Inimitable, shapeshifting Japanese multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter Eiko Ishibashi is at her dreamiest for Black Truffle, arriving from a seriously fecund creative patch with two gorgeous longform tapestries of thizzing drone, jazz drums, sax, field recordings and sustained ambient dream-pop vox finely chiselled into languorous chamber arrangements on this, her 2nd solo LP for Oren Ambarchi’s remarkable label.
“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.”