Tony Conrad, Jim O'Rourke, Arnold Dreyblatt - Tonic 19-01-2001
Black Truffle mark the label's 100th release with perhaps the most Black Truffle-appropriate release possible - who needs surprises when your normal is this high calibre? If there is any surprise at all it's that such a gold standard collaboration remained unreleased until now. Tonic documents part of a two day event that took place at the titular New York venue in 2001, capturing the 40 minute collaboration between the titanic Tony Conrad, the only slightly younger Arnold Dreyblatt and the then young pretender, Jim O'Rourke. Both Dreyblatt and O'Rourke are established figures in the avant garde firmament in their own right (the former helped greatly by the latter via a series of reissues), but 22 years ago their status would have been a little different, making this performance a significant cross-generational exchange. Conrad might be the master, but he found not just willing adherents to his approach, but artists able to contribute thoughtfully and reflexively to it. 2001 was an interesting period for experimental music, where thanks to Kranky, Thrill Jockey et al, the autodidactic DIY-focused US underground was ossifying into it's own kind of sensibility. Conrad's work with with drone and just intonation will have had great influence on that - of course Gastr Dal Sol and Conrad had worked together as far back as 95, but this performance feels particularly robust. Who's doing what is not so much hard to discern as besides the point. This feels like pure collaboration, all three players in service to the same idea, a shared monument to the tonal possibilities of drone that nears trandscendance. And wow, those bowed strings seem to arc forever. Cathedrals of sound, a space you can stand inside. An unmistakbly iconic performance.
LT01: 70% wool, 15% polyester, 10% polyamide, 5% acrylic 900 Grms/mt