Oren Ambarchi

Oren Ambarchi is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and musical polymath who has been releasing records with the frequency of someone who prefers studio time to sleep. His remarkably prolific and diverse oeuvre since the 90's has included releases such as “Suspension” (2002), “Grapes From The Estate” (2004), “Audience Of One” & “Sagittarian Domain” (both 2012), “Quixotism” (2014) & “Hubris” (2016).

Ambarchi continues to collaborate with artists the world over and in the last few years his longform compositions have featured many friends and collaborators constituting some of his most adventurous work to date and demonstrating his slippery capacity for stylistic shapeshifting whilst retaining his singular musical language.

Featured releases

Long overdue 2024 repress of this gem! "Hotel Record is the second release from the duo/couple of crys cole and Oren Ambarchi, following on from Sonja Henies Vei 31 (Planam, 2014). Where their debut recording presented a disquieting portrait of the erotic dimension of romantic intimacy, the follow-up continues to explore the pair’s simultaneously musical and romantic relationship in a more subtle fashion, presenting four long-form pieces that touch on the variety of forms the life of this couple takes: as a musical duo, as a pair of travelers to exotic locations, as opponents in a game of cards… Each of the four tracks presents a distinct sound-world, yet each manages to attain the same suspended, half-sleeping feeling, outlining a space where improbable combinations of the electronic and the acoustic, of extreme closeness and amorphous distance, occur with the gentle insistence of a dream. The opening Call Myself calmly unfolds a fabric of long tones from electronic organ and guitar, combining the sliding, aleatoric effects of classic David Behrman with a more hands-on feel. Over the top of this slowly shifting tonal bed, cole’s voice mutters unintelligibly into a Buchla synth, teasing the listener by suggesting a meaning that remains always out of the ear’s reach. Francis Debacle (Uno) builds on the foundations of a heavily amplified session of the titular card game, overlaying vocal murmurs and exhalations and mysterious room-sounds to create an impossible aural environment. On Burrata, a palette of vintage 1980s digital synthesizer sounds combined with guitars create an irregular texture of lush chords and bubbling melodic details, into which cole’s voice processed by a vocoder, is interwoven, reading fragments of romantic correspondence. Finally, on Pad Phet Gob, field recordings made in Thailand become an ambiguously acoustic/electronic rainforest, eventually giving way to a mysterious, wavering electronic tone-field punctuated by sibilant, popping mouth-sounds. Carving out an intimate and human sonic space across a diverse array of compositional approaches, sound sources, fidelities and textures, Hotel Record is the latest dispatch from the continuing explorations of a unique duo. Ambarchi and cole reimagine electro-acoustic music, not simply as ‘abstract’ sound, but as a diary, a love poem, a dream." Photography by crys cole and design via Stephen O’Malley. Mastered by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin February 2017. 

Crys Cole & Oren Ambarchi – Hotel Record

10th anniversary reissue of this rhythmically churning one-man-band monster of an album, recorded in a single inspired studio session & originally released in 2012 on Editions Mego.From the original Editions Mego press release:“For anyone who still associates Oren Ambarchi exclusively with the clipped, bass-heavy tones of solo electric guitar works such as Suspension, this rhythmically churning one-man-band monster of an album-length piece might seem to come out of nowhere. However, listeners who have followed the breadth of his work for the last few years (solo and in projects with collaborators from Jim O’Rourke to Stephen O’Malley and Keith Rowe to Keiji Haino) will have noted how Ambarchi has allowed increasingly clear traces of his enthusiasms as a music listener (for classic rock, minimal techno and 70’s fusion, among other areas) to surface in his performances and recordings, all the time filtering them through his signature long-form structures and psychoacoustic sonics.Recorded in a single inspired studio session, Sagittarian Domain displaces Ambarchi’s trademark guitar sound from the centre of the mix, its presence felt only as an occasional ghostly reverberated shimmer. Endlessly pulsating guitar and bass lines sit alongside electronic percussion and thundering motorik drumming (familiar from his work with Keiji Haino) at the core of the piece, locking into a voodoo groove like Faust covering a 70’s cop show theme. The work is founded on hypnotic almost-repetition, the accents of the drum hits and interlocking bass and guitar lines shifting almost imperceptibly back and forwards over the beat as they undergo gradual transformations of timbre. Cut-up and phase-shifted strings enter around the half-way mark like an abstracted memory of the eastern-tinged fusion of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s classic Visions of the Emerald Beyond, before returning for an extended, stark yet affecting come-down coda, equal parts Gavin Bryars and Purple Rain.While Sagittarian Domain contains traces of a diversity of influences, it mines all of them to uncover something that is clearly an extension of Ambarchi’s own investigations up to this point, exhibiting the same care for micro-detail and surrender to the physicality of sound that are present in all of his work, extending them in new ways to repetition, pulse and rhythm”. 

Oren Ambarchi – Sagittarian Domain

Black Truffle is pleased to announce Live Hubris, documenting the hypnotic and electrifying live performance of Oren Ambarchi’s 2016 LP Hubris by a fifteen-strong band at London’s Café OTO. Over three days in May 2019, Oto toasted Oren Ambarchi at 50/Black Truffle at 10 with Ambarchi and a large group of close friends and collaborators in a series of performances that interspersed existing projects with new collective endeavours, culminating with this: fourteen members of the extended Black Truffle family together on stage, joined by one special virtual guest, to translate the intricately studio-constructed layers of Hubris into a muscular live band workout.Operating with only the bare minimum of pre-gig preparation after the planned afternoon rehearsal had to be wrapped up prematurely due to noise complaints, the gargantuan group lurches into motion with a 21-minute rendition of ‘Hubris Part 1’, powered by the pulsating electronics of Konrad Sprenger (the ‘ringmaster’ at the ensemble’s core) and no less than seven electric guitars spinning a web of intricately interlocking palm-muted polyrhythms. The layers of closely related but metrically distinct lines create ripples of shifting accents, flickering changes in emphasis that ricochet along the endless central pulse. Gradually building in density, this motorik continuum becomes the backdrop for the haunting tones of Eiko Ishibashi’s processed flute and an extended feature from long-distance guest Jim O’Rourke on guitar synth.After the brief interlude of the second part, where Albert Marcoeur-esque guitar arpeggios accompany a halting attempt at phone conversation, the full ensemble gears up for the epic side-long rendition of ‘Hubris Part 3’. Now joined by the astonishing triple drum line-up of Joe Talia, Will Guthrie and Andreas Werliin, the layered pulse of the opening piece becomes a burning funk-fusion groove. Beginning on a medium simmer, the ensemble initially stick to its pulsating one-note mantra, over which Ambarchi unfurls a beautiful example of his signature shimmering Leslie-toned guitar harmonics, eventually joined by Ishibashi’s flute and some brooding, distorted dissonance from Julia Reidy’s guitar. Building steadily for the first nine minutes, the heat then rises dramatically with a first, gloriously loose chord change: with the all drummers now rolling and tumbling like a twice-cloned Jack DeJohnette circa 1970, Mats Gustafsson enters on baritone, his tortured roars and shrieks driving the band to peaks of insane intensity. Finally, the exhausted ensemble drops out, leaving only the jagged, skittering fuzz of Ambarchi’s guitar, brought to an abrupt conclusion at the command of crys cole.

Oren Ambarchi – Live Hubris

Past events