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Black Truffle

Oren Ambarchi's Black Truffle Records "experimental/improv/noise/abstract/etc" label. Big reissues and Aussie relations. 

Black Truffle is pleased to present Sylva Sylvarum, an epic new work from Ora Clementi, the collaborative project of crys cole and James Rushford. Primarily conceived and recorded over several months together in Melbourne, Sylva Sylvarum is a stunning step forward from the mumbled, creaking sound world of the duo’s debut, Cover You Will Softer Me (Penultimate Press, 2014). From the opening ‘Peach of Immortality’, which takes an unpredictable journey from layers of chiming bells, vocal harmonies and lush synth pads to a desolate landscape of half-animal, half-digital wooshes and cries, it is immediately clear that cole and Rushford are working here with an entirely unique sound palette. Throughout the record’s four sides, we hear a large array of carefully detailed synthesizer sounds (many of them recorded at the remarkable Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio), sparse drum machine hits, wind instruments and field recordings of animals, often with a twistedly late 80s/early 90s flavour that at various points calls up New Age references, Robert Ashley’s later operas or the thinned-out textures of early digital GRM. Threaded through this distinctive array of sounds are the two musicians’ voices, sometimes singing, sometimes speaking through varying degrees of manipulation. A guiding thread through the pair’s collaboration, beginning with their initial experiments with lip-readings, the presence of these two voices – cole’s crisp and sibilant, Rushford’s rich and low – reinforces the sense that the music is immersed in itself, less performed by two people than occurring between them. On Sylva Sylvarum, these voices first come to the forefront on the third piece, ‘Dialogue Between a Grandmaster of the Knights Hospitaller and a Genoese Sea Captain’, where in unison they intone fragments of a description of an imaginary space taken from a 17th century utopian text. The two voices resurface periodically thereafter, most stunningly in the unexpected turn into cushiony dream pop on ‘Magic Mountain’. At other points, the subtle manipulation of pitch and intonation in the close-miked vocal performances filters the recitations through a fog of abstraction that climaxes with the almost incomprehensible alternating syllables of the side-long closer ‘Forest of Materials’. --- Black Truffle, 2021

Ora Clementi – Sylva Sylvarum

Black Truffle is pleased to announce For McCoy, a new work by Eiko Ishibashi dedicated to the widely loved character of Jack McCoy, portrayed by Sam Waterston in Law & Order. Following on from Hyakki Yagyō (BT064), For McCoy finds Ishibashi further exploring the unique space she has carved out in recent years, bringing together musique concrète techniques, ECM-inspired jazz, lush layers of synths and hints of pop into immersive and affecting structures crafted in her home studio, aided by a group of close collaborators.Beginning with overlapping layers of descending flute lines, the expansive ‘I Can Feel Guilty About Anything’ (whose two parts stretch out over more than thirty minutes) unfolds with a free-associative logic, embracing dreamlike transitions and unexpected cinematic cuts. As a hovering cloud of synthetic tones and multi-tracked voices fans out from the spare opening moments, Joe Talia’s skittering cymbals settle into a gently propulsive groove, soon joined by melodic fragments performed by Daisuke Fujiwara on multi-tracked saxophone. As the drums cede to field recordings and ominous synth figures, the uncommon meeting of saxophone and electroacoustic techniques call to mind the more spacious moments of Michel Redolfi and André Jaume’s Synclavier-propelled oddity Hardscore or the early work of Gilbert Artman’s Urban Sax. As the piece continues on the LP’s second side, distant dialogue rumbles beneath a surface of processed flutes, blurring into a cavernously reverberant backdrop for stark ascending lines performed by MIO.O on violin. Eventually, the piece settles into a gorgeous passage of abstracted dream pop, where Ishibashi’s multitracked vocal harmonies glide atop synth chords, errant pings and snatches of outdoor sound.Fragments of melodic material reappear throughout the spacious opening piece, finally stepping to the forefront on the closing track, ‘Ask Me How I Sleep at Night’. Here, over a shuffling groove supplied by Jim O’Rourke on double bass and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto on drums, layers of flutes, saxophones and guitars sound out melodies whose combination of twisting irregularity and soulful immediacy calls up prime Keith Jarrett, while their closely voiced harmonies suggest Kenny Wheeler or even Wayne Shorter’s Atlantis. In a classical gesture of closure, the web of melodic lines eventually leads back to the descending flute figures with which the record began. Presented in an immersive, impeccably detailed mix by Jim O’Rourke and arriving in a sleeve featuring Ishibashi’s beautiful drawings of Jack McCoy, For McCoy is an essential release for anyone following the enchanted and unique path being forged by Eiko Ishibashi. 

