Inner_Spaces #5: R/S, Oren Ambarchi & Thomas Brinkmann

May 2nd, 2016
Auditorium San Fedele
Via Hoepli 3B, Milan

In collaboration with S/V/N and San Fedele Musica

R/S is the experimental electronic music duo featuring Peter Rehberg and Marcus Schmickler, two of the most dominant and original figures of experimental electronic music. In 2011 they released USA, their second album, follow up to their 2007 One (Snow Mud Rain) on Erstwhile Records.

Peter Rehberg is the founder of the influential Editions Mego family of labels. Perceived as one of the pioneers of synthetic music, Rehberg (aka PITA) ushers now the next phase of his sonic exploration. His approach is the ongoing search of a radical maniac driving us to the shores of experimental electronics, maybe best to be described as visceral synthesis, fishing in the ambient depths of techno. He is fusing distorted electricity with abstract beat patterns and glitches to some form of extreme computer music.

Marcus Schmickler is a Cologne-based researching composer and has produced numerous electronic works, pieces for ensembles, choirs and orchestra. Many of his works are informed by scientific subjects as well as methods. A multi-faceted composer and producer, his interests revolve around the brain and its adaptation to multiple auditory stimuli. Schmickler has written music for ensembles, installations, theater, and radio, meanwhile also producing under multiple pseudonyms like Pluramon, and Wabi Sabi. A recipient of multiple prizes and scholarships, including the Ars Electronica; Schmickler held a lengthy seat as a member of the jury for the German Music Council, and is a co-creator of the eclectic A-Musik record distributor, known for its avant-garde and experimental releases.

Oren Ambarchi and Thomas Brinkmann‘s first collaborative work as a duo is The Mortimer Trap, an epic 77-minute “variation” of Morton Feldman’s For Bunita Marcus released in 2012. The two collaborated again on Ambarchi‘s album Quixotism which was listed in The Wire magazine’s top 50 releases of 2014.

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. Ambarchi has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists such as Fennesz, Charlemagne Palestine, Sunn 0)), Thomas Brinkmann, Keiji Haino, Alvin Lucier, John Zorn, Merzbow, Jim O’Rourke, Keith Rowe, and many more.

German artist Thomas Brinkmann (b.1959) is an innovator and iconic producer of experimental minimal techno music. After leaving the Art Academy of Düsseldorf in the eighties he began experimenting with vinyl records. Through the mid-90’s Brinkmann became known for his unique techniques utilizing customized dual-tone-arm turntables and generating live beats and patterns by cutting directly into prepared vinyl with razors. He gained a wide reputation with his re-workings of material by fellow artists Mike Ink and Richie Hawtin, released in the second half of the 90s. Brinkmann later founded the Ernst record label and introduced his own productions on a series of 12″ records taking their titles from female names. He has since expanded his extensive production catalog on his own Max Ernst label, as well as other highly respected labels such as Traum Schallplatten, Raster-Noton, Mute Records (under the Soul Center alias) and Editions Mego.

Cover Photo: Thomas Brinkmann, Antonio Rasi Caldogno

Knots by Oren Ambarchi and Will Guthrie, Bill Orcutt, Thomas Ankersmit

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Knots by Oren Ambarchi and Will Guthrie, Bill Orcutt, Thomas Ankersmit

Oren Ambarchi presents the live version of KNOTS, the epic centrepiece of his 2012 release on Touch Audience Of One, described by Mojo as the “undoubted standout on the Australian guitarist’s stunning new album – nothing can prepare you for its awesome power“. Since then he has presented the piece around the world in various configurations (documented on the recent acclaimed Live Knots release on PAN). This version will feature a special collaboration with Will Guthrie on drums.

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“. Ambarchi was chosen as experimental artist of the year by Pitchfork magazine.

Will Guthrie is an Australian drummer and percussionist. He works in many different settings of music: live performance, improvisation and studio composition using various combinations of drums, percussion, objects, amplification and electronics.

