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Takuroku

Our new in house label, releasing music recorded in lockdown.

Nour Mobarak is a compelling new artist from Los Angeles whose work, as she describes "excavates violence and desire – the compulsions, and glitches in both a person or nation state." We fell in love with what she does thanks to her 2019 album 'Father Fugue', released on Sean McCann's Recital label. In it, the left channel of the audio documents conversations with her father Jean Mobarak - a polyglot who has a 30-second memory and lives in the mountains of Lebanon - while the right channel is composed simply of improvised song. The result conjures a similar effect that of Godard's 'Numéro deux' - whereby documented, composed and improvised elements are projected through two channels, then coagulate to form a multi-faceted, beguiling whole. To understand Nour as a film-maker - someone who acts behind and in-front of the lens - is perhaps easier than that of a musician. When we asked Nour to do a release for Takuroku she kindly responded by offering us compositions used in her multi-disciplinary, multi-channel live performances over the past 2 years, mixed down to stereo as self-contained works. What we hear is just one part of her overall projection, but that of which delves deep; investigating the voices of others, her own voice and vocal material that forms human languages. It's poetry, a Cassavetes set piece, a walk in the park, a voice in abandon, a philosophical meditation on voice, agency and human beings - but of course much more than ideas projected on a flat canvas. Each piece moves and shakes, creating rhythms emanating from the syntax and intonation of language and the voice. Toothtone sounds like rippling streams of water running concurrently, splashing into themselves and overlapping one another. Allophone Movement and its arrangement of voices captures the immediacy of machine-funk sampling techniques, whipping the immediacy of vocal expression into a composition that swings back and forth, like a Ron Hardy edit stripped to its bones. On Phoneme Movement her own vocals take centre stage with spirals, gurgles, purrs and cries that reach ecstatic heights: the voice excavated from its bodily origins. Hopefully we'll be able to present Nour's work in Cafe OTO some time in the not too distant future. -- All music & recording by Nour Mobarak Photo: Performance of “Phoneme Movement II”, Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, December 8, 2018. Photo by Marco Kane Braunschweiler, design by Oli Barrett. “Allophone Movement” samples sourced from the UCLA Phonetics Archive. “Toothtone” voices recorded in Pershing Square, Los Angeles, September 2019.This project was supported, in part, by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant. Editing technical assistance for “Allophone Movement” and “Toothtone” by Sean McCann & Juliette Amoroso

Nour Mobarak – 3 Performance Works

Ute Kanngiesser - cello Daniel Kordík - field recording The release is accompanied by a PDF of writing by Evie Ward in response to the release. -- Please note that the WAV recording of this release has been recommended by the artists involved. -- "At 4AM I slip out of the house to cycle east, towards dawn, with cello on my back and a stool strapped to the rack. The word 'essential' is turning over and around in my head. I am taking the quietest roads, trying to stay invisible, worried that someone might stop me and interfere with our plans. I find Daniel with recording equipment and hand sanitizer and together we walk another distance through dawn and smell of rain. We enter the Marshes, these essential lungs of East London. It is where he had come almost every day of these locked-down weeks to field-record and breathe. And it is where Evie and I met for walks and secret music - carefully bending the laws of the officially ‘essential’. I am wondering about places and times when public music was forbidden and never driven to extinction. This time it is for pandemic reasons and the severity of consequences is unspeakable and has turned into much noise in my head. But the birds, the wind, and the rain offer such relief and I feel so shy in their presence that my music can only become the smallest of offerings to them in the rainless window between 4.48AM and 5.15AM." - (Ute Kanngiesser, June 2020) -- Photography by Daniel Kordík Cover design by Oliver Barrett

Ute Kanngiesser & Daniel Kordík – 5AM

“Nostalgia (from nostos – return home, and algia – longing) is a longing for a home that no longer exists or has never existed. Nostalgia is a sentiment of loss and displacement, but it is also a romance with one’s own fantasy. Nostalgic love can only survive in a long-distance relationship. A cinematic image of nostalgia is a double exposure, or a superimposition of two images – of home and abroad, past and present, dream and everyday life. The moment we try to force it into a single image, it breaks the frame or burns the surface.” - Svetlana Boym, “The Future of Nostalgia” “I’m not deliberately out to antagonise an audience or spite them or anything like that, but if they adopt the attitude of ‘This isn’t what we expected’, then yippee, I’m gonna wallow in that, because you shouldn’t sit back and expect anything at all.” - John Lydon, “Anger is an Energy” Spring time. Three period instruments from the turn of the century: Yamaha CS1X, Korg MonoSynth 2000, MicroKorg Synth Vocoder. Fingers fumble, sounds happen - obnoxious, unapologetic, fragile like a wobbly cassette that you’ve listened to a million times on the Walkman you dropped before you could afford a Discman. I’m not playing the instruments, they are playing themselves, they are playing me and there is no forcing or fighting them. Faded-photograph sunshine sounds of ’90s electronica, caramelised sweetened condensed milk, the beach, rage, DIY chamber music for cats. Then, it stops: the end of nostalgia and the end of the world as you know it. We are getting old and the sounds have lost their innocence. Thank you to Ed (Teddy) Bennett, Michael Keeney and Hannah Peel for the synth love.  -- Xenia Pestova Bennett - composition / performance / recording / mixing -- Ed Bennett, production / creative & artistic concept Antony Ryan (RedRedPaw), mastering Oliver Barrett, cover design from a photo by Xenia Pestova Bennett

Xenia Pestova Bennett – Atonal Electronic Chamber Music For Cats

OTOROKU

In house label for Cafe OTO which documents the venue's programme of experimental and new music, alongside re-issuing crucial archival releases.