Eiko Ishibashi – For McCoy

Black Truffle is pleased to announce Live Hubris, documenting the hypnotic and electrifying live performance of Oren Ambarchi’s 2016 LP Hubris by a fifteen-strong band at London’s Café OTO. Over three days in May 2019, Oto toasted Oren Ambarchi at 50/Black Truffle at 10 with Ambarchi and a large group of close friends and collaborators in a series of performances that interspersed existing projects with new collective endeavours, culminating with this: fourteen members of the extended Black Truffle family together on stage, joined by one special virtual guest, to translate the intricately studio-constructed layers of Hubris into a muscular live band workout.Operating with only the bare minimum of pre-gig preparation after the planned afternoon rehearsal had to be wrapped up prematurely due to noise complaints, the gargantuan group lurches into motion with a 21-minute rendition of ‘Hubris Part 1’, powered by the pulsating electronics of Konrad Sprenger (the ‘ringmaster’ at the ensemble’s core) and no less than seven electric guitars spinning a web of intricately interlocking palm-muted polyrhythms. The layers of closely related but metrically distinct lines create ripples of shifting accents, flickering changes in emphasis that ricochet along the endless central pulse. Gradually building in density, this motorik continuum becomes the backdrop for the haunting tones of Eiko Ishibashi’s processed flute and an extended feature from long-distance guest Jim O’Rourke on guitar synth.After the brief interlude of the second part, where Albert Marcoeur-esque guitar arpeggios accompany a halting attempt at phone conversation, the full ensemble gears up for the epic side-long rendition of ‘Hubris Part 3’. Now joined by the astonishing triple drum line-up of Joe Talia, Will Guthrie and Andreas Werliin, the layered pulse of the opening piece becomes a burning funk-fusion groove. Beginning on a medium simmer, the ensemble initially stick to its pulsating one-note mantra, over which Ambarchi unfurls a beautiful example of his signature shimmering Leslie-toned guitar harmonics, eventually joined by Ishibashi’s flute and some brooding, distorted dissonance from Julia Reidy’s guitar. Building steadily for the first nine minutes, the heat then rises dramatically with a first, gloriously loose chord change: with the all drummers now rolling and tumbling like a twice-cloned Jack DeJohnette circa 1970, Mats Gustafsson enters on baritone, his tortured roars and shrieks driving the band to peaks of insane intensity. Finally, the exhausted ensemble drops out, leaving only the jagged, skittering fuzz of Ambarchi’s guitar, brought to an abrupt conclusion at the command of crys cole.

Oren Ambarchi – Live Hubris

Black Truffle is thrilled to announce ViewFinder / Hide & Seek, a new release from acclaimed American experimental composer David Behrman, presenting recordings made in collaboration with Jon Gibson and Werner Durand between 1989 and 2020. Last heard from on Black Truffle as part of the collaborative art song/live electronics madness of She’s More Wild, these recordings find Behrman continuing the pioneering work in interactive electronics that have established him as one of the major living experimental composers.Side A presents excerpts from two live realisations of Unforeseen Events (1989), the fourth in a series of pieces focussing on the interactions between instrumental performers and responsive software. Like the classic earlier works in the series, On the Other Ocean (1977), Interspecies Smalltalk (1984) and Leapday Night (1986), Unforeseen Events is an “unfinished composition” in which a computer system listens for and responds to specific pitch cues from an instrumentalist. Performed by the composer on electronics and Werner Durand on soprano saxophone in Berlin in 1989, the first realisation immediately ushers the listener into an environment of long soprano notes, lush, sustained synth harmonies, randomised percussive interjections and distantly burbling arpeggiated patterns.The 1999 realisation recorded in New York with Jon Gibson on soprano shows how much room for the instrumentalist to affect the course of the music exists in Behrman’s interactive pieces, in which, as he notes, ‘performers have options rather than instructions’. Beginning in a roughly similar area to the version with Durand, this later recording eventually becomes substantially more active, as polyrhythmically layered arpeggios and percussive patterns respond to fast chromatic lines and dynamic phrases from the saxophone, moving Gibson in turn to respond with cycling figures and moments of extended technique that touch on the soprano languages pioneered by players like Steve Lacy and Evan Parker. Yet even at its most active, the lack of conventional forward movement in the music allows it to retain what Behrman’s friend Jacques Bekaert called its ‘fragile tranquillity’, as episodes of activity appear only as momentary disruptions of an underlying calm.On the B side, we are treated to a new collaborative work from Behrman and Werner Durand, building on the 2002 installation work ViewFinder, in which a camera detecting physical motion triggered changes to electronic sound. The piece presented here is a long-distance studio construction, recorded by Behrman in the Hudson Valley and Durand in Berlin, offering up an expansive duet between Behrman’s lush, gliding synth tones and the alien, untempered tones of Durand’s invented and adapted wind instruments. Presented in a stunning gatefold sleeve with art from Terri Hanlon, archival photographs and new liner notes from Behrman and Durand,ViewFinder / Hide & Seek is an essential release showcasing the continuing vitality of a legendary figure in experimental music. 