PAN53
Bill Orcutt
Miami, Florida, US

Official Website + Discogs + Soundcloud

Born in Miami in the year of the Cuban missile crisis and educated in Florida’s finest institutions, Bill Orcutt is usually recognised as the co-founder of the band Harry Pussy. Formed in 1991 and featuring Orcutt on 4-string guitar – a practice carried over, developed, and refined from circumstantial adolescent experiements in working around absent strings – and Adris Hoyos on drums and vocals, with a second auxiliary guitarist added in later years, the groups sound centred on its completely unhinged ferociousness. With those furious eruptions, Harry Pussy drafted the blueprint – combining hardcore punk’s brutish speed blended with the art school caterwaul of No Wave – for the next two decades of Noise-rock. In five years, they toured the US and Canada with the likes of Sonic Youth, Dead C, Charalambides and Pelt and produced over twenty different releases on record labels of varying degrees of accessibility, most regularly for the Philadelphia-based experimental music imprint, Slitbreeze.

Twenty years later, Bill Orcutt still only plays four strings, but now they are attached to a vintage acoustic Kay that has withstood enough damage an repair that it requires custom tuning to stay in one piece. Sometimes clanging and ominous, other times mournful and slight, strangely alienating, but simultaneously vunerable and cathartic, his music is compared with equal frequency to avant-garde composers and rural bluesman.

Photo: Körber-Stiftung /
Claudia Höhne
Photo: Körber-Stiftung / Claudia Höhne
Thomas Ankersmit
Lives and works in Berlin

Official WebsiteDiscogs + Soundcloud

Acoustic phenomena such as sound reflections, infrasonic vibration, otoacoustic emissions, and highly directional projections of sound have been an important part of Ankersmit’s work since the early 2000’s. His music is also characterized by a deliberate misuse of the equipment, using feedback and disruptions to the signal, and the extremes of frequency and dynamics, to create visceral but finely detailed swarms of sound.

Since 2006 his main instrument, both live and in the studio, has been the Serge analogue modular synthesizer.

Ankersmit collaborated with Valerio Tricoli on Forma II, a series of electroacoustic pieces released on the PAN label, and on music based on the acoustics of abandoned radar domes. Both projects were honoured by Ars Electronica.

Ankersmit´s music is released on the Touch, Ash International and PAN labels. His sound and installation work have been presented at venue, galleries and festivals for experimental and contemporary music all over the world.

Oren Ambarchi, Pita and Bill Kouligas

Oren Ambarchi, Pita and Bill Kouligas
Artwork by Philip Marshall
Artwork by Philip Marshall
Oren Ambarchi
Melbourne, Australia

Official Website + Discogs + Black Truffle + Bandcamp

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 releases such as Grapes From The Estate and In The Pendulum’s Embrace Ambarchi 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 has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists such as Fennesz, Charlemagne Palestine, Sunn 0)), Thomas Brinkmann, Keiji Haino, Alvin Lucier, John Zorn, Merzbow, Jim O’Rourke, Keith Rowe and many more.

Ambarchi has released numerous recordings for labels such as Touch, Southern Lord, Editions Mego, Drag City, Kranky and Tzadik. His solo release Sagittarian Domain was voted #1 in Spin magazine’s Best Avant albums of 2012.

Peter Rehberg aka Pita
Lives and works in Vienna, Austria

Editions Mego + Soundcloud + Discogs

PITA is the pseudonym of Editions Mego founder Peter Rehberg. Perceived as one of the pioneers of synthetic music, PITA ushers now the next phase of his sonic exploration. His approach is the ongoing search of a radical maniac driving us to the shores of experimental electronics, maybe best to be described as visceral synthesis, fishing in the ambient depths of techno. He is fusing distorted electricity with abstract beat patterns and glitches to some form of extreme computer music. As head of the influential Editions Mego family of labels, he has released albums by internationally renowned artists like Fennesz, Kevin Drumm, Emeralds, Florian Hecker, Bernard Parmegiani, Russell Haswell, KTL, Akos Rozmann, Donato Dozzy, Mark Fell…

Bill Kouligas
Lives and works in Berlin

PAN + Soundcloud + Discogs

Bill Kouligas is a Berlin-based artist, designer and musician. His insistence on following his own path and passions has won acclaim from thinkers, collectors, and dancers alike and he puts his vision at the forefront of the electronic vanguard. He is founder of PAN, which recalibrates perceptions of the avant-garde, sound art and electronic dance music. Kouligas has performed and produced experimental and electronic music for nearly fifteen years under several aliases. He has curated and performed at numerous concerts and showcases at MoMA PS1, V&A, Lyon Biennial, South London Gallery, Tate Modern, Southbank Centre, DESTE Foundation, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, and ZKM.