Jim O'Rourke (musician)
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|Born||January 18, 1969|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Instruments||Guitar, synthesizer, piano, bass|
Jim O'Rourke (born January 18, 1969) is an American musician and record producer. He was long associated with the Chicago experimental and improv scene. Around 2000, he relocated to New York before moving on to Tokyo, Japan, where he currently resides. O’Rourke is best known for his numerous solo and collaborative projects, many of which are entirely instrumental, and for his tenure as a member of Sonic Youth from 1999 to 2005.
He has released albums of jazz, noise, glitchy electronica and rock music. O'Rourke has collaborated with Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Kim Gordon, Steve Shelley, Derek Bailey, Mats Gustafsson, Mayo Thompson, Brigitte Fontaine, Loren Mazzacane Connors, Merzbow, Nurse with Wound, Phill Niblock, Fennesz, Organum, Phew, Henry Kaiser, Flying Saucer Attack, and in 2006 mixed Joanna Newsom's album Ys. In 2009, he also mixed several tracks on Newsom's follow up Have One On Me.
He has produced albums by artists such as Sonic Youth, Wilco, Stereolab, Superchunk, Kahimi Karie, Quruli, John Fahey, Smog, Faust, Tony Conrad, The Red Krayola, Bobby Conn, Beth Orton, Joanna Newsom and U.S. Maple. He mixed Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album and produced their 2004 album, A Ghost Is Born, for which he won a Grammy Award for "Best Alternative Album". During the recording of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, O'Rourke collaborated with Wilco member Jeff Tweedy and pre-Wilco Glenn Kotche under the name Loose Fur. Their self-titled debut was released in 2003 with a follow-up in 2006 entitled Born Again in the USA. He also mixed the unfinished recordings that made up a planned third album by the late American singer-songwriter Judee Sill, recorded in 1974 and mixed by O'Rourke for a 2005 release.
O'Rourke was once a member of Illusion of Safety, Gastr Del Sol (with David Grubbs) and Sonic Youth. Beginning in 1999 he played bass guitar, guitar and synthesizer with Sonic Youth, in addition to recording and mixing duties with the group. He withdrew as a full member in late 2005, but continued to play with them in some of their side projects.
In the early 1993, O'Rourke formed an avant-rock group with Darin Gray and Dylan Posa called Brise-Glace. The band released one studio album, When in Vanitas..., in 1994. They also released a 7" in the same year titled In Sisters All and Felony/Angels on Installment Plan.
O'Rourke has also released many albums under his own name on a variety of labels exploring a range of electronic and avant-garde styles. His most well-known works may be his series of releases on Drag City, which focus on more traditional songcraft: Bad Timing (1997), Eureka (1999), Insignificance (2001), The Visitor (2009) and Simple Songs (2015). The titles of the first four albums all refer to films by the British director Nicolas Roeg; the first three by direct reference to film titles, the fourth being titled after a fictional album within Roeg's film The Man Who Fell To Earth.
O'Rourke received a 2001 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.
Since 2013, O'Rourke has used his Steamroom Bandcamp page to release material. Steamroom releases have included reissues of rare or unpublished older material as well as original pieces.
Work in films
- He worked as a music consultant for the 2003 film School of Rock, in which he taught the child actors in the movie how to play the songs. He was supposed to have a cameo role in the film as well, but couldn't do it as he was on tour with Sonic Youth.
- The song "Happy Days" was featured in the Harmony Korine film Julien Donkey-Boy.
- He scored the 2002 film Love Liza, directed by Todd Louiso.
- He scored the 2004 video installation "Fireball" and did the sound design on the documentary "Red Orchestra" by Stefan Roloff.
- He has also scored films by Werner Herzog, Olivier Assayas, Shinji Aoyama, Kōji Wakamatsu, Harmony Korine and others.
- His own short films have been part of the 2004 and 2006 Whitney Biennial and the 2005 Rotterdam Film Festival.
- His first three full-length albums for Drag City are named after three successive films by director Nicolas Roeg: Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession, Eureka, and Insignificance. His fourth Drag City album, The Visitor, is named for an album that appears within Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth, recorded by the film's protagonist Thomas Jerome Newton.
- He scored Kōji Wakamatsu's 3-hour long film United Red Army in 2007.
- He scored Kyle Armstrong's 2012 documentary film Magnetic Reconnection (narrated by Will Oldham).
- He scored the 2014 British film The Creeping Garden.
Drag City discography
- Bad Timing (1997)
- Eureka (1999)
- Halfway to a Threeway EP (1999)
- Insignificance (2001)
- The Visitor (2009)
- Simple Songs (2015)
Partial solo discography
- Some Kind of Pagan (Sound of Pig 1989)
- It Takes Time To Do Nothing (Audiofile Tapes 1990)
- Secure on the Loose Rim (Sound of Pig 1991)
- The Ground Below Above Our Heads (Entenpfuhl 1991)
- Tamper (Extreme Records 1991)
- Disengage (Staalplaat 1992)
- Scend (Divided Records 1992)
- Remove the Need (Extreme Records 1993)
- Rules of Reduction (Metamkine 1993)
- When in Vanitas... (Skin Graft 1994)
- Terminal Pharmacy (Tzadik Records 1995)
- Happy Days (Revenant Records 1997)
- Bad Timing (Drag City 1997)
- Eureka (Drag City 1999)
- Halfway to a Threeway EP (Drag City 1999)
- Insignificance (Drag City 2001)
- I'm Happy and I'm Singing and a 1, 2, 3, 4 (Mego 2001)
- Old News Volume 1 (2002)
- Old News Volume 2 (2002)
- Mizu No Nai Umi (vector7/HEADZ54 2005)
- Corona / Tokyo Realization (Columbia Music Entertainment 2006) Japan only release. Dedicated to Tōru Takemitsu
- The Visitor (Drag City 2009) Dedicated to Derek Bailey.
- All Kinds of People ~ Love Burt Bacharach (AWDR 2010)
- Imikuzushi (Black Truffle Records 2012)
- Simple Songs (Drag City 2015)
- Sleep Like It's Winter (Newhere Music 2018)
- Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 721. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
- Richards, Sam (18 May 2015). "Jim O'Rourke: indie's unsung perpetual polymath". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
- Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 522-3
- Bowe, Miles (2018-07-26). "Catching Up With Jim O'Rourke". Stereogum.com. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
- Lim, Dennis (2008-06-22). "Soft-Core Auteur Turns Attention to Radicals". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
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