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.
Available as a 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC download
1. I can feel guilty about anything - Part 1 - 19:23
2. I can feel guilty about anything - Part 2 - 15:58
3. Ask me how I sleep at night - 05:16
Eiko Ishibashi is a Japanese improvisor, producer, and singer-songwriter. As her albums demonstrate, she is equally comfortable composing and performing everything from quirky pop, modern classical music, and prog to the extremes of improvisational jazz and noise. She has performed and toured with Jim ORourke, Keiji Haino, Akira Sakata, Charlemagne Palestine, Oren Ambarchi, and Glenn Kotche, to name a few. Her 2014 offering, Car and Freezer, offered evidence of the seam where her quirky brand of pop met complex jazz composition, while Kouen Kyoudai, her 2016 album-length collaboration with Masami Akita (Merzbow) offered an exercise in industrial improvisation.
Ishibashi's main instrument is piano, though she is adept at drums, flute, and vibraphone. Her first "solo" recording was Slip Beneath the Distant Tree in 2007, a double-length duo offering with Ruins bassist Tatsuya Yoshida. She followed it a year later with the innovative Drifting Devil. The album captured the critical imagination of Japanese journalists -- many of whom selected it as one of the year's best recordings -- as well as the admiration of fellow musicians, and her reputation grew.
In 2010 she met O'Rourke when they were both invited to play on Phew's Five Finger Discount. He asked her to perform on his All Kinds of People: Love Burt Bacharach tribute set and they joined one another's bands. He produced Ishibashi's 2011 album Carapace, and recorded and mixed her solo piano follow-up, I'm Armed. In 2013, she played on Gaspar Claus' Jo Ha Kyū alongside Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haino, and Kazutoki Umezu. She also signed to Drag City, which released Imitation of Life and followed it with Car and Freezer in 2014. Ishibashi and O'Rourke were also members of Kafka's Ibiki, who cut three albums between 2013 and 2014. She played on O'Rourke's Simple Songs in 2015 and kept up a rigorous touring regimen that included playing her own shows and with O'Rourke and their band. She also found time to form RNA with Fumio Kosakai (Incapacitants) and Kimihide Kusafuka (K2), and cut the double-cassette release No New Tokyo.
In early 2016, Ishibashi released another duo recording, this one in collaboration with Masami Akita (aka Merzbow); entitled Kouen Kyoudaireleased on Editions Mego. That same year she also worked with experimental sound artist and composer John Duncan on his full-length Bitter Earth, and privately released the digital-only piano trio full-length Six Feet Under with bassist Toshiaki Sudoh and drummer Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. After time off and touring with O'Rourke, Ishibashi returned to the studio in 2018 and released the experimental Ichida in collaboration with composer and multi-instrumentalist Darin Gray on Black Truffle, and her own mutant pop collection, The Dream My Bones Dream on Drag City.