Boomkat Product Review:
Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle sustains a golden run of releases on this richly enigmatic follow-up to his collaborative project with regular foil James Rushford and Kassel Jaeger of the GRM; the same Parisian facility where they recorded Face Time.
To our sensibilities, the results recall a genteel ketamine trip on a sunny day, where the dosed up listener perceives the world around them as an elusive whorl of disembodied voices, fractal pattern and ill logic. Mind, the putative “bad” side effects of K don’t really apply here, just the the sense of temporal dislocation and cognitive dissociation.
“The record immediately returns to the idiosyncratic sound-world of the trio's first release, a simmering stew of electronic smears, pitched-down animal moans, and mysteriously emotive microtonal organ chords. But before long the record takes an unexpected turn, as sounds that initially enter as occasional percussive pitter-patter build to a halting rhythm. Equally reminiscent of Basic Channel-style dub techno and the sound of a microphone loose in a pocket, these stumbling rhythmic figures provide the framework for the remainder of the record's two sides, occasionally receding into the background to allow squelching electronics, chiming bells, distorted autoharp, inchoate grunts and the sound of a Cristal Baschet to take centre stage, but each time returning with the inevitability of a an idée fixe.
Eschewing any clear sense of form, the two side-long pieces move seamlessly through episodes with the organic flow of improvisation, embracing the happy accidents of events conjoined by chance and lingering on liminal moments. Gradually washing out into a cavernous roar, the record's final moments are suddenly enlivened by shimmering metallic percussion and a sequence of woozy synth chords, combining with the muted rhythms and a distant thunderstorm to become a sort of oneiric tribute to the work of Wally Badarou. Bringing together three of contemporary experimental music's most individual voices, Face Time is an essential slice of outsider electro-acoustics.”