OREN AMBARCHI - 'QUIXOTISM'
Oren Ambarchi - guitars and percussion
Thomas Brinkmann - computable drums with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem (Parts 1-5)
Matt Chamberlain - drums & electronics (Parts 3 & 4)
Crys Cole - contact mics & brushes (Part 4)
Eyvind Kang - bowed gender (Part 1) & violas (Part 5)
Jim O' Rourke - synths (Parts 4 & 5)
John Tilbury - piano (Parts 1 & 2)
U-zhaan - tabla (Part 5)
Ilan Volkov & the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra (Parts 1 & 3)
Recorded 2012-2014 in Cologne (Max Ernst Studios), Reykjavik (Harpa), Melbourne, Seattle (Avast! Studios - session co-produced & engineered by Randall Dunn, London, Los Angeles (Cyclops Sound Studio) and Tokyo (Steamroom - engineered by Jim O'Rourke)
Mixed Dec 2013 & March 2014 at Chinatown, Melbourne by Joe Talia and Oren Ambarchi
Mastered at Moose, Melbourne March-April 2014 by Byron Scullin
Vinyl cut by Rashad Becker & D&M, Berlin, June 2014
Photography by Estelle Hanania
Design by Stephen O' Malley
Recorded with a multitude of collaborators in Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA, Quixotism presents the fruit of two years of work in the form of a single, LP-length piece in five parts. Ambarchi’s work in recent years has evinced an increasing fascination with the possibilities of combining abstract sonic textures with rhythm and pulse, whether in his drumming with Keiji Haino, the subtly driving ride cymbals provided by drummer Joe Talia in their work together, or the motorik grooves of Sagittarian Domain (Editions Mego, 2012). Quixotism takes this aspect of Ambarchi’s recent work to the next level: the entirety of this long-form work is built on a foundation of pulsing double-time electronic percussion provided by Thomas Brinkmann. Beginning as almost subliminal propulsion behind cavernous orchestral textures and John Tilbury’s delicate piano interjections, the percussive elements (elaborated on by Ambarchi and Matt Chamberlain) slowly inch into the foreground of the piece before suddenly breaking out into a polyrhythmic shuffle around the halfway mark, being joined by master Japanese tabla player U-zhaan for the piece’s final, beautiful passages.
The pulse acts as thread leading the listener though a heterogeneous variety of acoustic spaces, from the concert hall in which the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra were recorded to the intimacy of Crys Cole’s contact-mic textures. Ambarchi’s guitar itself ranges over this wide variety of acoustic spaces, from airless, clipped tones to swirling, reverberated fog. Within the complex web Ambarchi spins over the piece’s steadily pulsing foundation, elements approach and recede, appear and reappear, in a non-linear fashion, even as the piece plots an overall course from the grey, almost Nono-esque reverberated space of its opening section to the crisp foreground presence of Jim O’Rourke’s synth and Evyind Kang’s strings in its final moments. Formally indebted to the side-long workouts of classic Cologne techno, the long-form works of composers such as Eliane Radigue, and the organic push and pull of improvised performance, Quixotism is constantly in motion, yet its transitions happen slowly and steadily, so that they are often nearly imperceptible, the diverse elements which make up the piece succeeding one another with the logic of a dream.
Anyone who follows Ambarchi’s work knows that it has many facets: explorations of the outer limits of rock with Keiji Haino, psychoacoustic interference and sizzling harmonics in his solo performances, delicate improvisations with Keith Rowe or John Tilbury. To all these projects, Ambarchi brings his particular sensibility, patiently allowing sounds to develop on their own terms without forsaking their intrinsic physical and emotional power. Similarly, although Quixotism is shaped by its many contributors, the resulting sound world is unmistakably Ambarchi’s own. His most substantial solo release since Audience of One (Touch, 2012), Quixotism represents the summation of Ambarchi’s work over the last few years while also pointing to the future.
Live Shows | Autumn 2014
Thu Oct 23
Okkyung Lee,/Jim O'Rourke/Oren Ambarchi trio
Kita Kyushu Performing Arts Center
Tue Oct 28
Keiji Haino/Jim O'Rourke/Oren Ambarchi trio
Sat Nov 1
Oren Ambarchi solo
+ Eiko Ishibashi & the Already Dead, Seichi Yamamoto, Alan Licht, Akira Sakata & more!