Two totally infectious sets from Decoy - the trio of John Edwards, Steve Noble and Alexander Hawkins - reunited with pocket trumpet and saxophone player Joe McPhee on the closing night of his four day residency at Cafe OTO. In the eight years between the recordings which make up ‘AC/DC’ and their last release ‘Spontaneous Combustion’, Decoy and each of its members have been practicing individually at the very top of their form. Coming together again in such celebratory circumstances and in the good company of a fantastic crowd set the scene for a very special night.  As they begin, Alexander Hawkins casts a needling surface between his Hammond organ and John Edwards’ loose splatters and slaps of low end bass. McPhee skitters over them with his pocket trumpet by way of introduction; Steve Noble strikes his rims in anticipation. The mood in the room is that of a rock band reformed, of a certain number of “boys” being “back in town”. The first set sees moments of frenetic free jazz peel off into weirdo soul territory and when switched to saxophone halfway through, McPhee’s romantic lyricism is utterly beautiful. When a groove sets in, Hawkins’ B3 ascension in harmony with an ever powerful Edwards-Noble rhythm section sees the room thicken and swirl to the point of giddiness. There is one unreal part at 22:22 where we’re sure you can hear Edwards’ bass vocalising.  Regrouped for a second set, Steve Noble’s metallic textures meld with detuned arco bass to create an unholy atmosphere, ripe for Hawkins to play out the eerier end of the Hammond. When McPhee sounds a sax motif the band catches it quickly and it’s soon wickedly morphed and stretched by each player, recurring to absurdity in a stoned out funk free for all.  The whole recording bleeds enthusiasm and joyful imagination and is a brilliant document of an unforgettable evening. Decoy are a limitless band who play nowhere near enough. We cannot attest to them any more: Book them, buy this, go and see them if you can.   --- John Edwards / bass Alexander Hawkins / hammond b3 Joe McPhee / pocket trumpet, alto sax, voice Steve Noble / drums --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on Friday 10th May, 2019. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Artwork and layout by Oliver Pitt. Photos by Dawid Laskowski. Printed in an edition of 1000. OTOROKU023CD. 

Decoy with Joe McPhee – AC/DC

gjērhan, (!) From subterranea, sweat, haze and dedication emerging out of intimate and intense weekly meetings begun in 2009 – their first, 2012 public performance, squeezed into a London basement was a sheer, vexed and exhilarating smack of organic, heterodyning ideas, and taut, lowbeating lumps. Reemerge/revanish. With the economy of familiar/traditional raw tools feedback, drumkit, altosaxophone, time, space and emotion lll人 move from molten musical pasts to grow future pleasures in sound. The ingredients are familiar, but the listening is not. At its heart is a still, undecorated concentration fuelling an extreme testing of limbs, language and order. This has no concern with collapsing difference into a vogueish flattened mass froth, but searches – forensically, ceaselessly – for something to chew, in the challenge of discretion and integrity or asylum in the body of its instruments. Akilsakilan learning, Doughnut. Finding, twisting and hammering out an expanding musical universe balanced only by its own logics – lll人 have few obvious comparisons. Their performances are consistent radical negotiations of the emotional, physical and social energies of the environments they sound out. Perfectly Reasonable. [The second side was recorded at a summer fundraiser concert for Project Fukushima (This followed a solo performance by Evan Parker who later joined the group for a quartet) and the first as part of the inaugural INTERSECT festival four months later.] Recorded at Cafe OTO on 28 August 2013 (Fukshima) by Stuart Bannister and 7 December 2013 (Intersect) by Kate Arnold. Mixed by Paul Abbott. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx, Berlin. Design by Paul Abbott. Inner sleeve by Paul Abbott, Cara Tolmie and Conal Mcstravick

lll人 – gjērhan

Dedicated to the memory of Tony Marsh The recordings on this double LP are taken from the first night of Roscoe Mitchell's inaugural two day residency at Cafe OTO in 2012 and his first time playing with drummer Tony Marsh and double bassist John Edwards. It was one of those nights where the music electrifies the room. Everyone on edge. Everything alive with the possibilities. Although there was much talk after the concert of the group playing together again this would sadly be the first and last time the trio would play. Tony passed away unexpectedly just a few weeks later making this his last documented performance and a fitting tribute to a truly great drummer and percussionist. Roscoe Mitchell is one of the most important saxophonists and composers of the 20th Century. Active since the 1960s as a bandleader, mentor, collaborator and teacher. Mitchell was a founding member of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago. He has been a pivotal figure in the collective re-imagining of what is possible in jazz, improvisation and beyond combining an instantly recognisable sound on the saxophone with staggering technique (check the lengthy stretch of sustained circular breathing on SIDE C) and an arresting, fractured melodic sensibility. On this date he quickly realised he was in the company of two musicians who could match his vision and create music that is more than the sum of its parts. John Edwards is a vital presence in London's creative music community. A true virtuoso, his staggering range of techniques and boundless musical imagination have redefined the possibility of the double bass and dramatically expanded its role. No one else played or plays drums like Tony Marsh. Richard Williams had previously described Tony's "marvelous ability to erase the boundary between time and no-time" and here, on the jerry-rigged suspended percussion set-up he'd developed (no kick or hi-hats) he opens up a beautifully resonant space, quietly directing the pulse whilst allowing you to fully hear the upper-register harmonic detail and flickering pizzicato of John Edward's bass. You'd be hard pressed to hear anything in the playing that would hint at his shock passing only a month later.
 "Listen closely, take a chance, keep going even if money's tight, and you'll find the real reward – that's why Tony was hip in the most meaningful sense … And he didn't need to play loud, or be loud, to get that intensity. It's like splitting diamonds or something. If you know exactly the right place to make the impact, you don't need to hit anything hard." - Evan Parker 

 (Quoted in John Fordham's Obituary for Marsh)

