Wednesday, September 2, 2009

2004 : 21 "Corkscrew" by Oren Ambarchi

As a fan of experimental guitar music, there were three artists whose work I followed closely throughout the Aughts: Christian Fennesz, Keith Rowe, and Oren Ambarchi. These players used a variety of unorthodox methods to expand the guitar's atmospheric and textural vocabulary, establishing the instrument's continued relevance to "post-guitar" genres like electronica, ambient music, minimalism, and drone.

All three of them were well worth watching—and the 2006 album Four Gentlemen of the Guitar where they jam together with non-guitarist Toshimaru Nakamura is essential—but I wanted to give Ambarchi a post of his own (this blog has already looked at Rowe and Fennesz, after all). And Ambarchi, comparatively, is no slouch: he released a string of great albums in the Aughts, beginning with Suspension (2001) and running up to In The Pendulum's Embrace (2007). The one that really stands out for me, though, is Grapes From The Estate (2004), a collection of four fantastic tracks which showcase Ambarchi at his best. "Corkscrew," the lead track, is like a black leather sofa made by an avant-garde designer: it can be appreciated either intellectually (for the originality and solidity of its structure) or sensually (for its lushness, richness, physical presence). This music is directed, stunningly confident, and highly recommended.

Jeremy Bushnell

Listen: Oren Ambarchi >> "Corkscrew"

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