David Toop The Black Chamber

Apparently the Black Chamber was a room that belonged to one of the early emperors of Japan used on occasion when he would cook for himself as an art form. The chamber was black from the soot that resulted from the cooking fire. Perhaps the title is in reference to various musicians in the Black Chamber who, like good chefs, cook-up fresh ideas, and improvise on existing concepts to create something new. The Black Chamber is improvised music, led, played and produced by music journalist/composer David Toop. Among the various sounds on this recording are organs, strings, guitars, vocals, reed pipes, soprano sax and field recordings. Unlike most improvised albums, which tend to be instrumental musings in a vacuum of silence, The Black Chamber is full-sounding, set in an ambient landscape and has musical form with tangible melodies. That is not to say that this album is without its disparate side. The musicians jam together in an arena with instrumental loops, bits of spoken word, fragmented field recording noises with flowery instrumental solos embedded; like the choice saxophone solo by Lol Coxhill. Between the samples and playing, a narrative emerges, keeping the listener engaged. (Sub Rosa)