Roscoe Mitchell / Tony Marsh / John Edwards – Improvisations

For the time being we are unable to get to the post but if you order now your item will be posted as soon as things return to normal. Thank you for your support. Keiji Haino, one of the foremost exponents of the Japanese avant-garde, always provides a masterclass in constantly shifting improvisation. John Butcher is a saxophonist of rare grace and power, who has expanded the vocabulary of the saxophone far beyond the conventions of jazz and other musics, to encompass a staggering range of multiphonics, overtones, percussive sounds, and electronic feedback. Haino and Butcher met when Butcher opened for Fushitsusha at the show Cafe OTO arranged at St. John, Hackney - 5 years ago. In 2016 they were invited to play two duo concerts – at The Empty Gallery in Hong Kong and at Cafe OTO in London. Otoroku is proud to present the audio documentation of their first UK meeting. Recorded live at Cafe OTO in July 2016 the results are an uncompromising milieu of swirling sound played out as a total union of these two legendary performers.  Haino’s blues drenched guitar entices skittering notes from Butcher’s sax playing as numerous sonic clues unravel over the course of of this unique and compelling journey. Light Never Bright Enough comes in a limited edition of 500 LPs and 500 CDs with matt sleeves and japanese removable obi-strip. --- Keiji Haino / vocal, guitar, flutes   John Butcher / saxophones and feedback --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO on the 9th July 2016 by Luca Consonni. Mixed by John Butcher. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Photography and design by ORGAN. 

HAINO KEIJI / JOHN BUTCHER – LIGHT NEVER BRIGHT ENOUGH

OTOROKU Downloads

Download only arm of OTOROKU, documenting the venue's programme of experimental and new music.

Badhead / Modern Sky World Music

Two experimental strands from China's Modern Sky label, publishing left field local music and folk gems.

Red Scarf has been described as “a trio of madmen” who deconstruct, reassemble, and then decimate genre after genre, are clearly having a blast with their take on rock, free jazz, and noise. Consisting of guitarist Li Xing, drummer Deng Boyu, and saxophonist/flutist Lao Dan and formed in 2014, the band released their self-titled debut in 2016 on BADHEAD. In 2018, Red Scarf released their sophomore They Know We Know They’re Lying. Later in that year they supported krautrock legend Damo Suzuki on his Chinese tour.  Unlike their improvisation-based debut, They Know We Know They’re Lying showcases the bands ability to deliver tightly structured and carefully balanced prog-rock compositions characterized by harsh textures, rich dynamics, and wicked black humour. As reviewed by Live Beijing Music: “Take the soundtrack to Tom and Jerry, douse it in bath salts and you only have the slightest sense of the glorious mayhem found within Red Scarf’s frantic and beautifully assembled 2018 releaseThey Know We Know They’re Lying. A deep dive into the mouth of madness that pits renegade sax, high-pitched souna against a fierce battle between guitar and drums, eventually transforming into a symphony of metal-tinged breakdowns and free jazz roar before it once again jack knifes elsewhere…”  --- Li Xing / guitar, synthesizer Lao Dan / saxophone, bamboo flute, suona  Deng Boyu / drums   --- BADHEAD (B-052). May 2018. All Music: Red Scarf

Red Scarf – They Know We Know They're Lying

Open Mouth

Heavy experimentation out of Northampton, Massachusetts. Operated by guitarist and graphic artist Bill Nace. 

Long sold out vinyl! "Nace and Dilloway make the perfect duo. For years, they've each kept their music fresh, always avoiding preconceived notions of what they're supposed to do. Dilloway's tape loops and electronics are routinely musical, which Nace's guitar always stretches to the edges of alien electricity. Both exude a refreshing and vehement disregard for cliché without leaving behind the necessity of tradition. One hears the earliest hints of electronic music, the conceptual and visceral assault of noise, the structural and spiritual liberation offered by free jazz, the delicate patience of extended techniques, and so much more." Matt Krefting. --- Bill Nace / electric guitarAaron Dilloway / tape --- Originally released on cassette as Silver Lining #2. Mastered by Carl Saff. "At long last, this recording sees a proper release. There's a story: Initially, I released this as a cassette on my own label, Silver Lining. To be fair, you can hardly call it a label. I have no right releasing my own music, let alone anyone else's. I'm bad at manufacturing things, I'm bad at promoting them, and I'm especially dismal when it comes to packing things up and mailing them out. And so this cassette had a brief brush with public life and then vanished, due primarily to my negligence and laziness. This is where Open Mouth, once again, comes to the rescue. The record comes in a gorgeous full-color sleeve, and the sound is so much finer than the cassette that even the more sweaty-palmed collectors out there will gladly welcome this object in favor of its previous incarnation, and join me in eagerly awaiting the day when these two release a proper full length. I like that they call this EP BAND. It's a subtle melding of the personal and the conceptual. The 'B' from 'Bill,' the 'A' from 'Aaron,' the 'N' from 'Nace,' and the 'D' from 'Dilloway.' It's simple. But they're not really a band. A band is a thing that exists over time and practices and builds its own identity. Or something. This is a duo. A meeting of the minds. A conversation. A lost weekend. At their best, duos illuminate the core tenets of individuals while pushing them into territory they might not otherwise occupy. It sounds easy but it's anything but. Just look at divorce rates. Nace and Dilloway make the perfect duo. For years, they've each kept their music fresh, always avoiding preconceived notions of what they're supposed to do. Dilloway's tape loops and electronics are routinely musical, which Nace's guitar always stretches to the edges of alien electricity. Both exude a refreshing and vehement disregard for cliché without leaving behind the necessity of tradition. One hears the earliest hints of electronic music, the conceptual and visceral assault of noise, the structural and spiritual liberation offered by free jazz, the delicate patience of extended techniques, and so much more. This collaboration though, like their back catalogs, works because it is beholden to none of these. Their individual voices are recognizable, yet the record's allure is found when those voices funnel into one another. In these moments, who's who becomes irrelevant, and the music is elevated to its rightful place, far above the concerns of personality or individualism. The gurgles, scrapes, moans, and loops build their own intoxicating fog, a metallic expanse with its own logic. After all these listens, I remain disoriented by it. It's the kind of thing you want to play again because you can't quite remember exactly what it sounds like. I'm reminded of J.G. Ballard: 'The slower the clock, the nearer it approximated the infinitely gradual and majestic progression of cosmic time.' And maybe that's the thing. Nace and Dilloway each embrace the immediacy of moments and the endless march of time equally, so for this record to finally see the real light of day is no minor event." (Matt Krefting, Holyoke, MA, 2016)

