“The guitar is on the edge of chaos due to the constant feedback. It’s thrilling, trying to control something that is out of control by its very nature”: With a Les Paul and a table full of pedals, Oren Ambarchi builds extraordinary sonic worlds

Oren Ambarchi performs live
(Image credit: Pieter Kers | Beeld.nu)

“Guitars & whatnot” is how Oren Ambarchi has been describing his choice of instrumentation in recent years. If that suggests nothing out of the ordinary, the reality is altogether different. Listeners new to Ambarchi’s music would be forgiven for doubting they were hearing any guitars at all.

Ambarchi avoids familiar chord progressions, riffs and song forms in favor of shimmering organ-like tones, glitches, pulses and evolving rhythmic motifs. Using a tabletop bank of pedals and mixer, which he manipulates on the fly, he creates a three-dimensional field of sound that belies its origin in his Gibson Les Paul. 

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