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.
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Born in Chiba on May 3, 1952. Inspired by Antonin Artaud he aimed for the theatre, but an encounter with The Doors stimulated him into music, where he has examined and absorbed a wide range of music from the early blues especially Blind Lemon Jefferson or European medieval music to popular songs across the world. In 1970 he joined a group “Lost Aaraaf” named after Edgar Allan Poe’s poem as a vocalist. Meanwhile, he started to work on home recordings and self-taught the guitar and percussions. In 1978 he formed a rock band “Fushitsusha,” and since 1988, after a recuperation period from 1983 to 1987, he has been internationally active in various forms including solo, groups such as Fushitsusha, Nijiumu, Aihiyo, Vajra, Sanhedrin, Seijaku, Nazoranai or The Hardy Rocks and DJ as “experimental mixture,” as well as collaborations with artists from different backgrounds, drawing the performance of the guitar, percussions, the hurdy gurdy, diverse wind and string instruments, local instruments from across the world and DJ gears to the extreme through unique techniques. He has released more than 200 recordings and performed live at least 1,800 times.
Oren Ambarchi is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and musical polymath who has been releasing records with the frequency of someone who prefers studio time to sleep. His remarkably prolific and diverse oeuvre since the 90's has included releases such as “Suspension” (2002), “Grapes From The Estate” (2004), “Audience Of One” & “Sagittarian Domain” (both 2012), “Quixotism” (2014) & “Hubris” (2016).
Ambarchi continues to collaborate with artists the world over and in the last few years his longform compositions have featured many friends and collaborators constituting some of his most adventurous work to date and demonstrating his slippery capacity for stylistic shapeshifting whilst retaining his singular musical language.