Jim O'Rourke is a Tokyo-based American performer, composer and record producer.
Born 1969 in Chicago. O’Rourke encountered the music of Derek Bailey as youngster and began visiting him in London at the age of 13. Eyes opened to the power of improvisational guitar, he released several of his own highly experimental works and has worked closely with John Fahey and Loren Mazzacane Connors. During his long association with the Chicago experimental and improv scene O’Rourke participated in several bands and projects including Gastr Del Sol and Loose Fur. His work with Takehisa Kosugi music director of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as well as Tony Conrad, Arnold Dreyblatt, Christian Wolff and others built bridges between contemporary and popular music. O’Rourke’s release of landmark albums Bad Timing and Happy Days in 1997 and Eureka in 1999 garnered much attention. From 1999 to 2005 he was a member of Sonic Youth, playing bass, guitar and synthesizer as well as recording and mixing the band. In 2004 he won a Grammy Award for his production of Wilco’s A Ghost is Born. O’Rourke has also earned a loyal following for his participation in numerous albums by various artists around the world. He has a deep knowledge of Japanese culture and currently lives in Tokyo. Some of his many production credits in Japan include Quruli, Kahimi Karie, and Eiko Ishibashi. He also continues to be a consummate collaborator, working with Akira Sakata, Merzbow, Yoshihide Otomo, Seiichi Yamamoto, Boredoms and others. His recordings of Toru Takemitsu’s Corona for pianists Tokyo Realization was awarded the Agency for Cultural Affairs Arts Festival Award for Excellence in 2006. He has also scored films by Werner Herzog, Olivier Assayas, Shinji Aoyama, Koji Wakamatsu and others. His own short films have been part of the 2004 and 2006 Whitney Biennial and the 2005 Rotterdam Film Festival. O'Rourke is a diverse and powerful artist. Always searching, his borderless activity goes beyond the common labels Alternative, Post-rock, Experimental-pop, Film music, Free music, Jazz, Americana, Contemporary music and continues to defly classification.