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Vinyl

Black Truffle is pleased to announce the first LP documenting master khene player Sombat Simla, the label’s first collaboration with Japanese sound artist, field recordist, and researcher Yasuhiro Morinaga. Simla is known in Thailand as one of the greatest living players of the khene, the ancient bamboo mouth organ particularly associated with Laos but found throughout East and Southeast Asia. His virtuosic and endlessly inventive renditions of traditional and popular songs have earned him the title ‘the god of khene’, and he is known for his innovative techniques and ability to mimic other instruments and non-musical sound, including, as a writer for the Bangkok Post describes, ‘the sound of a train journey, complete with traffic crossings and the call of barbecue chicken vendors’. Aided by a group of Thai friends, in 2018 Morinaga travelled to the Maha Sarakham province in the Isan region, arranging to meet Simla in a remote spot surrounded by rice fields. Then and there, Morinaga recorded the solo performances heard on the LP’s first side. At Morinaga’s request, Simla began with a rendition of the train song ‘Lot Fay Tay Lang’. Beginning with long tones that seem to mimic a train horn, the performance soon moves into a rapid chugging rhythm, interrupted at points by vocal exclamations and the remarkable timbre Simla produces by singing through the khene. To listeners unfamiliar with Thai music, the pentatonic scales and rhythmic chug of many of the pieces can have surprising echoes of the rawest American blues. The range of Simla’s performance is astonishing, moving from compulsive rhythmic workouts on single chords and rapid-fire runs of single notes to gentle sing-song melodies, and using a fascinating array of techniques, including a rapid tremolo that sometimes sounds almost electronic. Later the same day, Morinaga followed Simla to a cattle shed where he met percussionist Mali Moodsansee to play some molam (folk songs found in Isan and neighbouring Laos), with Pattardon Ekchatree joining in on cymbal. At times, these molam songs have a wistful, romantic character quite different from the solo pieces. Backed up by the propulsive hand drums, Simla again dazzles with his melodic fluidity, rhythmic drive, and wild displays of unorthodox technique. As Morinaga writes, ‘It felt like they had been playing together so long that their breathing was perfectly in sync, and it was like listening to the precision of James Brown’s funk’. Accompanied by extensive liner notes by Morinaga detailing the day of recording, this is a stunning document of a master musician, seamlessly integrating tradition and innovation. 

Sombat Simla – Master Of Bamboo Mouth Organ - Isan, Thailand

LP - Edition of 300 copies, handmade textile artwork w/ printed inner / CD Edition of 150 copies, handmade textile artwork Sylvain Chauveau has been releasing quiet and minimal compositions on various labels for more than two decades. ultra-minimal marks his debut for Sonic Pieces and takes the minimal approach even further, centring on reduction and limitation. The album was recorded live at Café Oto, London in March 2022 - one of Sylvain’s rare solo concerts and the first time he performed publicly with only acoustic instruments; no machines, no recorded sounds have been used, only piano, guitar, harmonium and melodica, played one at the time. While some of the compositions are completely new, others are live versions of previously released pieces which have either been performed close to their original or stripped-down, reduced to a single instrument and partly rearranged. This reveals a predilection for repetitions and variations that Sylvain shares with Jim Jarmusch, and at the same time it is a personal attempt to avoid electronic devices as a tool for live music. The artwork and track titles follow this reductionist idea and an aesthetic of miniaturization that Sylvain has developed for many years. They refer to the minimalist, concrete poetry that he writes regularly. In this context rewriting some of the original titles was a consistent implication to achieve a complete work, an album that perfectly represents Sonic Pieces’ aesthetics, both musically and visually.