David Behrman – ViewFinder / Hide & Seek

Fiori Chiari, Fiori Oscuri (Light Flowers Dark Flowers) – its title inspired by an intersection in Milan – is the second in the series of four solo recordings Alvin Curran issued in the 1970s and early 1980s, preceded by Songs and Views from the Magnetic Garden (1975), followed by The Works (1980) and Canti Illuminati (1982).Each of these solo works combines field recordings with performances on synthesiser, various acoustic instruments, and voice, arranged in languorously paced, dreamy sequences. Far from the bracing pointillism of much musique concrete, the elements encountered on the meandering course followed by Fiori Chiari, Fiori Oscuri – whether a frenetic piano improvisation, dense layers of Serge synthesiser and ocarina, or a monologue from Frederic Rzewski’s five-year old son, Alexis – often occupy the foreground of our attention for minutes at a time. As Curran explains, his approach is like that of a filmmaker in the editing process, working with “whole blocks of recorded time”.The purring of a cat, toy piano, a child counting, plaintive synthesiser tones, the cacophony of exotic birds at the London Zoo – each disappears into the next, until, on the LP’s second side, a solo piano performance takes centre stage, moving unexpectedly from percussive minimalist permutations to a halting rendition of Georgia on My Mind. A subtle yet stunning work that more than forty years on still seems charged with possibility, Fiori Chiari, Fiori Oscuri arrives in a loving reproduction of the original sleeve, featuring Edith Schloss’ beautiful cover painting, remastered audio and with new liner notes by Alvin Curran and Francis Plagne. 

Alvin Curran – Fiori Chiari Fiori Oscuri

"Black Truffle proudly presents The Refrain from Melbourne-based artist Francis Plagne, whose growing catalog of collaborative and solo releases range from song-based work to abstract audio collages.Closely aligned with Plagne's Moss Trumpet LP (released by Penultimate Press in 2018), The Refrain’s two side-long tracks mix sounds of the mundane with the otherworldly; rising, receding and overlapping. The result feels like being led through a series of scenes devoid of context or direction. Furthermore, it’s hard to define the scenes as either inviting or disconcerting, as they’re often both at the same time. As the record progresses sounds reappear and are juxtaposed so as to only hint at the familiar. A hall of mirrors, perhaps?Completed in 2020 using material recorded from 2012-2020, the record uses tapes of shelved, unfinished, and forgotten projects that featured field recordings from various locations, domestic sounds of plastic bottles, bubble wrap, creaking chairs, voice, and instrumental recordings, including an appearance from crys cole on Casio. These pieces were re-amped, processed and edited, then additional instrumental pieces featuring synths, guitars, plastic saxophone, melodica, and percussion were added, the results shaped into drifting, episodic assemblages.Although essentially a tape piece, The Refrain presents as a crude, non-idiomatic composition that feels both timeless and transitory. It’s a million miles from the polish and rigour of GRM, perhaps more in line with Jacques Bekaert’s eponymous Igloo LP, or Costin Miereanu’s Luna Cinese. The Refrain could be read as a psychedelic Krapp’s Last Tape; one man’s response to listening through forgotten and discarded tapes, reflecting, reconciling, and forging a new path. A potent tonic for these absurd times."-- Nick Hamilton, August 2021 

