Oren Ambarchi is an electronic guitarist and percussionist with longstanding interests in transcending conventional instrumental approaches. Born in Sydney, Australia in 1969, he has been performing live since 1986. He was a member of noise band Phlegm with Robbie Avenaim, with whom he now co-organises the What Is Music Festival. His work focuses mainly on the exploration of the guitar, though he also plays percussion in some of his live performances. Recently, he has toured with drone doom band Sunn O))).
Though comfortable in pop, punk, extreme metal, art installation, and other "conventional" settings, Ambarchi seems happiest when turning his guitar towards more expansive and exploratory means. In the spirit of such renegade axe-men as AMM’s Keith Rowe, Christian Fennesz and Kevin Drumm, Ambarchi’s solo improvisations are concerned with making a guitar sound like anything-but-a-guitar. Considering its limited source, Insulation is nothing less than a parade of sonic impossibilities. Ambarchi’s performances transcend his instrument’s apparent range, offering watery gurgle, euphonically fabricated feedback, shimmering phantom notes, wildly zigzagging piezoelectric effects, expressive chirps, and harmonic ghosts. The intimated pulse-rhythms of "Concurrents," "Lungs" and "Murmurs" imply extensive computer trickery (and, indeed, Aussie e-music vet Matthew Thomas did lend a hand), as do the pseudo-breakbeat maneuvers of "Strategem." Remarkably, Ambarchi shuns computerized contrivance or editing artifice, aside from Thomas' subtle input, relying almost solely upon technical ingenuity. That makes his execution of such showstoppers as "Study No. 1" and "Study No. 3," dizzy musique concrète-styled displays of amusing electro-acoustic noises, all the more astonishing.
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