Oren Ambarchi

— ZDB at St. George's Church


An almost ubiquitous presence on various fronts of discovery music, Oren Ambarchi claims for himself the rare feat of a blessed and constant relevance, escaping the yoke of that tutelary and respected figure whose autopilot activity takes place in the shadow of past achievements. Tireless, the Australian multi-instrumentalist musician has built up a body of work capable of gravitating around different languages, whether solo or in countless collaborations, dragging along followers who can come from the more esoteric meanders of rock and metal, adventurous electronics, noise drone swamps, restless improvisation or composition scholars. Without this plural capacity ever slipping into something derivative, Ambarchi has, since the 1990s, been guided by a principle of constant (re)discovery which, after a few more or less formative years linked to percussion that he still uses today, has primarily in the guitar the primary vehicle for sonic investigations outside the instrument’s canonical comfort zone.

His imposing discography, which includes labels as reputable as Touch, eMego, PAN, Drag City or his own Black Truffle – revealing an attentive and passionate curator – ranges from dense and turbulent solo guitar landscapes – Suspension – to intricate drones for strings, keyboards and percussion – Grapes From The Estate -, suspended pieces as tense as they are contemplative – Triste – to explorations around rhythm and (apparent) repetition on discs as celebrated as ‘Hubris’, ‘Quixotic’ or, more recently, ‘Shebang’, for which he has assembled an impressive cast of collaborators including people like Ricardo Villalobos, Arto Lindsay, John Tilbury or Julia Reidy. And that’s just in his own name. In between, a host of associations ranging from his incendiary trio with Jim O’Rourke and Keiji Haino, to the psychedelic free jazz of Ghosted, alongside Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin, to his participation in Sunn O))))’s ‘Black One’ and ‘Monoliths & Dimensions’ or his meticulous studies of timbre and texture with Keith Rowe. Impulses of the same panoramic vision that have cleared a lot of inhospitable terrain, and in this hyperactive movement, they open up a whole range of possibilities that are still far from exhausted. A rare case of bravery and mastery. BS

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