Francis Plagne – The Refrain

Hyperactive since the late 1980s, Youngs is widely celebrated for his remarkably extensive and varied body of recordings. His works range freely over a vast terrain, wandering from tender acoustic balladry to raging psychedelic noise and orchestral D-beat, always imbued with his distinctive, often mournful, melodic sensibility and irrepressible sense of joyous experimentation. Comprised of two side-long pieces, CXXI carried on the experiments with chance operations used to generate material on many of Youngs’ recent releases. On ‘Tokyo Photograph’, a slowly changing, randomly generated sequence of 121 minor chords played by sine waves and accented with a brushed snare hit on every change provides the harmonic foundation for Youngs’ fragile yet impassioned vocal performance, shards of field recordings and electronics and Sophie Cooper’s long, tape-echoed trombone notes. While the melancholic drift of the chords calls up prime Robert Wyatt sides like Old Rottenhat or Dondestan, only the most vestigial sense of song remains here, as Youngs arranges his minimal ingredients over a spacious fifteen-minute expanse that often drops to nothing more than the rich hum of sine waves. ‘The Unlearning’ carries on directly from the first side, presenting another, more harmonically varied, sequence of randomly generated chords played by sine waves, distressed with tape echo flourishes and sparsely sprinkled with electronic touches. Like some of Youngs’ most single-minded instrumental works in recent years, such as his recordings of foot-played guitar or his shakuhachi pieces, ‘The Unlearning’ is deeply meditative but entirely remote from ambient or minimalist cliches. Named after the number of chord changes on the opening piece and (Chicago-style) the number of records Youngs has released, CXXI arrives in a striking monochrome sleeve featuring play-along chord charts for both pieces. Both rigorously conceptual and endearingly off-the-cuff, CXXI is classic Richard Youngs. --- Black Truffle, 2021

Richard Youngs – CXXI

Following on from the acclaimed Tiger Balm / Amazonia Dreaming / Immersion LP (BT028), Black Truffle is thrilled to present two major new instrumental works from legendary sound artist and experimental composer Annea Lockwood. Demonstrating the ever evolving and radically open nature of Lockwood’s practice, these two recent works were developed in close collaboration with their performers.‘Becoming Air’ (2018), developed with and performed by trumpeter Nate Wooley, uses extended technique and electronics to interfere with Wooley’s virtuosic control over his instrument, pushing him into areas of fluctuating pitch and timbral instability. Motivated by a desire for ‘the letting go of sound to be itself’, ‘Becoming Air’ unfolds as a series of texturally distinct moments separated by pauses, each fixing on a particular approach to the instrument (long tones, upper-register whistles, breathy wooshes) and maintaining it in an essentially static fashion, focussing our attention on subtle changes and variations. Dipping into near-inaudibility in the fragile high tones of its opening section, the piece dramatically increases in volume and intensity in its final third, climaxing with a passage of roaring distortion, where the interaction between feedback and trumpet pitches calls up the shuddering interference effects of Robert Ashley’s Wolfman.‘Into the Vanishing Point’ (2019) is a collaborative work developed with New York piano and percussion quartet Yarn/Wire, who have performed work by major contemporary composers such as Olivia Block, Catherine Lamb and Klaus Lang. Carrying on the ecological and environmental concerns of some of Lockwood’s previous works, ‘Into the Vanishing Point’ was inspired by a devastating news article on the global collapse of insect populations. Discovering that the four members of Yarn/Wire had also read this text, Lockwood mapped out a loose structure for the piece that would allow the composer and four performers to explore their ‘feelings about what is happening ecologically’. Working with a huge variety of instruments, objects and techniques of sound production, the resulting work is an alluringly lush, organically unfolding tissue of unorthodox textures and haunting tones. Though not intended to sonically represent ecological issues in any direct way, its unique sound world of rubbed piano strings, gently handled objects and chiming pitches often calls up natural images: of insects and frogs, wind rushing through trees, a bird’s wings in flight.Presented in a stunning gatefold cover with liner notes by Lockwood, Wooley and Yarn/Wire, Becoming Air/Into the Vanishing Point is a testament to the generosity and experimentation that continue to characterise the work of this extraordinary artist, active for over fifty years. --- Black Truffle, 2021