Aaron Dilloway & Bill Nace – Band EP

"John Truscinski has made a solo recording called ‘Bridle Path’, and it’s a document of a journey, a singular meditation - a universal landscape soundtrack. Reflections and refractions of sound swim around in their own subtlety. A conversation gets out of its own way, using an unknown language of letting go. A focused void. Drone slabs and microtones bend and waver, slipping beneath the surface of sound. Using a a mini brute and Korg synthesizer, John carved out time to occasionally sit in a room to work on these recordings. Over a span of two years, he visited this room when he felt like he needed to. Tones travelled through effect pedals and out of speakers, filling up the solitary space with shifting waves. A delicate arrangement of equipment allowed john to be still in the room with this music, immersing himself in it’s subtle guidance. The instruments and recording device were always present and ready when the connection felt right. It feels right. Music underneath. As much as Bridle Path is a venture inward, It’s also a balm for troubled world. There is depth to this recording, and to my ears it’s grounding and illuminating. I listened closely to 'Bridle Path' on my own wanderings, and it became the perfect soundtrack as the moving scenery folded into itself. My days were filled with long drives, airport lines, windy highways, and sweeping views. I I sat still, but also moved at a clip, feeling tired and awake as dramatic landscapes changed with every passing view. ‘Bridle Path’ helped me find stillness in all of the movement. I considered the music a gift. John and I once traveled out to the coast of a famous surf spot in Portugal, Praia Dos Supertoubos, and found ourselves in front of some enormous waves - the biggest I had ever seen. The oceans magnifying energy was surreal, and I sat on the beach with my camera, thrilled as John immersed himself in the wondrous ocean. The massive waves swelled, and there was John, brave and symbiotic - floating, rising, falling, and gliding. This music captures my own vision of him out there on the water. Countless performances, recordings, destinations, discussions, luke warm coffee, big hooded coats, foggy windows, gear in an elevator, junky practice spaces. There was momentum of feeling our own way, laughing, and listening. John always listening seriously. King Tubby pointing to his head. The kind of friend when you get to know their various cars over the years, and enjoy spending time in them. One channel of a stereo working. It always felt good. John has a valued ear and acute sensibility for sound, and ‘Bridle Path’ is new evenidece of his depth. There is a passage that has been offered, and I’m pleased to know that it now exists out there in the world. Listen for yourself." - Steve Gunn November 2019

John Truscinski – Bridle Path

Gates And Variations rounds out a loose trilogy of records by Jake Meginsky for Open Mouth. Not an intended trilogy on Jakes part but it has become one to my mind. It has come to be how I listen to them and experience them, all informing each other, echoing and challenging each other and growing into each other's space and light like a garden of plants that would never actually coexist anywhere in reality. Jake is always tirelessly reaching for something new yet I'd avoid using the word progression here. It instead feels to me like the last piece of a puzzle, or of a world created by some Jack Kirby demigod. Something has been completed and now all the pieces are interchangeable. The first can go last. The middle can be first. The whole thing becoming a universe looping in on itself with a multitude of entry points and not a lot of exits. These are dense environments where sections can move from microscopic to macroscopic, day to night and back again, so effortlessly that it's hard to tell if it's intended or if something imperceptible within you shifted the locus of your perception. But it is all very intentional, something carefully carved to give the feeling of something, though unfamiliar and strange, organic and grown. There's a sense of danger here like warning transmissions, concussive roiling rhythms and jagged disturbances. Yet also clear straight lines giving way to enveloping curve and staggering beauty. Supplant the beginning with the end with the beginning." --Bill Nace, Philadelphia, PA, September 2017.

Jake Meginsky – Gates & Variations

Old Heaven Books

Label based out of a book shop & cafe in Shenzhen, China.

"Born in 1945, Guo Yongzhang has performed zhuizi - a traditional Chinese style of narrative singing - for half a century. An artform whose history spans over a century, zhuizi originated in Henan province. Its main musical instruments are the zhuihu, a two-stringed bowed lute, and the zhuibang, a wooden percussion played with foot tapping.  Almost completely blind, Guo Yongzhang is known for his peculiar, resounding yet smooth vocal style. He sings with deep feelings and great verve. Lyrics deal with both the hardships and good values of life while always maintaining a sense of humour. Despite being long regarded as a folk master, Guo has continued to play tirelessly among ordinary people, often travelling from village to village and performing for a whole day at a time. As he nears the end of his life, Guo regrets that nowadays, few people wish to learn the art ofzhuizi. He worries that this precious art form may soon be lost.  This release, titled after one of Guo Yongzhang’s most well-known songs, Lao Lai Nan, commemorates his performance at the 5th Tomorrow Festival. Guo co-headlined the last day of the festival with French prog-rock act Gong on May 20, 2018. His performance was recorded live and is due to be released on both CD and LP by the Old Heaven label in November 2019. --- Guo Yongzhang /  Zhuihu, Zhuibang, Vocals --- Recorded in the late-1980s, Released in 2018

Guo Yongzhang – Lao Lai Nan (Old Man’s Blues)

Astral Spirits

Nate Cross' cornerstone label for jazz and improvised music based out of Austin, Texas and influenced by Cross' time in Chicago.

