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

"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

"Face Time is the second release from the trio of Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger, and James Rushford, following on from their 2016 debut Pale Calling. Recorded at the GRM studios in Paris in June 2017, the record immediately returns to the idiosyncratic sound-world of the trio’s first release, a simmering stew of electronic smears, pitched-down animal moans, and mysteriously emotive microtonal organ chords. But before long the record takes an unexpected turn, as sounds that initially enter as occasional percussive pitter-patter build to a halting rhythm. Equally reminiscent of Basic Channel-style dub techno and the sound of a microphone loose in a pocket, these stumbling rhythmic figures provide the framework for the remainder of the record’s two sides, occasionally receding into the background to allow squelching electronics, chiming bells, distorted autoharp, inchoate grunts and the sound of a Cristal Baschet to take centre stage, but each time returning with the inevitability of a an idée fixe. Eschewing any clear sense of form, the two side-long pieces move seamlessly through episodes with the organic flow of improvisation, embracing the happy accidents of events conjoined by chance and lingering on liminal moments. Gradually washing out into a cavernous roar, the record’s final moments are suddenly enlivened by shimmering metallic percussion and a sequence of woozy synth chords, combining with the muted rhythms and a distant thunderstorm to become a sort of oneiric tribute to the work of Wally Badarou. Bringing together three of contemporary experimental music’s most individual voices, Face Time is an essential slice of outsider electro-acoustics. Cover design by Stephen O’Malley. Mastered by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin."

Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger, James Rushford – Face Time

For its 50th release, Black Truffle presents the ninth album from one of the label’s core ensembles, the power trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O’Rourke, and Oren Ambarchi. Drawn from a November 2015 performance at Tokyo’s now-defunct SuperDeluxe, the record’s opening piece drops us immediately into the maelstrom, abruptly cutting into an extended episode of Ambarchi’s pummeling drums, O’Rourke’s fuzzed-out six-string bass, and Haino’s roaring guitar and electronics. Eventually settling into a hypnotic bass and drum groove over which Haino unleashes some almost Ray Russell-eque skittering atonal screech, these opening 13 minutes act as a potent reminder of the trio’s power. Alongside showcasing the steady development of a unique language for the guitar-bass-drums power trio, the group’s succession of releases over the last decade has demonstrated a constant experimentation with new instruments, which continues here with O’Rourke use of Hammond organ (played at the same time as his roaming, sometimes knotty basslines). On the album’s second piece, the organ plays a key role, furnishing a harmonically rich shimmer over O’Rourke’s angular six-string bass chords, Haino’s distant, chirping electronics and Ambarchi’s crisp cymbal work; arriving somewhere halfway between Albert Marcoeur and Terje Rypdal, this piece is undoubtedly a highlight in the trio’s catalog so far. The second and third sides are slow-burning, multi-part epics that range from spacious reflection to furious tumult. Where the trio’s previous double-LP set — This Dazzling, Genuine “Difference” Now Where Shall It Go? (BT 030LP, 2017) — was primarily instrumental in focus, here you find Haino’s voice taking the spotlight on the expansive third side, intoning, wailing. and exhorting in Japanese and English over a backdrop that moves from hushed bass and organ atmospherics to rolling toms and cymbal crashes before arriving at an ecstatic finale of searing guitar, tumbling drums and reverb-saturated bass. The fourth side returns to the hypnotic grooves of the opening piece, fixing on a relentless riff and riding it into oblivion under Haino’s roaming psychedelic soloing and jagged chordal slashes.

Keiji Haino / Jim O Rourke / Oren Ambarchi – In the past only geniuses were capable of staging the perfect crime (also known as a revolution) Today anybody can accomplish their aims with the push of the button

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

Forthcoming events

Friday 1 July 2022

Oren Ambarchi / Julia Reidy (duo) + The Transcendence Orchestra + Powell [w/ Michael Amstad + Marte Eknæs] + Simon Fisher Turner - 100% David Bowie DJ set

£27 £25 Advance £18 MEMBERS

Past events