ultra-minimal – Sylvain Chauveau

Following on from the psychoacoustic concrète of Outside Ludlow / Desert Disco LP (BT075), Sam Dunscombe returns to Black Truffle with Two Forests / Oceanic. Dunscombe has been active in recent years on multiple fronts, including as a key member of the Berlin community of Just Intonation researchers and practitioners; working with composers like Taku Sugimoto, Mary Jane Leach, and Anthony Pateras; and the release of Horatiu Radulescu - Plasmatic Music vol. 1 (the result of many years performance research into the thought and music of this seminal Romanian spectralist). In parallel with these activities, Dunscombe has been deeply involved in research on the role of music in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, prompting these two side long pieces, composed using field recordings and digital synthesis. As Dunscombe explains in the accompanying liner notes, music plays a key role in psychedelic-assisted therapy, yet it is often restricted to stock forms of New Age, ambient and electronica. Taking seriously the potential for spatio-environmental sonic experiences to add to the therapeutic process, these two pieces are intended to suggest how ‘a music-as-environment approach may help to add options to the therapist’s toolbox’. ‘Two Forests’ begins in a central Californian sequoia grove. Bird songs and buzzing insect life are treated with a variety of time-based processing methods (slicing and recombination, primitive granular synthesis, delay, and so on), which strip the field recordings of their linear, documentary character, reframing them in an enchanted web of traces and echoes. Analysing the pitches found in the original recordings, Dunscombe used them to generate a large Just Intonation pitch set. These tones are woven slowly into the field recordings, gradually building in density and complexity until the forest has been transformed into an unreal space of infinite proportions. Emerging from this cosmic expanse in the final minutes of the piece, we find ourselves in the Amazon rainforest outside Manaus, Brazil. As Dunscombe writes, the piece creates ‘a sense of place-gone-strange, of space and time simultaneously expanding and contracting across octaves, miles, and minutes’. On ‘Oceanic’, several recordings of different beaches fade in and out to create a texture both homogenous and constantly shifting in both the rhythm of the waves and each recording's sense of depth and distance. Tones relating in simple ratios to the average rhythm of each beach float over each other, colouring the white noise texture of the field recordings with shifting hues. In both pieces, Dunscombe forgoes the easy consonance that bogs down much contemporary ambient music for a richer harmonic array informed by extended tuning practices and spectralism. The end results suggest a hitherto undreamt-of meeting of Radulescu’s undulating sonic masses and the discreetly processed location recordings of Irv Teibel’s ‘psychologically ultimate’ Environments. Looking beyond the insularity that can afflict experimental music culture, Dunscombe’s work is a moving argument for the healing power of expanded approaches to sound and music. Even outside of a psychedelics-assisted therapy, frequent immersion in Two Forests / Oceanic is almost guaranteed to produce beneficial psychological results. 

Two Forests / Oceanic – Sam Dunscombe

Pre-order for the forthcoming, much anticipated and absolutely killer new Still House Plants ‘If I don't make it, I love u’ is Still House Plants’ third LP and the fullest embodiment of their sound to date. Where ‘Fast Edit’ formed with quick attachment and jump cuts, ‘If I don't make it’ is shaped by persistence - a commitment to the songs that makes the music solid, warmer and accepted. Marking the trio’s decade of friendship, this is the first record written whilst all live in the same city since 2017's ‘Assemblages’. The band rehearsed it relentlessly, playing for nobody except themselves, consistently building support for one another and growing the way they play. Jess’ voice is deeper. Fin’s guitar is full size, richer. David drums harder. Focused on one point together, everyone gets bigger and nothing falls apart. The guitar and the drums blend, raise the voice, make room for what is being said, what is felt. When able to finally record, production allowed layers, gave elasticity, a chance to fully stretch. Playing with length and connections, the band brought in analogue techniques - a Lesley cabinet on ‘Headlight’, sidechaining the snare with the guitar, pushing vocals through cheap DJ software - each process an attempt to bring one instrument closer to another, to give bass, body, backup. ‘If I don't make it, I love u’ seeks beauty, holds feeling maximum and builds surety with its sound. The most generous SHP record to date, the music is wide open, demands less. Play it again, it will come clear. releases April 12, 2024 Finlay Clark / guitar Jess Hickie-Kallenbach / vocals David Kennedy / drums

If I don’t make it, I love u – Still House Plants

Cien Fuegos presents a reissue of Peter Brötzmann's 14 Love Poems, recorded and first released by FMP in 1984. Inspired by a poetry booklet by Kenneth Patchen (from which it takes it‘s title), this album focuses on expression and emotion. "A monument of post-free solo reeds playing and a stunning item in Peter Brötzmann's discography, 14 Love Poems is arguably the German saxophonist and clarinetist's strongest, most compelling solo statement. Recorded and first released by FMP in 1984, this LP showcases the full scope of the man's art and presents it in a form much more enticing than what you'd expect. This album focuses on expression and emotion instead of virility or power (two terms often used to describe Brötzmann's playing). If 14 Love Poems can be dubbed "the softer side of Peter Brötzmann," it is by no mean a collection of watered-down solos. On the contrary, one finds all the energy, ferociousness, and angst the man is rightfully known for, but his palette of feelings is stretched out to also include tenderness, elevation, and beatitude. The opening "NR. 1" (no titles, just numbers) is in fact a tempered, delicate rendition of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" on baritone sax. All the other pieces are freely improvised. They are all short (nothing over five and a half minutes), and the track list emphasizes mood swings and instrument swapping. In the course of the original album's 50 minutes, Brötzmann plays baritone; tenor and alto saxes; A, E flat, and bass clarinets; and tarogato. The range of instruments, emotions, and techniques (from straightforward melody to sound-breath techniques, circular breathing, split tones, etc.) produces a very rich, diverse, and ultimately endearing album. These pieces were recorded during the original sessions, August 21-23, 1984. Despite the fact that they don't add to the album (in terms of sound palette or techniques), they are just as lovely and striking as the pieces originally released -- not leftovers at all. This album is essential to understand the solo albums later recorded by John Butcher, Alessandro Bosetti, and the like. "Highly recommended. 10/10"  AllMusicGuide --- Peter Brötzmann / alto, tenor & baritone saxophone, a-,e-flat & bass clarinet, tarogato --- Cover by Peter Brötzmann. Producer: Jost Gebers, Peter Brötzmann. Mix: Jost Gebers, Peter Brötzmann.All compositions by Peter Brötzmann, except Lonely Woman by Ornette Coleman. Recorded and first released by FMP in 1984