The trio of Chicagoans Josh Berman (cornet) and Jason Roebke (double bass) and English free improvisation legend Paul Lytton came together in 2016 for a short European tour. The trio presented music from Berman’s critically acclaimed recording A Dance and a Hop on Delmark Records. On the course of the tour, the music became freer and freer, finally arriving at a unique language where trad jazz and pure sound improv come together. It’s a truly fresh sound and context for these three improvisers. "Berman’s puckered tone, fatback licks and tart smears—as ever bridging the gap between the garrulous, vocalic excursions of Ellington trumpeters like Bubber Miley and Rex Stewart and modern seekers like Wadada Leo Smith and Nate Wooley--are steadily buffeted by the rhythm section’s shifting gambits. The bassist unfurls deep, woody lines and the drummer peppers his flow with wonderfully jarring, chaotic accents, but despite the turbulence they forge an inexorable sense of forward motion, providing a platform for the cornetist to toggle masterfully between lyric flurries and knotted outbursts." - Peter Margasak --- Josh Berman / cornet Paul Lytton / percussion Jason Roebke / bass --- Recorded by: JD Service (Jose & Marco Dicati) at Cinema Torresino, Padova, Italy - April 7, 2018.Jason Roebke at Fri Form, Trondheim, Norway - April 11, 2018. Mixed by Todd A. Carter and Jason Roebke at belAir, Chicago.Mastered by Alan Jones at Laminal Audio. Thanks to Ståle Liavik Solberg, Tollef Østvang, and Stefano Merighi. Design by Jaime Zuverza.Layout by Drew Liverman.

Berman, Lytto, Roebke – Trio Discrepancies

tsss tapes

Spanish born label set up in 2019, now based in Perugia, Italy. Textural, improvised free form music.

Ogun

Legendary South African & British jazz label started in 1973 by bassist Harry Miller, producer Hazel Miller and sound engineer Keith Beal. Still active. 

First studio recording of Louis’s latest group creating great, joyous, South African influenced music. "From its gamelan-like-opening cut, to its closing peaceful moments, this is world-class improvisation and masterful compositional thinking. The star of this session is of course the leader who gives his name to the quartet. Louis Moholo-Moholo, a powerful, effusive and sensitive drummer who moved from his native South Africa to Britain in the 1960s and became an important voice in the then burgeoning improvised music scene seems to have lost none of his exquisite verve and can still lay down some mighty flourishes on his kit. He's joined here by three other blokes who are much younger men, but pianist Alexander Hawkins, bassist John Edwards bass and saxophonist Jason Yarde are all up to the task of matching the leader's drive. The insistent, irrepressible "For the Blue Notes" which starts off the set, alludes to the drummer's legendary band of the 60s. Other historical references include the piece "Tears for Steve Biko," which is part lament, part protest song. The title cut is one solid blockbuster of a tune, with everyone going full throttle. The most loveable thing about this session recorded in November 2013 is that there's a balance of what has often been called "inside" and "outside" playing, as this quartet, with a finely-honed telepathic sense, works as a tight unit, even when each musician is pushing at the limit of cohesion and coherence in some of the wilder moments, of which there are many. But the music can downshift to a lullaby softness, as in 'Something Gentle" and sway gracefully in the waltz-time of "Angel-Nomali." There's lots to praise here, but just the magic of Moholo's playing, with its inevitable echoes of his phenomenal free jazz style of the 60s makes this a memorable release well worth having.' --- John Edwards / bassAlexander Hawkins / pianoJason Yarde / saxophoneLouis Moholo Moholo / drums ---

Louis Moholo-Moholo Quartet – 4 Blokes

"From the Miller box of tapes and other archives, this music has not previously been released, taken from live performances of different Ispingo formats in the UK and Europe. The music sounds a vibrants as when played in 1973 and 1976, so many memories." - Hazel Miller. "This previously unreleased material comes from 1970s Miller-led gigs in Britain and France, featuring two superb free-jazz pianists (the late Chris McGregor on the first; Britain's Keith Tippett on the second), legendary alto saxophonist Mike Osborne, and drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo. Gripping episodes abound, such as the sound of Osborne's vinegary, Ornette-meets-Ayler sax soaring over Miller's whipping bass figures on the gruffly tender Bloomfield, McGregor's fills on the riffy Quandry (made fortuitously more pungent by the off-pitch piano), and two versions of the springy, Mingus-like Touch Hungry – the first with a percussively Monkish McGregor, the second with some fine, Miles-like trumpet from Marc Charig. Those who remember Miller's heyday will love this rough-hewn document, as will fans of the South Africa-celebrating Townships Comets and Moholo-Moholo's current work." - John Fordham --- Harry Miller / bass Louis Moholo-Moholo / drums Keith Tippett / piano Mike Osborne / alto saxophone Mark Charig / trumpet Malcolm Griffiths / trombone --- Tracks 1 - 3 recorded in London, England on June 4th 1973. Tracks 4 - 7 recorded at Chateauvallon Jazz Festival, France, July 7th, 1976.

Harry Miller – Different Times, Different Places

Mappa

Label based in southern Slovakia with a particular interest in the physicalities of sound. 