Annea Lockwood – Becoming Air - Into The Vanishing Point

For its 50th release, Black Truffle presents the ninth album from one of the label’s core ensembles, the power trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O’Rourke, and Oren Ambarchi. Drawn from a November 2015 performance at Tokyo’s now-defunct SuperDeluxe, the record’s opening piece drops us immediately into the maelstrom, abruptly cutting into an extended episode of Ambarchi’s pummeling drums, O’Rourke’s fuzzed-out six-string bass, and Haino’s roaring guitar and electronics. Eventually settling into a hypnotic bass and drum groove over which Haino unleashes some almost Ray Russell-eque skittering atonal screech, these opening 13 minutes act as a potent reminder of the trio’s power. Alongside showcasing the steady development of a unique language for the guitar-bass-drums power trio, the group’s succession of releases over the last decade has demonstrated a constant experimentation with new instruments, which continues here with O’Rourke use of Hammond organ (played at the same time as his roaming, sometimes knotty basslines). On the album’s second piece, the organ plays a key role, furnishing a harmonically rich shimmer over O’Rourke’s angular six-string bass chords, Haino’s distant, chirping electronics and Ambarchi’s crisp cymbal work; arriving somewhere halfway between Albert Marcoeur and Terje Rypdal, this piece is undoubtedly a highlight in the trio’s catalog so far. The second and third sides are slow-burning, multi-part epics that range from spacious reflection to furious tumult. Where the trio’s previous double-LP set — This Dazzling, Genuine “Difference” Now Where Shall It Go? (BT 030LP, 2017) — was primarily instrumental in focus, here you find Haino’s voice taking the spotlight on the expansive third side, intoning, wailing. and exhorting in Japanese and English over a backdrop that moves from hushed bass and organ atmospherics to rolling toms and cymbal crashes before arriving at an ecstatic finale of searing guitar, tumbling drums and reverb-saturated bass. The fourth side returns to the hypnotic grooves of the opening piece, fixing on a relentless riff and riding it into oblivion under Haino’s roaming psychedelic soloing and jagged chordal slashes.

Keiji Haino / Jim O Rourke / Oren Ambarchi – In the past only geniuses were capable of staging the perfect crime (also known as a revolution) Today anybody can accomplish their aims with the push of the button

Black Truffle present In Real Life, the latest in a flurry of releases from Berlin-based guitarist and composer Julia Reidy. Having drawn acclaim for solo performances on 12-string acoustic guitar that bridge microtonality, ‘American primitive’ stylings and classic minimalism, Reidy’s recent releases have utilised an increasingly broad sonic palette, fleshing out guitar-based composition with electronics, field recordings, and – most strikingly – heavily auto-tuned vocals. On In Real Life, Reidy pushes one step further, crafting an epic LP-length suite that moves from abstracted song to lush electronics and explorations in contemporary musique concrète. Beginning with a passage of eerie electronics and creaking percussive interjections, Reidy’s heavily auto-tuned voice quickly takes centre stage. Surrounded by explosions of electric guitar and synthesised arpeggios, the auto-tuned voice delivers a melancholic ode, bringing together poetic images to reflect on the instability of experience and mutability of identity in a contemporary world saturated by digital technology. This concern with the unsettled relationship between the physical and digital is reflected musically by the constantly shifts in emphasis between Reidy’s physically demanding guitar-picking and the various forms of synthesis deployed. Similarly, the dynamic imagery of cutting, shattering, and ‘racing streams’ present in Reidy’s lyrics also serves to characterise the structure of In Real Life, which ceaselessly shifts between distinct episodes. The song-based opening, long sequences of frenetic 12-string guitar shadowed and eventually overtaken by synth tones, passages of delicate chiming harmonics, electro-acoustic cut-ups – each flows seamlessly into the next, often recurring throughout the record’s duration, which lingers over interstitial moments between these episodes. -- Mixed and mastered by Joe Talia at Good Mixture, Tokyo. Vinyl cut at 45rpm for maximum fidelity by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin. Artwork by Suze Whaites. LP desgn by Lasse Marhaug.