@ SuperDeluxe - Car and Freezer festival 2014
Sun Nov 2
Okkyung Lee & Oren Ambarchi workshop
@ Yangjiri Village
Sat Nov 8
crys cole & Oren Ambarchi duo
+ Robert Piotrowicz, Goh Lee Kwang, Arnont Nongyao
@ Bangkok Art & Culture Centre
Live in LA | October 13th 2014
Oren Ambarchi solo
+ William Basinski, Matthew Sullivan
@ Jewels Catch One
4067 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90019, USA
Upcoming Gigs | September 2014
Wed Sept 3
Oren Ambarchi solo
+ crys cole, Rosa Reaper
@ Windsor Hotel
Tue Sept 9
Oren Ambarchi solo
@ Rönnells Antikvariat
Birger Jarlsgatan 32
114 29 Stockholm
Thu Sept 11
Oren Ambarchi solo
+ Rashad Becker
@ 90db Festival
Sun Sept 14
Oren Ambarchi & Johan Berthling duo
+ lll人, Rie Nakajima, Shelley Parker, Part wild horses mane on both sides
@ Dear Serge
De La Warr Pavillion
Sun Sept 21
Oren Ambarchi solo
+ Ex Easter Island Head
@ Corsica Studios
Sat Sept 27
John Tilbury & Oren Ambarchi duo
+ Jon Hassell, Naqsh Duo
@ Glatt und Verkehrt Festival
Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche
OREN AMBARCHI - 'STACTE KARAOKE'
12" (Black Truffle 2014)
Two raw, ecstatic, face-melting guitar solos recorded in one take in the Ambarchi "Stacte tradition." This time around, Ambarchi is backed up by a badass rhythm section from Texas, and together they ride the endless riff into the goddamn sunset.
RICHARD PINHAS/OREN AMBARCHI
"TIKKUN" CD/DVD (Cuneiform, USA 2014)
Richard Pinhas, the founder of 70s progressive legends Heldon, is one of the most uncompromising artists on the international rock scene, having remained constantly innovative and true to his personal artistic vision for 40 years and some 35 full length releases.
Oren Ambarchi is a guitarist, drummer and sound-artist who has performed and/or recorded with a huge array of artists, including Fennesz, John Zorn, Jim O'Rourke, Otomo Yoshihide, Evan Parker, Merzbow and others. Since 2004, he has worked with the avant-metal band Sunn O))), contributing to many of their releases and side- projects.
Pinhas and Ambarchi first recorded together when Ambarchi contributed to recordings that were eventually tied together with other contributors into Pinhas' 2013's release Desolation Row. Since that time they have been working on ideas, recordings and concert / live collaborations.
The personnel for Tikkun is: Oren Ambarchi-guitar Richard Pinhas-guitar, synth guitar, effects Joe Talia-drums, effects Masami Akita (Merzbow)-loops, noise, effects Duncan Pinhas-sequences, effects, noise Eric Borelva-additional drums Interestingly, Richard specifically thinks of this album as a duo project that was conceived as a duo project for himself and Oren, despite the very effective contributions of the other four musicians. The music on Tikkun, which consists of three very lengthy tracks, comes across as a very tasty cross between the heavy, synth-driven, sequencer beats of classic Heldon and the much more noisier aspects of Pinhas' work over the last decade. In addition to the studio album, physical CD+DVD version also includes a DVD of a live performance of the duo. It was filmed at Paris' main venue for experimental music, Les Instants Chavires, October 29, 2013.
SHADE THEMES FROM KAIROS 2LP (Drag City, USA 2014)
"Shade Themes from Kairos is a new iteration of the dream for all the guitar freaks out there, bringing together a couple of singular players together, just to see what happens. In this case, the players were old friends and collaborators Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O'Malley, playing in a space engineered and co-populated by Randall Dunn. From the top, Shade Themes from Kairos is resonant as a collective inquest in sound, with all the players deeply immersed within the panorama they are creating. 'That Space Between' blows in from a distance, rolling rhythmically, with synthetic percussion chattering, before it settles into a stately pace, as the guitars wind ethereal around the procession. Under the beat lies always space, and as the cadential clusters drift off, metal chimes and keys sputter and dig deep and clean through the abyss." Housed in a gatefold sleeve.
CRYS COLE & OREN AMBARCHI
"Sonja Henies vei 31" LP (Planam, Italy 2014)
Recorded during a week-long sojourn in Norway, Sonja Henies vei 31 is a profoundly moving document of the personal and artistic union between Crys Cole and Oren Ambarchi. Abandoning their usual instrumental artillery, both performers make themselves vulnerable to the listener, undertaking a committed exploration of pure physical gesture. Surrounding an explicitly intimate duo performance is a hazy collage of field recordings, tape hiss, metallic clinks and wandering voices. This forces the listener to hover in a disorienting psychological space between a confronting real world, and a swirling dream-world. While the latter's abstraction cannot penetrate the former's emotional directness, both environments function to obscure one another's meaning. What is most affecting for the listener is how he/she inadvertently becomes part of the record's scenery: a dreamer, narrator and voyeur in equal parts. Sonja Henies vei 31is a brave personal statement, a celebration of the idyllic, and a tragic theater of emotional longing." --James Rushford, Melbourne, 2014
OREN AMBARCHI/NEIL CAMPBELL/MICHAEL FLOWER
"LIVE AT TUSK FESTIVAL 2013" LP (TUSK, UK 2014)
Every year, TUSK Festival puts together a first-time trio selected from the assembled genii performing that weekend.