“The recordings were made over a period of a couple of years. The windmill is located about a mile north of the town where i live, on what i assume is ranch land used for raising cattle. It was once used to pull water from underground to fill a couple of large tanks nearby. It's in a bad state and no longer in use. There are two large crows nests at the top, and the inner workings are laying on the ground next to it.” The recordings were made using a mini-disc recorder and hand made contact microphone. They are monaural recordings. Jeph Jerman is appearing in a variety of musical groups and collaborative projects across different genres for more than three decades. From the nineties, we can see in his extensive work a great interest in the sole act of listening. Rather than a classical musician, he is more suggestive of a sound wanderer who sets off daily from his home to the surrounding Arizona desert (characteristically named Sonoran desert), where he records sound fragments or collects found objects which he uses in his improvisations and performances. As a contemplative walker without a set destination, he is interested in the pure sound without references. To what we listen is not so important, what matters most is the time, place and the way we listen. Unlike other field recording artists, Jerman is not interested in the aesthetic richness or sonic variety, but simplicity, gentle differences, vibrations, moderation, and the primordial animalism on the quiet edge of organic and inorganic nature. The 34° 111' 3" N 111° 95' 4" W named field recording is a collection of three pieces, in which Jerman maps a specific place and which carefully reflect his life philosophy. It’s a recording of an abandoned windmill in different times, stages of decomposition and weather conditions. The symbol of the circle and rotation and the moaning material shaped by nature elements subtly fit in the comprehensive sound diary and environment where Jerman moves and lives. "These days I don't try to evoke anything. I make sound that'll hopefully be listened to.“ Jeph Jerman has already collaborated with artists like Jon Mueller, Ben Owen, Taku Sugimoto, Tony Whitehead, John Hudak, Bernhard Günter, Greg Davis, Tim Barnes, Aaron Dilloway, and others. 

Jeph Jerman – 34°111'3"N 111°95'4"W

“This recording is based on a particular geographic area of Sydney: the industrial zone around Sydenham Train station. As with many inner city industrial areas in large cities all over the western world, this place is ripe for redevelopment. However, in this case, due to the zone being directly underneath the flight path to Sydney airport, as well as being flood prone due to environmental factors, unscrupulous property developers are not able to completely gut the place and erect hideous apartments. What is interesting to me, and what this recording aims to capture, is that these factors – the aeroplanes and the puddles – act as a form of resistance to the development.” (MP Hopkins) MP Hopkins is a hidden treasure from Australia, a sound artist known for his varied music projects and strange mix of lo-fi urban field recordings and intimate bedroom experiments. Sonic details of empty streets from close neighbourhood, subtle intervention and fragments of lonely voice comments are reminding distinctive forms of sound journalism or a diary for night adventurers. Aeroplanes & Puddles follows the previous Traipse - Marrickville (2015) album which is Hopkins's starting point for his walks along the Sydney suburb. Mappa presents the sonic evidence of this opposition; the non-human voices of resistance that the aeroplanes and water speak with in this acoustic environment. The work features field recordings of the area garnished with a text narrated by Hopkins which combines fragments of the 2017 Australian Federal Budget speech and parts of ‘The Powerhouse’ – a radio play by Richard Packer (Gargoyle Poets series, 1972).”Feel free floating in the holy sound voyeurism and thorough collection of evidence from the other world at the same time." --- Recorded, mixed and mastered by MP Hopkins. Artwork and design by Jakub Juhás, Richard Čecho. Photos by Nina Pacherová. Released by mappa as MAP09 in 2018

Mp Hopkins – Aeroplanes & Puddles

"Mappa editions presents special project of Bruno Duplant and Pedro Chambel duo which connects field recordings (2 CD) and Duplant's photographic project emerging from the same concept. “All my new pieces with field recordings are "autofictions/self-fictions". Field recordings, like always with me came from lot of places. I don't care about where were recorded the sound, but much more how to create new entities, territories (the self-fictions/autofictions), which are both fictive, intimate and personal. I like the idea that listeners will enter in that fictive places like if they were real, like they did with a great novel.” Bruno Duplant is sound enthusiast, composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist living in the north of France. In his work he is creating new fictional universes and uncharted territories using many field recordings collected in different parts of world. Architecture and culture of these sonic environments is created in two ways. First one is listening and collecting of surrounding sounds, not especially “natural” ones, but more “cultural” ones. Second one is shaping the sound and the composition itself. “Recording and editing are two different states, one more passive for me (the recording) and the other more active (the work on the sounds, the composition itself). The collection of sounds can be seen as fishing, an artisanal harvest in which one can have good surprises and less good ones. The whole approach is about accepting to make do with this. With this method of work I have to accept the hollow periods, failures and even the doubt.” In this case the role of active listening is shifted from recording in certain time and space towards studio work and to finding new sound elements, relations and spaces. “I see and name my compositional process (whether for instruments or for field recordings) as an "attempt at organizing chance". The composition allows me to assemble more or less logically and incongruously the different sounds collected. I never try to reproduce the sounds that surround me in a logical and precise way. I try to create something new, a new fictional entity that I have named “autofiction”, "self-fiction".” The result is discreet witness of everyday life, where the listening ear is trying to decode and create an imaginative model of well-known place. It is a timeless place, which is possible to visit again and again and explore its hidden corners and details. The orientation in space is not easy since whole surroundings is misted by electronic sounds of Portuguese musician Pedro Chambel. “The use of discreet electronic sounds came from the idea about to ask oneself the question: where does those sounds came from? Are they from the field recordings? Some sounds came from there, some other not, but which ones? I also like the idea of using those sounds as some disruptive elements, like in most of stories, novels or movies.” Duplant is autodidact who following and renewing concepts of John Cage, Luc Ferrari, Rolf Julius or Toshiya Tsunoda. In his work we can also find parallels to literary techniques and space or to forms of reading. “First of all, I am teacher, a librarian teacher. I only make music when I have time, in the evening, on the week-end, in my holidays. I spend most of my time surrounded in books. I have this opportunity. Some authors, some texts, some works have become great sources of inspiration for me. This is the case for all the poetry of Francis Ponge, the texts of Georges Perec, the philosophy of Gaston Bachelard. So, my life, my practices are not compartmentalized. Besides collaborative sound projects duo Duplant/Chambel is also known for their curatorial work in delicious label Rhizome.s. In past they collaborated with Ilia Belorukov, Lance Austin Olsen, Barry Chabala, Nate Wooley, Ryoko Akama, Manfred Werder. Quotes are taken from interview between Bruno Duplant and Tobias Fischer for 15 Questions. www.15questions.net/interview/fifteen-questions-interview-bruno-duplant/page-1/   --- Bruno Duplant / composition, field recordings & discreet electronics Pedro Chambel / discreet electronics  --- Dedicated to Georges Perec. Assembled in Waziers during 2016/2017. Mixed & mastered by Bruno Duplant. Photos from self-fictions/autofictions series by Bruno Duplant. Design by Jakub Juhás. Thanks to Alžbeta Halušková.

