Boomkat Product Review:
Oren Ambarchi's always-on-point Black Truffle exhumes another Sven-Åke Johansson rarity from the vaults, documenting a boss-eyed 1971 jazz festival performance that confounded the audience. Heiße sheiße!
With Johansson on drums, accordion and oboe d'amore, post-bop legend Jeanne Lee on vocals, her husband Gunter Hampel on vibraphone, flute and bass clarinet, Michael Waisvisz on VCS3 synthesizer and Freddy Gosseye on bass, the experimental quintet made waves at the Berliner Jazztage playing next to crowdpleasers like Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie. The set takes its title from a heckle squealed by an audience member, clearly unhappy with the band's radical combo of freeform musicianship and unconventional soundscapes. Johannson and co. root their sound in free jazz, but it's not like any free jazz that might have been knocking around in the day, led by Lee's unhinged, dynamic voice, that dips and shimmies like a horn, and Waisvisz's alien synth burbles.
The recording is one of the earliest documents of Dutch inventor Waisvisz's idiosyncratic live electronic performances, and his squeaks and wild oscillations immediately capture the attention, sounding like Wolf Eyes a few decades before Nate Young had broken his first cassette recorder. It sounds as if he's in a battle with Lee, who mimics his sputtering with acrobatic, elastic vocal runs while Johansson hits his kit with the power of an ocean, forcing waves of pattering hits across Hampel's bizarrely folk-y flute trills. Deliriously experimental, 'Scheiße '71' never outstays its welcome, running just over half an hour but sounding as if it's over in a moment. Hearing these talented, charged players bouncing ideas off each other is breathtaking, and knowing it completely fell on deaf ears gives the performance even more weight. Heavy!