Oren Ambarchi, Cleared, Winters in Osaka | Empty Bottle | Experimental | Chicago Reader
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Oren Ambarchi, Cleared, Winters in Osaka Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., Sept. 5, 9:30 p.m. 2012
Price: $14, $12 in advance
In a blog post I wrote a few months ago about Australian experimental musician Oren Ambarchi, I said that one constant in his career—during which he's regularly rejiggered his approach—has been a microscopic exploration of sound. But he just released a new solo album, Sagittarian Domain (Editions Mego), that would've forced me to make that claim with an asterisk. Its single 33-minute track relies on big, forceful gestures—its muscular, hypnotizing groove recalls the heyday of This Heat, with Krautrockish live percussion, cheap drum machine, throbbing Moog bass, and shifting layers of guitar. A steady tic-tac lick runs through most of the piece, and here and there swooshes of flanged-out, acid-caked feedback and churning long tones overtake the motorik pulsations. Twenty-nine minutes in, Ambarchi delivers the payoff: all this sound recedes, replaced by the plangent tones of sedate, stately string trio. Earlier this summer, he appeared on In the Mouth of a Hand (Rune Grammofon) with Swedish trio Fire!—saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, multi-instrumentalist Johan Berthling, and drummer Andreas Werliin—and melded his viscous, vicious guitar playing with the group's enveloping sound, slathering every empty space with crushing walls of richly textured noise. What Ambarchi will do for this rare Chicago solo set is a mystery to me, but I can't wait for the answer. —Peter Margasak Cleared and Winters in Osaka open.

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