Julia Reidy – In Real Life

Black Truffle announce the release of Le Piano Englouti (The Sunken Piano), the first collaboration between Brunhild Ferrari and Jim O’Rourke, offering up two side-long realisations of Ferrari’s tape compositions recorded in concert at Tokyo’s SuperDeluxe in 2014, revised and mixed by O’Rourke in 2019. The title piece weaves an immersive web of electronics, pre-recorded piano, and field-recorded sounds, including the raging Aegean sea, the tranquil atmospherics of a Japanese island, and the roar of a pachinko parlour. Far from a slice of audio vérité, these geographically distant sites intermingle in an unreal space where they often become indistinguishable. Shadowed by electronics and reverberant snatches of piano, the field recordings rise up and recede like ocean waves, creating a constantly shifting texture that is nonetheless warmly inviting. Chirping birds are confused with their electronic doubles; snatches of footsteps and voices are engulfed by ambience of unclear origin. Increasingly present throughout the piece, the piano rises up one last time before being swallowed up for good by the pachinko parlour. Tranquilles Impatiences (Quiet Impatiences) takes as its source material the electronic sounds produced by Luc Ferrari for his 1977 Exercises d’Improvisation, seven tapes intended to be heard alongside instrumental improvisation. Brunhild Ferrari’s piece layers Luc Ferrari’s sounds into a dense new work that emphasises the insistently pulsing rhythms of the source material. In this realisation with O’Rourke, the piece becomes a monumental sound-object, a slowly shifting mass of skittering electronic tones, shimmering reverb, and growling bass from which field-recorded events occasionally arise. At times, the placement of these fragments of real life in a pulsing, insistent musical landscape calls up Luc Ferrari’s classic Petit Symphonie; at other points, the swarming electronics bring to mind O’Rourke's Steamroom work or even the vast expanses of Roland Kayn. 

Brunhild Ferrari / Jim O Rourke – Le Piano Englouti

Black Truffle is pleased to present Realejo, the first vinyl release from Brazilian sound artist and composer Manuel Pessoa de Lima. Having composed works for diverse contexts including cinema, contemporary dance, theatre and television, Lima’s live appearances often take the form of self-reflexive lecture performances that combine electro-acoustic sound, red light, video and spoken text, moving unpredictably from the hilarious to the distressing.Realejo consists of two side-long pieces of highly idiosyncratic electro-acoustic collage, beginning with recordings Lima made of himself playing the organ in the Schloss Solitude Chapel in Stuttgart. Exploring the peculiarities of the instrument’s mechanics, Lima made hours of recordings with the organ stops half-way open, moving from haunting gliding tones to oddly tuned fair-ground melodies reminiscent of the record’s namesake realejo, a hand-cranked organ traditionally found in Brazil as the musical accompaniment to the work of fortune-telling parrots.To these organ sounds, Lima added recordings of a security guard made in São Paulo: ‘Just before coming to Stuttgart, I started making field recordings of a security guard in São Paulo. It's something pretty common in residential areas: they sit in a chair with a whistle, and use that to signal when people arrive, leave or pass by in the street. This particular security guard, Miguel Viana, works on the same street my parents live, and where I had my childhood, and he has worked there since I was a small child. He has watched the street at night, from 8PM to 6AM, every single day, except Sundays, for over 30 years’.The poignant sounds of the security guard’s whistles punctuate Lima’s electro-acoustic environment, which also includes raw digital synthesis, recordings of his friends’ infant child, audio lifted from Youtube, and, on the LP’s second side, elements taken from an earlier work, ‘36 English to Portuguese Lessons’. Finely chiselled from dozens of hours of source material into a detail-rich, mercurial structure, Realejo is alternately jarring and seductive, introducing listeners to a young composer with a powerfully individual voice. 

Manuel Pessôa de Lima – Realejo

Nantes-based Australian drummer and percussionist Will Guthrie returns to Black Truffle with Nist-Nah. Like his previous solo record on the label, the abrasive hip-hop concrète of People Pleaser (BT027), Nist-Nah finds Guthrie branching out in a new direction, this time in a suite of six percussion pieces primarily using the metallaphones, hand drums and gongs of the Gamelan ensembles of Indonesia. The music presented here is grounded in Guthrie’s travels in Indonesia and study of various forms of Gamelan music, from the stately suspended temporality of the courtly Javanese Gamelan Sekatan, to the delirious, thuggish repetition that accompanies the Javanese trance ritual Jathilan, to the shimmering acoustic glitch of contemporary Balinese composer Dewa Alit and his Gamelan Salukat. However, far from an exercise in exoticism, Nist-Nah develops out of Guthrie’s extensive work with metal percussion in recent years (as heard, for example, on his 2015 LP for iDEAL, Sacrée Obsession), where gongs, singing bowls and cymbals are used to build up walls of hovering tones and sizzling details. Though Guthrie is broadening his palette to explore Gamelan instrumentation and pay tribute to his love of this sophisticated yet elemental percussion music, the pieces presented here are equally informed by Guthrie’s interests in free jazz, electro-acoustic music and diverse experimental music practices, exploring long tones, extended techniques, and non-metered pulse.Nist-Nah presents a variety of approaches across its six pieces, from the crisp, precise rhythmic complexity of the opening title track to the droning textures of ‘Catlike’ and ‘Elders’. On the epic closing ‘Kebogiro Glendeng’, Guthrie offers an extended, layered rendition of a Javanese piece belonging to a repertoire primarily used for warmups, beginner’s groups and children first learning Gamelan, elegantly gesturing to his own amateur status while using the piece’s insistently repeated melody as an extended exploration of the hypnotic effects of repetition, falling in and out of time with himself to create woozy, narcotic effects until the piece eventually dissolves into a wavering fog. 