Bruno Duplant, Pedro Chambel – Autofictions

"Jani Hirvonen (Uton) and Johannes Schebler (Baldruin) reconstruct the mesmerizing world of the Grykë Pyje swamp tribe. Vinyl in your hands is a ceremonial sonification of the sacred herbarium, painted myths of the animal kingdom and voices behind the thicket. A return to the time when the forests, tree crowns, soil, thickets and heaven were full of continuous murmur. Or, on the contrary, a vision of a future in which the chaos of natural noises will reign. Slimy earthworms and phosphorescent bugs crawl out of the holes and gaze toward the sky. Brightly colored birds pick juicy fruits and there is no silence, because it is absorbed by the buzz of a virgin ecosystem. In the caves, marshes and hollows of trees, the most important questions are decided. A polyrhythmic rain falls from the sky and washes the prehistoric mud from mammalian hair. Somewhere to see human footprints, but those who have left them are long hidden under giant leaves. The light, reflected from the vibrant structure of life itself, dances for all, in full color. The feast of photosynthesis. Nothing to see from the top. Plants, moss and mushrooms grow at a tremendous rate. They climb each other to break through the lush green blanket. And above all, the orange disc shines pleasantly." --- All tracks recorded in Turku (Finland) and Wiesbaden (Germany) by Jani Hirvonen and Johannes Schebler in 2018 & 2019 Cover Art: "Encounter", 2019 by Mevlana Lipp & Gallery KUK Colognemevlana-lipp.com Mastered by Pentti Dassum Thanks to Jakub Juhás

Grykë Pyje – Collision And Coalescence

"IQ+1’s third album, titled Conversaphone Plus, as the result of several séances recorded at the end of 2017. Every submersion in its depths is an unrepeatable experience. The organic sonic material is constantly contracting and expanding, adapting itself to the listener’s context, escaping beyond the horizon, creating mimicries, and enticing us to bubbling, popping, and jingling polyrhythms to then release its protective toxins. All six pieces boil on the narrow edge of chaotic decomposition and celestial order in which every sonic detail has its precisely determined position. Field recordings permeate the instruments on an equal footing, making it difficult to identify the sound, instrument, or player, so that each time the record is turned over, a new adventure begins. Federsel (B4, Handa Gote, Gurun Gurun) took care of the connective tissue between the pieces and the balanced post-production architecture. Avoiding irritating instrumental exhibitionism, and egocentric deafness, Conversaphone Plus is nothing less than an uncompromising electro-acoustic testimony to the vitality of the Czech improvising scene. And it is nothing more than an attempt to connect sonic geology with astral listening. Open the window a little – a messenger from the spacecraft known as IQ+1 is descending through the opening." ---  George Bagdasarov / vintage turntable, FX, baritone sax Veronika Hladká / violin  Jana Kneschke / violin  Jaroslav Tarnovski / synths, electronics, percussion, field recordingsPetr Vrba / clarinet, trumpet, electronics  Michal Zbořil / analog synths, electronics, Indian harmonium Kateřina Bilejová / body weather  --- Recorded by Federsel @ Divadlo Ponec, Prague (1-5) Školská 28, Prague (6) Mixed & mastered by Federsel @ CSN, Prague Artwork by Christian Orlock & design by Kella Translated by Ian Mikyska Thanks to Lukáš Jiřička, Divadlo Ponec, Jakub Juhás, Josef Jindrák Special thanks to Federsel 

Iq+1 – Conversaphone Plus

"Panelák. Fenced square garden at the entrance. Tree limbs, dried skin of snake, snails with cracked shells. Once upon a time there were plants. Soaked orange peel in front of the door. Buzzing of door bells. Elevator drone. You count the floors while you follow the picture instructions. Capacity and weight of three-dimensional space. You are entering the apartment. Horseshoe above the door. A wooden mask next to a whistling kettle. Seashells in plastic box. Phantom signal. Sheep fur on the couch. You straighten out all the folds. Mute TV. Documentary program- wolves, octopus, worms and a shark. Clock metronome. One minute, two minutes, twenty-seven minutes. 60% polyester pyjamas. Brain-shaped smog behind the window. Smoke, dust or just fog. You put wax in one ear, cotton in the other. I love this city and its outlying lands. My romantic landscape.Sarah Hughes’ multidisciplinary arts practice, comprising composition, performance, curating and installation, revolves around the relationship between social and environmental systems of cooperation. The work draws from various contexts including ecology, feminist politics, alternative economies, land use, and protest in order to explore speculative systems of organisation and collaboration as the ground for social change.Hughes’s work has been exhibited and performed internationally, including at South London Gallery, Punt WG Amsterdam, Cass Sculpture Foundation, Supplement, and Modern Art Oxford. Her compositions have been performed by various ensembles and at various festivals including London Contemporary Music Festival, Music We'd Like To Hear, and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Realisations of her compositions have been published by Another Timbre, Suppedaneum, Melange Editions, and Consumer Waste, and broadcast on the BBC." --- Composed and performed by Sarah HughesFor zither, piano, Hammond organ, sine tones, white noise, electric harpsichord and objects.Written in response to the work of Fernand Léger First performed at an exhibition of his work at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes --- Recorded by Patrick Farmer at SARU studios, 2017, OxfordThe recording was supported Sound and Music and Oxford Brookes UniversityArtwork by Andrea Šafaříková (andreasafarikova.com)Risograph print by HIBERNANT.NET

Sarah Hughes – I love this city

Leo Records

Huge catalogue of free improvisation from 1979 to today, with a focus on Soviet musicians. 

