listen to it over and over again to absorb its essence. After such a shock, the rest of the record understandably pales a little in comparison, and even the amazing and restrained “Passage”, whose delicate guitar lines and luminous textures underlie Jessika Kenney’s frail voice, can’t quite escape the shadow cast by “Knots”. “Fractured Mirror”, a cover of Ace Frehley, concludes the album but it doesn’t really manage to do so convincingly, with its hollow minimalism that actually hides a poorly-inspired dream pop -- the only real weak point of the record. On the whole, Audience of One can’t be considered, I think, as the complete work that Oren Ambarchi states it is, but as two distinct works which could very well have been separated. On the one hand, three short tracks still showing the radiant side of the composer, his pop past and aspirations, and on the other hand “Knots”, whose impressive power could do without any companion, but which largely makes up for the record’s few weaknesses.