Will Guthrie – Nist Nah

"The first collaboration between DJ/mixtape-compiler Kayo Makino and underground legend Tori Kudo. Originally created to be played between acts at the launch of Eiko Ishibashi‘s acclaimed The Dreams My Bones Dream (2018) and then reworked and refined for LP release, the two side-long pieces are sonic environments constructed by Makino for Kudo’s piano to inhabit, or, as the LP’s credits suggest, a “cinéma pour l’oreille” in which Kudo’s piano plays the starring role. Beginning with a soothing field recording of crickets dramatically punctuated by smashing glass, the first side finds Kudo playing his way repeatedly through one of Satie‘s 1897 Pièces froides. Best known to many listeners for his role as leader of the ecstatically shambolic rock unit Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Kudo’s performance of Satie’s whimsical yet haunting melody is alternately halting and fluid, delighting in the hesitations of unstudied technique and the subtle variations between repeated attempts. While the combination of Kudo’s piano and the background of crickets initially suggests a documentary approach to recording — as if the you are simply hearing incidental sounds creeping through an open window — things take an unexpected turn a few minutes in when Kudo’s piano is suddenly doubled. Layering two separate attempts at the same piece of top of each other, Makino’s unorthodox mixing blurs Satie’s original into a fog of stumbling echoes that becomes increasingly dreamlike as the chirping crickets are overtaken by pattering rain, German dialogue and traffic sounds. The second side begins in a similarly inscrutable vein, with snatches of birds and film music providing a gentle backdrop for Kudo’s improvisational variations on a chord progression that, as his performance builds over its twenty-minute duration, somehow begins to suggest the sadly swaggering grandeur of Mick Taylor-era Rolling Stones. Makino accompanies and eventually overwhelms Kudo’s piano with a bizarre layer of digitally processed voice and drums, stretched out into a disorienting haze before suddenly retreating to leave Kudo’s piano accompanied only by a barking dog. Seemingly unrelated to anything else being produced in the world of contemporary music, this is a striking collaboration between two unique musical personalities that bridges the mundane and the surreal, opening up a dream-space both haunted and hospitable." --- Cover design by Lasse Marhaug. Mastered by Jim O’Rourke at Steamroom, Japan. Vinyl cut by Rashed Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.

Kayo Makino & Tori Kudo – Ein Traum Für Dich

"Premier recordings of two recent works by legendary American experimental composer Alvin Lucier. A friend and contemporary of pioneers like Robert Ashley, David Behrman, Gordon Mumma, and Christian Wolff, Lucier has been crafting elegant explorations of the behavior of sound in physical space since the 1960s. Lucier is perhaps best known for I Am Sitting in a Room (1970), in which he repeatedly re-recorded his own speaking voice being played back into a room until the room’s resonant frequencies entirely obscure the spoken text. Beginning in the early 1970s, he has written a remarkable catalogue of instrumental works that focus on phenomena produced by the interference between closely tuned pitches, such as audible beating, often using pure electronic tones produced by oscillators in combination with single instruments. Demonstrating the restless creative drive of an artist now in his 80s, the two recent works presented here both feature the electric guitar, an instrument Lucier has just recently begun to explore. In Criss-Cross, Lucier’s first composition for electric guitars, two guitarists using e-bows sweep slowly up and down a single semitone, beginning at opposite ends of the pitch range. The piece is a model of simplicity, exemplifying Lucier’s desire not to ‘compose’ in the conventional sense, but rather to eliminate everything that ‘distracts from the acoustical unfolding of the idea’. In this immaculately controlled performance of Criss-Cross by Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley, (for whom the piece was written in 2013), a seemingly simple idea creates a rich array of sonic effects – not simply beating patterns, which gradually slow down as the two tones reach unison and accelerate as they move further apart, but also the remarkable phenomenon of sound waves spinning in elliptical patterns through space between the two guitar amps. In the comparatively lush Hanover, Lucier draws inspiration from the beautiful photograph that provides the LP with its cover, an image of the Dartmouth Jazz Band taken in 1918 featuring Lucier’s father on violin. Using the instrumentation present in the photograph, Lucier creates an unearthly sound world of sliding tones from violin, alto and tenor saxophones, piano, vibraphone (bowed) and three electric guitars (which take the place of the banjos present in the photograph). Waves of slow glissandi create thick, complex beating patterns, gently punctuated by repeated single notes from the piano. The result is a piece that, like much of Lucier’s instrumental music, is simultaneously both unperturbably calm and constantly in motion." Design by Stephen O’Malley. Mastered by Rashad Becker at D&M Belin. “Criss-Cross” recorded at Studios Ina GRM, Paris by Francois Bonnet and mixed by Alvin Lucier. “Hanover” recorded in Zurich and mixed by Alvin Lucier.

