Black Truffle announce Ashioto, the first international solo release from Japanese drummer-percussionist-composer Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. Active for over a decade, Yamamoto has performed and recorded extensively with artists such as Jim O'Rourke, Eiko Ishibashi, and Akira Sakata, as well as participating in innumerable improvised and ad hoc groups. Ashioto presents two wide-ranging pieces that combine Yamamoto's percussion work with piano, field recordings, electronics, and contributions from guest musicians Daisuke Fujiwara and Eiko Ishibashi.
Beginning with a passage of chiming metal percussion, the first side slowly builds into a rolling, open groove reminiscent of Yamamoto's work on Eiko Ishibashi's acclaimed Drag City LP, The Dreams My Bones Dream (2018). Spacious piano and synth notes, along with Ishibashi's spare melodic figures on processed flute, hover above this propulsive rhythmic foundation, the whole effect adding up to a more abstract take on the area explored on Rainer Brüninghaus's ECM classic Freigeweht (1981). The LP's second side opens up a cavernous space filled with ominous electronics and shimmering metallic percussion, which organically transitions into a passage of rumbling piano chords and mysterious concrète sound. Later in the piece, Daisuke Fujiawara's saxophone enters, playing melancholic melodic fragments that are looped and layered, creating a seasick swaying effect familiar to listeners of James Tenney's works with tape delay systems. Beginning as delicate bass drum pulses, Yamamoto's accompanying percussion eventually builds the piece into a raging torrent of free-improv splatter, processed sax and fizzing electronics.
Though grounded in instrumental performance, Ashioto is very much a studio construction, making inventive use of electro-acoustic principles in its editing and mixing. Together with its sister Ashiato -- a different take on the same "script" released simultaneously on Japanese label Newhere -- Ashioto demonstrates to an international audience for the first time the true breadth and ambition of Yamamoto's work.
Mastered by Jim O'Rourke.
Cover photos by Kuniyoshi Taikou.
Design by Lasse Marhaug.