Interview: Oren Ambarchi of noise trio Nazoranai
Group featuring Keiji Haino, Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O'Malley tour UK
From the darkest reaches of space comes Nazoranai, featuring Japanese underground legend Keiji Haino, Stephen O'Malley of avant-metal overlords Sunn 0))) and Australian experimentalist Oren Ambarchi. On their 2012 debut, Haino's bleakly beautiful guitar and diabolical vocals slice through the creeping mass of O'Malley's bass and Ambarchi's minimalist drums; what they have in store for Glasgow, however, is anyone's guess.
'I try to keep all my collaborative projects spontaneous and organic. Working in this trio is no different', explains Ambarchi. 'I've worked with Haino-san many times and it's always different - he constantly likes to pull the carpet from under your feet... There's always elements of ritual and the psychedelic (in the truest sense of word) in a Nazoranai performance. Both Stephen and I are “fans” of Haino, and rabid fans of music in general, so we're happy to support and complement Haino's flights as much as we can'.
As a prolific solo artist on labels such as Touch, Editions Mego and Bo' Weavil, and a serial collaborator, Ambarchi was well placed to join Haino and O'Malley in Nazoranai. Haino and Ambarchi have a trio with Jim O'Rourke, while Ambarchi and O'Malley have collaborated in Sunn 0)), Gravetemple, and most recently at Glasgow's Tectonics festival. 'Stephen and I both played a show with Haino when he joined Sunn 0)) for a performance in Canada in 2006. One thing lead to another and we began performing as Nazoranai in 2011'.
'Stephen and I are both incredibly fortunate to work with an artist like Haino-san. He is one of the towering figures to emerge from the Japanese underground, a maverick whose every performance, ranging across a multitude of instruments, projects and collaborators, is marked by his unmistakeable personal touch - a singular, sustained, ritualistic intensity which borders on the mystical'.
Ambarchi testifies to the impact Haino's music has had on him.
'I have been following Haino-san's work since I first saw him perform in 1992. I was living in New York and had been since the late 80s. Up until that point I had seen many "great" guitarists perform. All of them were technically proficient and did all the right things but when I saw Haino there was a difference. My first reaction was confusion which is usually a good sign. Soon after I was moved. The guy had personality and he'd created his own personal sound world. Since I was young I'd always been attracted to electronics and the guitar & I thought, "that's it! When I get home I'm going play guitar!" It was a revelation! He wasn't a “technical” player, but his playing was so utterly personal I decided I had to do it and “find my way”. I knew absolutely nothing about how to play the guitar but that didn't stop me. So at the age of 23 after seeing Haino-san I decided to switch from drums to guitar'.
It's barely three months since his last visit, but Ambarchi is looking forward to returning to Glasgow. 'I've played in Glasgow three times now, and each time it has been with completely different projects and in completely different contexts. However it's always been a pleasure. There are many creative artists from Glasgow that have produced important, personal works that I am fond of, so it's always stimulating meeting people and catching up when I visit. The audiences seem enthusiastic which makes it exciting for me. Being a single-malt enthusiast doesn't hurt either'.
Stereo, Glasgow, Wed 10 July