Alvin Lucier – Criss Cross / Hanover

Black Truffle presents a new issue of Annea Lockwood's classic 1970 tape piece "Tiger Balm", accompanied by two exquisite unreleased works for percussion and voice. "Created while Lockwood was living in the UK, the side-long 'Tiger Balm' is a singular work within the cannon of tape music. Inspired by research into the ritual function of music, the piece explores the possibility of evoking ancient communal memories through sound. Breaking entirely with the dynamic language of the musique concrète tradition, Lockwood uses a select palette of mainly unprocessed sonic elements chosen for their mysterious and erotic characteristics (a purring cat, a heartbeat, gongs, slowed down jaw harp, a tiger, a woman's breath, a plane passing overhead), presenting at most two sounds at once. As one sound flows organically into the next, their shared characteristics are highlighted, opening a space of dream logic and mysterious associations between nature and culture, the ancient and the modern. The B side presents two pieces for percussion recorded here for the first time. 'Amazonia Dreaming' (1987), performed by Dominic Donato, uses unaccompanied snare drum and voice to evoke the nocturnal soundscape of the Amazon rainforest. Unorthodox techniques and materials (marbles, chopsticks, a plastic jar lid) transform the snare into a resonant field of sensual textures. 'Immersion' (1998), performed by Donato and Frank Cassara, is a slow-moving exploration of gentle beating tones, performed on marimba, tam tams, and gong. Like the other two works presented on this LP, it provides captivating proof of Lockwood's belief in the complexity that deep listening can reveal within seemingly simple sounds." -- Francis Plagne  Design by Stephen O'Malley; Mastered by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering.

Annea Lockwood – Tiger Balm / Amazonia Dreaming / Immersion

"First release from the duo of two important yet often underappreciated musicians, Eiko Ishibashi and Darin Gray. Ishibashi is a singer-songwriter, keyboardist, drummer, and multi-instrumentalist, known in Japan both for her own elaborately conceptual solo albums and for her frequent collaborations with figures such as Jim O’Rourke, Merzbow, and Phew. Darin Gray is a bassist and multi-instrumentalist known for a multitude of collaborations (with O’Rourke and Loren Connors, among many others), for On Fillmore, his cinematic post-exotica project with Glenn Kotche, and as one half of Chikamorachi with Chris Corsano, one of the finest free-jazz rhythm sections around. Presenting the entirely of a live set performed at Tokyo’s Super Deluxe in March 2013, the set begins as a duet for Ishibashi’s flute and Gray’s upright bass. Calmly melodic yet harmonically inventive, with shades of ‘spiritual jazz’, the pair’s acoustic ruminations are gradually joined by Ishibashi’s lush electronics, which randomly flicker between chords in a manner recalling the classic work of David Behrman. As the electronics build into a gloomy fog of slowly cycling loops, Gray lays his bass aside and turns to making strangely mournful interjections on a mouthpiece. Eventually Ishibashi moves to the piano, enveloping the audience in rippling pools of sustained, octave-doubled melody, provided by Gray’s bass with a fluid and dynamic foundation. For much of the second side, both Ishibashi and Gray turn to electronics, ultimately arriving in a bizarre space of melancholic arpeggios and random sputter and sizzle, oddly reminiscent of 70s outsider prog acts like Wapassou. An uneasy coda of rich piano chords ends the set. Captured in warm room ambience and beautifully mixed by Jim O’Rourke, Ichida is a rare combination of improvisational acumen and emotional directness, both adventurous and immediately accessible."

Eiko Ishibashi & Darin Grey – Ichida