Oren Ambarchi - Intermission 2000-2008

Artwork & design: Jon Wozencroft

Track listing:

1. Intimidator 2. Iron Waves 3. Moving Violation 4. The Strouhal Number 5. A Final Kiss On Poisoned Cheeks

Intermission brings together a range of material Oren Ambarchi has contributed to compilations and limited edition vinyl releases between the years 2000 and 2008. Highlights include two live recordings - an early, fragile solo guitar recording taken from a radio broadcast in 2000 and A Final Kiss On Poisoned Cheeks, his powerful 12" recorded live in Vancouver in 2007 and originally released on Table Of The Elements. Additional tracks include Iron Waves an exclusive track in collaboration with vocalist Paul Duncan and Intimidator featuring Australian pianist/composer Anthony Pateras originally released on Southern Lord.

These are special anomalies in the Ambarchi canon but nonetheless feature the hallmarks of his unique soundworld, all underpinned by his trademark deep guitar tones and meticulous attention to detail. All tracks are newly remastered, many of which are available on CD for first time.

Track notes:

Intimidator Guitars and prepared piano recorded at Jerker House and Enormodome, Melbourne in 2006 Anthony Pateras: Prepared Piano Originally released on the 2LP version of 'In The Pendulum's Embrace' Southern Lord, USA

Iron Waves Remix of Paul Duncan's 'Parasail' from the 'Above The Trees' CD, Hometapes, USA Guitars, Bells, Cymbals recorded at Jerker House, Melbourne and BJB, Sydney in 2008 Previously unreleased

Moving Violation Guitars recorded at Jerker House, Melbourne November 2005 A version was originally released on Touch's 25th anniversary CD, Touch 25, UK

The Strouhal Number Guitar recorded live at 2SER FM Sydney in 2000 by Tony Dupe' Originally released on 'Live & Direct' CD Spunk/Preservation records, Australia

A Final Kiss On Poisoned Cheeks Guitar recorded live at Vancouver New Music Festival Oct 17, 2007 by Gary Morgan Bells and motorised cymbal recorded at BJB, Sydney Originally released as a limited 12" on Table Of The Elements, USA

All tracks remastered by Lachlan Carrick at Moose, Melbourne August 2009


Oren Ambarchi's works are hesitant and tense extended songforms located in the cracks between several schools: modern electronics and processing; laminal improvisation and minimalism; hushed, pensive songwriting; the deceptive simplicity and temporal suspensions of composers such as Morton Feldman and Alvin Lucier; and the physicality of rock music, slowed down and stripped back to its bare bones, abstracted and replaced with pure signal.

From the late 90's his experiments in guitar abstraction and extended technique have led to a more personal and unique sound-world incorporating a broader palette of instruments and sensibilities. On recent releases such as Grapes From The Estate and In The Pendulum's Embrace Ambarchi has employed glass harmonica, strings, bells, piano, drums and percussion, creating fragile textures as light as air which tenuously coexist with the deep, wall-shaking bass tones derived from his guitar.

Ambarchi works with simple constructs and parameters; exploring one idea over an extended duration and patiently teasing every nuance and implication from each texture; the phenomena of sum and difference tones; carefully tended arrangements that unravel gently; unprepossessing melodies that slowly work their way through various permutations; resulting in an otherworldly, cumulative impact of patiently unfolding compositions.

Ambarchi has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists such as Fennesz, Otomo Yoshihide, Pimmon, Keiji Haino, John Zorn, Rizili, Voice Crack, Jim O'Rourke, Keith Rowe, Phill Niblock, Dave Grohl, Gunter Muller, Evan Parker, z'ev, Toshimaru Nakamura, Peter Rehberg, Merzbow and many more. Since 2004 Ambarchi has worked with American avant metal outfit Sunn 0))) contributing to many of their releases and side-projects including their Black One album from 2005 and the recent Monoliths & Dimensions release.

For 10 years together with Robbie Avenaim, Ambarchi was the co-organiser of the What Is Music? festival, Australia’s premier annual showcase of local and international experimental music. The festival hosted over 200 local and international performers. Ambarchi now curates the Maximum Arousal series at The Toff In Town in Melbourne and has recently co-produced an Australian television series on experimental music called Subsonics. Ambarchi recently co-curated the sound program for the 2008 Yokohama Triennale.

Ambarchi has released numerous recordings for international labels such as Touch, Southern Lord, Table Of The Elements and Tzadik. In 2003 his live release Triste received an 'honourary mention' in the Prix Ars Electronica digital music category. Oren Ambarchi is signed to Touch Music.


Dusted (USA):

It never fails; the week after you compile your year-end lists, a record turns up that should have been on one. Intermission 2000-2008 certainly deserves more notice than it’s likely to receive given that is is a semi-archival collection with a November release date because even though it is, as the title suggests, a collection of pauses, its five tracks cohere as a weighty statement of just what Ambarchi is about.

The Australian guitarist/percussionist has one of those discographies that is challenging to track. Higher-profile solo releases, mostly on the Touch label, alternate with limited edition efforts, some vinyl-only, some revised from iteration to iteration. Ambarchi is also an inveterate collaborator who is even harder to pin down in communal mode; heard back to back in a blindfold test, not many newcomers would be likely to locate the same musician’s presence on records by Sunn O))), Sun, the Menstruation Sisters, Four Gentlemen Of The Guitar, and Lasse Marhaug. But you ignore these permutations at your peril, since Ambarchi’s on-the-side activities often match or exceed his top of the line solo releases. You might easily have missed Intermission’s contents since they come from the lower-profile side of his work.

First comes “Intimidator,�? which vinyl partisans may recognize as the fourth-side bonus track from the Southern Lord version of In The Pendulum’s Embrace. There it maintained an ambivalent relationship with the rest the record’s material, since the metallic (but not at all Metal) sonorities of guest Antony Pateras’s prepared piano kept it from mixing easily with the original Touch CD’s music. But despite the afterthought status apparently conferred by virtue of being the added-on track for a boutique format, it summed up Pendulum’s main point, which is also one driven home by Intermission; that the physical presence of sound, more than any given instrument or tone, is Ambarchi’s real material. You don’t just hear the strike of hammer on strings, it seems to lightly brush your collarbone; wavering sine waves seem to dance between your ears; bass notes weigh upon you like the water at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The pressure of each sound is enormous, and yet as soothing as a Zen garden.

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Oren Ambarchi - Intermission 2000-2008

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Track 2:  Live 2 SER FM

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