Oren Ambarchi renews the focus on his unique approach to the electric guitar, joining with Downtown NY Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista on congas, shakers and berimbau, in a duo based on Ambarchi's explorative playing, also conjuring organ and piano tones, as each side-long piece take the listener on a journey of passionate playing of subtlety and warmth.
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Label: Editions Mego
Catalog ID: EMEGO 264LP
Squidco Product Code: 27538
Recorded at Figure 8 Recording, in Brooklyn, New York, in July, 2018, by Randall Dunn; Out Of My Mind Recording Studio, in New Jersey, in July, 2018, by Iuri Oriente; Choose Studio, in Berlin, Germany, in October and November, 2018, by Jorg Hiller; Duffy's Taxi iPhone recording, in Winnipeg, Canada, in September, 2018.
Oren Ambarchi-guitar, editing
Cyro Baptista-percussion, voice
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• Show Bio for Oren Ambarchi
"Oren Ambarchi is a composer and multi-instrumentalist with longstanding interests in transcending conventional instrumental approaches. His work focuses mainly on the exploration of the guitar, "re-routing the instrument into a zone of alien abstraction where it's no longer easily identifiable as itself. Instead, it's a laboratory for extended sonic investigation". (The Wire, UK).
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."-Oren Ambarchi Website (http://orenambarchi.com/category/biography/)
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• Show Bio for Cyro Baptista
"Cyro Baptista (born December 23, 1950) is a Brazilian musician, teacher, and recording artist specializing in percussion in the genres of jazz and world music.
Born in Sčo Paulo, Brazil, Baptista arrived in the U.S. in 1980 with a scholarship to Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York. He has recorded and toured regularly with popular musicians and groups. Baptista creates many of the percussion instruments he plays.
Baptista recorded with pianist Herbie Hancock on his 2005 release, Possibilities. In 2002 Baptista toured with Yo-Yo Ma’s Brazil Project and also appeared on the Obrigado Brazil album – winner of two Grammy awards. He also toured with Trey Anastasio of Phish and John Zorn. He recorded and performed worldwide with Herbie Hancock’s Grammy award-winning Gershwin’s World. Baptista collaborated with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra for a Brazilian Carnival modern jazz concert. For over two years, he toured with Paul Simon's Rhythm of the Saints tour and appears on his Concert in Central Park release. He also toured worldwide with Sting in 2001.
Baptista has performed or recorded with many artists, including: Trey Anastasio, Laurie Anderson, Derek Bailey, Gato Barbieri, Daniel Barenboim, Kathleen Battle, David Byrne, Dr. John, Brian Eno, Melissa Etheridge, Stephen Kent, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Medeski Martin & Wood, Robert Palmer, Carlos Santana, Tim Sparks, Spyro Gyra, Sting, James Taylor, Michael Tilson Thomas, Yo-Yo Ma, and John Zorn. He has also played with many noted Brazilian artists such as Badi Assad, Ivan Lins, Marisa Monte, Milton Nascimento, Nana Vasconcelos and Caetano Veloso.
Baptista has performed on five Grammy award-winning albums: Yo-Yo Ma’s Obrigado Brazil, Cassandra Wilson’s Blue Light 'Til Dawn, The Chieftains’ Santiago, Ivan Lins’ A Love Affair, and Herbie Hancock’s Gershwin’s World. A documentary on Baptista’s project, Beat the Donkey, recorded for the WGBH-TV Boston program ‘La Plaza’, won 3 New England EMMY Awards in 2002.
Baptista appeared in Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel's 1990 documentary film on Fred Frith, Step Across the Border. He has also composed music for programs on the children's television network Nickelodeon.
Baptista formed Beat the Donkey, a percussion and dance ensemble in 2002. The debut self-titled album Beat the Donkey (Tzadik) was picked by Jon Pareles of The New York Times as one of the ten best alternative albums of 2002. Readers of JAZZIZ magazine and DRUM magazine voted it "Best Brazilian CD of the Year" and named Baptista "Best Percussionist of 2002." Down Beat magazine's 51st annual critics' poll selected Baptista as 'Rising Star' in percussion. The group released its second album, Love the Donkey on John Zorn's independent Tzadik record label in 2005.
Baptista's first solo recording in 1997, Villa Lobos/Vira Loucos, is a mix of his own compositions with the work of the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. It was called "the most courageous, bright, funny, dramatic, and imaginative work in recent memory."
Blue Note Records released Supergenerous, a duo CD recorded with guitarist Kevin Breit (KD Lang, Cassandra Wilson). Billboard called Supergenerous "pure aural pleasure" and the Washington Post noted it "a marvelous debut that manages to feel outside and intimate at the same time."
Baptista conducts educational "rhythm workshops" in a variety of formats. He has provided presentations for a range of audiences, from elementary school children to professional musicians.
He has conducted workshops and master classes at numerous institutions throughout the world. These include Berklee College of Music (Boston), The New School (New York City), Drummer's Collective (New York City), Mannes College of Music (New York City), New World Symphony Orchestra (Miami) and Rimon School of Music (Tel-Aviv, Israel).