Over the 3 festivals so far, this simple trick has produced some pretty incredible results. 2011 saw Alan Bishop, Bill Orcutt and Chris Corsano throw down together for the first time, a union they enjoyed so much that they've since repeated it elsewhere. 2012 saw us merge the awesome talents of Michael Morley (Dead C, Gate), Gary Smith and Steve Noble for more revelations in sound and slack-jawed wonderment.
And in 2013, we managed to devise a trio that without question produced one of the most incredible performances of TUSK (or any) Festival to date - the stratospheric trio of Oren Ambarchi, Neil Campbell and Michael Flower. Ambarchi starts out on guitar and effects through a vintage Leslie speaker, Campbell exploring his astral table-top network and his Vibracathedral Orchestra colleague Flower's guitar taking Canned Heat into outer space. Into side 2, Ambarchi moves onto drums and we truly have lift off!
The 3 members of this trio each come with exquisite pedigrees: Ambarchi with his run of solo albums via the great Touch label and collaborations with everyone from Keiji Haino and Jim O'Rouke to Fennesz, Stephen O'Malley, Keith Rowe, Voice Crack and more; Campbell with his intergalactic Astral Social Club and Vibracathedral Orchestra output and collaborations with Richard Youngs, Deacer Pinga, Matthew Bower and others, and VCO ally Flower's work solo, as half of Flower-Corsano Duo, plus his many albums as part of MV&EE.
So - pouring 3 musicians of this calibre into one 12" piece of vinyl would be expected to produce some highly flammable results, and this searing record without doubt lives upto all expectations.
KEIJI HAINO/JIM O'ROURKE/OREN AMBARCHI
"Only Wanting to Melt Beautifully Away Is It a Lack of Contentment That Stirs Affection for Those Things Said to Be as of Yet Unseen"
CD/LP Black Truffle BT011
"Begun as a one-off collaboration in 2009, the trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke and Oren Ambarchi has now become a solid working group, refining its craft through a series of annual concerts at Tokyo's legendary SuperDeluxe. Much of their recorded work has focused on their intense, ritualistic take on the rock power trio of electric guitar, bass and drums. Presenting the entire first set of the trio's March 2013 concert at SuperDeluxe (the second set will follow on Black Truffle later this year), Only Wanting to Melt Beautifully Away Is It a Lack of Contentment That Stirs Affection for Those Things Said to Be as of Yet Unseen is their fifth release and blows the instrumental palette wide open for a single continuous piece focused on acoustic strings, synth, flute and percussion. Featuring one of Haino's most delicate and moving recorded vocal performances, the opening section of the record takes the form of a spare duet between O'Rourke's 12-string acoustic guitar and Haino's kantele (a Finnish variant of the dulcimer), behind which Ambarchi provides a hovering backdrop of wine glass tones. While on previous releases the listener has often sensed that Haino was firmly in the driver's seat, here O'Rourke takes center stage with an acoustic guitar performance that takes the lyricism of John Abercrombie orRalph Towner and refracts it through the free improvisation tradition of his mentors Derek Bailey and Henry Kaiser. The atmosphere of meditative, abstracted song is reminiscent of some of Haino's greatest recordings, such as the legendary Live in the First Year of the Heisei volumes recorded with Kan Mikami. After this stunningly beautiful opening sequence, the performance moves organically through a number of episodes, including a dramatic central passage in which Haino moves to synth and drum machine, crafting a current of raw electricity that unfurls slowly over the gently pulsing foundations of Ambarchi's cymbals and builds to heights of manic intensity. When Haino later turns to wooden flute, Ambarchi answers him with nimble hand-drummed percussion in a passage that calls to mind Don Cherry's liberated combination of free-jazz improvisation and non-Western musics. The trio's move away from the power trio dynamic bespeaks a risk-taking and questing spirit that refuses to be satisfied with repeating past glories, and yet the organic, immersive flow of this single improvisation attests to the intuitive bond that has formed between them over the last five years. Exuding the signature mystery and emotion of Haino's greatest works, this release is perhaps the strongest statement yet from this acclaimed trio, and holds out a tantalizing promise for everyone hooked on their continuing exploration of 'those things said to be as of yet unseen.' --Francis Plagne; Design by Stephen O'Malley with high quality live shots by Ujin Matsuo and stunning artwork by Norwegian noise legend Lasse Marhaug.