Boomkat Product Review:
WHEW! No stranger to proper oddball sides, Black Truffle really kill it with Uri Katzenstein’s polyglot DIY sound poetry, unearthed from unheard tapes and obscure Israeli-issued CDs for a head-spinning introduction to his deeply personal, outsider artform - 100% certifiable RIYL Ghédalia Tazartès, Laurie Anderson, Dirk Desaever, László Hortobágyi, Caetano Veloso.
A right box of frogs, ‘Audio Works’ is arguably most folk’s introduction to Katzenstein’s radical and quizzical soundworld. Reaped from recordings made for sculptural installation, performance, video art and other media, the set swan dives into an often absurd, ever beguiling, and helplessly distinctive treasure trove of pieces oscillating between unhinged synth noise heck with theatric pomp and freakish soul in a manner that shows he just didn’t give a fuck, and, likewise, deeply did.
Expressed in english, german, french and hebrew - sometimes switching between them in one song - he keeps everything stripped back and direct without over-embellishment, prizing a sort of first-thought-best-thought approach that lets it all spill out, but underlined with an almost folk/pop-melodic discipline that keeps it from being a mess. Arranged mostly while in New York on self-built instruments and including field recorded glimpses of the world around him, the pieces all prang and sizzle with a grippingly uninhibited energy that keeps us transfixed from first to last.
Holding a generous 28 tracks over its 80 minutes breadth, we’re kinda spoilt for highlights. The doomy chamber synth opener recalling the weirdo paean of Dirk Desaever ‘Love Song’ is a must-check, and we’re particularly struck by his more discordant jams such as the fusion of wickedly detuned synth with operatic vox on ‘Young bastards’, and the curdled, astringent audity ‘Against Soap’. The mutli-tracked vocal works ‘Half Monk Half Herring’ and ‘Mantra’ recall Laurie Anderson via Breadwoman, and there’s echoes of Klaus Nomi’s avant antics in the no wave cabaret of ‘Blind Man’, while the eerie sublime of ‘Skin O. Daayba - Feedbackless World’ feels dialled in from another dimension entirely, and at its most extreme, ‘Attempt To Raise Hell’ is just off the charts, contrasting most acutely with its spine-chilling closing ballad ‘Caretakers.’
Bonkers, beautiful, arcane wonders for the insatiable heads. Don’t sleep!