In 2009 Baptista won a Fellow Award in Music from United States Artists.
Baptista plays congas, bongos, tambourine, maracas, caxixi, agogo bells, pandeiro, pandora, cuica, bells, gong, drums, ceramic drums, surdo, berimbau, shaker, triangle, temple blocks, bass drum, metal percussion, campana, caja, udu, arrelegos, bell tree, bottles, washboard, rubboard, hadgini, cowbell, timbales, shekere, wood block, repique, Rototoms, cabasa, apito, mark tree, whistles, shekere, tabla, talking drum, finger cymbals, Chinese bells, tamborim, snare drum, whistles, typewriter, Alfaia, bird calls, clay drums, cymbals, kalimba, wind chimes, tom-toms, water gong, vacuum cleaner, water phone, peneira cheia, alarm clock, and other percussion."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyro_Baptista)
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1. Palm Sugar Candy 16:02
1. Simian Angel 20:12
sample the album:
"Simian Angel finds Oren Ambarchi renewing his focus on his singular approach to the electric guitar, returning in part to the spacious canvases of classic releases like Grapes From The Estate (BT 036LP/TO 061CD) while also following his muse down previously unexplored byways. Reflecting Ambarchi's profound love of Brazilian music, Simian Angel features the remarkable percussive talents of Cyro Baptista, a key part of the Downtown scene who has collaborated with everyone from John Zorn and Derek Bailey to Robert Palmer and Herbie Hancock.
Like the music of Nana Vasconcelos and Airto Moreira, Simian Angel places Baptista's dexterous and rhythmically nuanced handling of traditional Brazilian percussion instruments into an unexpected musical context. On the first side, "Palm Sugar Candy", Baptista's spare and halting rhythms wind their way through a landscape of gliding electronic tones, gently rising up and momentarily subsiding until the piece's final minutes leave Ambarchi's guitar unaccompanied. While the rich, swirling harmonics of Ambarchi's guitar performance are familiar to listeners from his previous recordings, the subtly wavering, synthetic guitar tone you hear is quite new, coming across at times like an abstracted, splayed-out take on the '80s guitar synth work of Pat Metheny or Bill Frisell.
Equally new is the harmonic complexity of Ambarchi's playing, which leaves behind the minimalist simplicity of much of his previous work for a constantly-shifting play between lush consonance and uneasy dissonance. Beginning with a beautiful passage of unaccompanied percussion dominated by the berimbau, the side-long title piece carries on the first side's exploration of subtle, non-linear dynamic arcs, taking the form of a gently episodic suite, in which distinctive moments, like a lyrical passage of guitar-triggered piano, unexpectedly arise from intervals of drifting tones like dream images suddenly cohering. In the piece's second half, the piano tones become increasingly more clipped and synthetic, scattering themselves into aleatoric melodies that call to mind an imaginary collaboration between Albert Marcoeur and David Behrman, grounded all the while by the pulse of Baptista's percussion.
Subtle yet complex, fleeting yet emotionally affecting, Simian Angel is an essential chapter in Ambarchi's restlessly exploratory oeuvre."-Edition Mego
"The Australian multi-instrumentalist pushes his wispy electroacoustic music into warmer, more melodic territory.
The Australian multi-instrumentalist Oren Ambarchi has made the single LP side his canvas. His wispy electroacoustic pieces tend to work best at 15 to 20 minutes a pop-compact enough to retain their focus, yet roomy enough to reward immersion. Simian Angel demonstrates Ambarchi's mastery of the form across a pair of aqueous ambient explorations shot through with loosely tangled melodic lines.
Simian Angel has the free-associative drift of his loosest improv pieces and a sublimated sense of groove. It opens tentatively, with a watery, synth-like tone drizzled over Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista's patient, pitter-pat conga slaps. Two minutes pass like this, then four; in the background, counterpoint synth pads glisten like frost on a field. Whatever instrument Ambarchi is playing-on the sleeve, he is credited simply with "guitars & whatnot"-his melodic figures have a searching quality, like water trickling downhill. Gradually, his tone fattens, and as Baptista trades the congas for gentle shaker rhythms, the spectrum fills with a thrumming, organ-like buzz. It ends as gradually as it began, settling into the root note like an old house cooling after a hot summer's day.
On the B-side, the title track offers a more vigorous take on the same basic material. It opens with a twangy, percussive pattern played on the berimbau-an acoustic string instrument capable of psychedelic pitch-shifting and tremolo effects-that gives the track a forceful push. That momentum carries "Simian Angel" across its 20-minute runtime, even though Baptista sits out for long stretches. Here, Ambarchi uses his guitar first to conjure those organ-like tones (an effect he achieves by running his instrument through a Leslie speaker, whose tremolo is closely associated with the sound of the Hammond organ) and then a bright, crisp facsimile of acoustic piano. Both tracks are powered by melodic instincts that have rarely played such a dominant role in Ambarchi's music. Over the years, he's shown us plenty of sides to his playing-brainy, brawny, barely there-but on Simian Angel, we get a glimpse of something new: something sensitive, probing, and even whimsical."-Philip SherburneAlso available on CD.
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