PETER BRÖTZMANN – 14 Love Poems

Among its many qualities, music relies on a special force: transcendence. When we listen, we are placed in a different reality, where sound is a vehicle for a much higher meaning. Naturally, not all music is capable of such a thing. But a few musicians clearly stand above as special – as soon as we hear them, we know that their music flows, floats and transcends. Dialogues and shadows, the second recording by the duo of Gonçalo Almeida and Pierre Bastien emanates a distinct and intriguing sound from the beginning, inducing our listening toward a world that goes way beyond a succession of notes and timbres. We hear it and it's there, this mysterious matter that touches us. We hear a dialogue, a connection, and a shadow of luminescent presence. Both musicians are based in Rotterdam, and they share an ethical common ground, with an endless list of collaborations, recordings and the same passion for a music that should always point in new directions. Throughout this recording, we are taken into a conversation where the listener plays a significant and active part. With constant changes in the mechanical instruments and a rich harmonic content of polyrhythmic counterpoint, the duo sets a base for subtle melodic phrases, that appear surprisingly from different sources – Bastien’s pocket trumpet, Almeida’s double bass, or their custom-made instruments and devices. As we listen, we move towards a personal fictional narrative, accompanied by these abstract sonic entities that guide us through the record. Their presence is highly visual too, as our imagination is immediately filled by Bastien’s instruments coming to life along with a multitude of strings played by erratic movements of the bows, almost like a tribal dance from a culture that never existed. In this strange and beautiful world, we are constantly surprised by the next element that will face us and transcend its physical projection, in an elegant invitation to the unknown. The unknown we seek constantly throughout all our lives. So, let the sound be the light that guides us in our shadows.

Gonçalo Almeida & Pierre Bastien – Dialogues and Shadows

Reet’ is a lost treasure of late 1960s folk/psych-folk. The only album she ever put to tape, with clear pure voice and guitar. luckily recorded by Andres Raudsepp in 1969. Reet will be loved in the same breath as ;Sibylle Baier, Vashti Bunyan, Molly Drake & Bridget st John. Reet Hendrikson deserves wider listening and we hope this reissue will help . Reet Hendrikson was born in Estonia only months before the “great escape” into exile in 1944. Brought up and educated in Sweden, she went to study in the US in 1967 on a Fulbright scholarship, before she made her mark as an Estonian musician in Canada. While her arrangements of Estonian folksongs on the guitar reflected the styles of the sixties, her voice and choice of material sounded authentic and made a connection with ages past. When Hendrikson arrived in Canada in 1968 via the US, her Estonian was native-like because of the high quality of Estonian schools in Sweden. She was thus able to characterise the identity of young ex-patriate Estonians – especially those born in exile from Soviet occupation – in a new and meaningful way. A formal musical background allowed her to create the arrangements that accompanied her simple but pure singing voice. Having heard her under northern Muskoka pines at an Estonian summer seminar, it didn’t take Andres Raudsepp ( of raindeer records) long to bring her to a recording studio. “Reet – Estonian folksongs” appeared in 1969. Hendrikson soon found her way to the scholarly atmosphere of Boston where, as a multi-instrumentalist, she joined a group of musicians who favoured traditional folk music. Back in Sweden in the 1980ies, she was invited to join a scholarly society of Estonian young women, which she led during musical sessions. She visited Estonia as frequently as possible, trying in particular to be helpful to Estonian musicians by providing sheet music and much-needed repertoire from the Swedish National Radio Archives, where she worked for a while.. Reet Hendrikson died in Stockholm in the autumn of 2000. 

REET – Reet Hendrikson