"Alexander Kan’s liners do a good job of setting the stage occupied by these pre-perestroika musicians; he recounts scenes that read like LeCarre. And indeed the strongest impression of this music is its urgency. Cliched reflections about the tormented Russian anima are almost unavoidable, but the fact is that music has great immediacy for people in times of crisis; I have seen it in such unromantic settings as an RAF base on the eve of the Falklands gambit. This urgency is what compels Vyacheslav Ganelin (piano, various instruments), Vladimir Tarasov (percussion) and Vladimir Chekasin (saxes, various) to free improvisations of sustained focus and intensity at live sets recorded in Leningrad and West Berlin. The latter appearance greatly impressed the Western critics, and the music stands up well. These men are playing for their lives, and have no time to worry about whether this or that transition might be difficult. As a result potential pitfalls vanish into thin air as they achieve a kind of mobility rare outside of Sun Ra and a freedom that must have been sweet indeed." - Duck Baker --- Vladimir Tarasov / drums, percussion, bells, talking drumVyacheslav Ganelin / piano, bassett, guitar, percussionVladimir Chekasin / as, ts, wooden flute, cl, bassett-horn, percussion, voice --- Part 1 recorded live in Leningrad, Nov 5, 1980. Part 2 recorded live in West Berlin, October 29, 1980. Tapes remastered by Alan Moseley. Special thanks to Liz Trott for smuggling out the tapes. 

The Ganelin Trio – Ancora Da Capo

This record of zany duets is among Eugene Chadbourne's wildest and dearest recordings, featuring selections from over two decades. These duets with Han Bennink, Derek Bailey, the late Charles Tyler, John Zorn, and others, showcase the woolliest side of Chadbourne's woolly playing and his dodging all over the musical and historical map. The first track is an acoustic version of John Lee Hooker's "Whiskey and Women," accompanied by Bennink playing a pizza box with brushes, a giant bass autoharp played with drumsticks, and, of course, a drum kit. Chadbourne plays the tune straight (for him) at the beginning, even getting all the words right, but then veers off his National Steel onto a "communist" five-string banjo, and he and Bennink run the course, carrying the off-meter 12-bar blues as off-world as they can go, laughing all the way. Next up is Derek Bailey and Chadbourne on two selections. The first, "In Search of Carl La Fong," is filled with commentary by both men. Bailey's guitar and Chadbourne's electric rake and electrified banjo trip and slip all over one another here, with respect and purpose, of course, but nonetheless sloppily. It's a rousing series of musical maneuvers at over nine minutes. When Bennink and Chadbourne reunite, it's a darker, more percussive show: feedback from rhythm and lead instruments becomes the M.O. by which they create something resembling a melodic idea from the wreckage. And it's quite beautiful, as Gershwin's songbook comes through as the melodic framework for the improvisation. The work with Tyler, "In Between Comme C and Come Saw," is balls-out space improv, though the master saxist uses his baritone in striking ways not usually becoming of the instrument itself. It becomes a kind of clogged, scraped, razor-voiced bell in the tower of noise. Tyler draws microtones out of the instrument we have literally never heard before, and Chadbourne is content to lend idiomatic support to this gracious unfolding. "Red Lightning, Pt. 1" by Chadbourne and Zorn is hilarious. This is more in line with Zorn's Classic Guide to Strategy than anything else, in both spirit and execution -- though there are no duck calls credited on this recording. There is space here, sometimes long periods of it, where what is happening between the pair is not readily apparent; there is plenty of trickery and tomfoolery as well, leaving the listener guffawing in more than a few places.

Eugene Chadbourne In Duets – Boogie in the Hook

Incus Recordings

British free improvisation label, established in 1970 by Derek Bailey, Tony Oxley and Evan Parker.

Penultimate Press

Run by Mark Harwood / Astor, Penultimate Press operates mainly in the fields of music concrète, electro-acoustic composition & processed sound. Unheard of underground alongside crucial reissues.

Roaratorio

Small batch operation imagined by James Lindbloom out of Minneapolis, USA. Big hitting free-jazz, composed works and music concrète. 

David Maranha’s recordings stretch back over 20 years with the Portuguese avant trio Osso Exótico, as well as collaborations with Z’ev and Minit. A followup to Marches Of The New World (2007), Antarctica is made up of two side-long excursions into monolithic drone-rock. In the vein of Tony Conrad & Faust, “Venus In Furs,” La Monte Young and Terry Riley, Maranha’s ensemble is driven by keyboards, strings, and hypnotized-heartbeat percussion. Like the great white expanse of the titular continent, it can be taken in simply as a glorious wash of sound; listen to it closely, however, and you’ll hear the smallest details jump out in high relief: a feather can move a mountain." "They started playing this album and there was this really heavy, slow, dragging rhythm to it, a bit like John Cale's viola drones, times a hundred. It sounded so warm that it was like embers from a bonfire." - Elias Rønnenfelt  “The keening violin nicely shorts out most higher thought, the buzzing organ evaporates the rest, and the music’s stolid trudge will lure your pulse into locked step. The textures are raw, the sound hypnotic, the effect nicely time-stopping.” – Bill Meyer, Dusted “Favoring intensity over sheer volume, Maranha and co achieve a focused minimalism that riff based drone rockers aspire to but cannot reach.” – Nick Southgate, The Wire “Sottilli le variazioni tra la prima e la seconda facciata (niente titoli): batteria che dipana un 4/4 lento e mortuario, organo che naviga e gorgoglia, violino dissonante che disgena, stira e allunga refrain insistiti, un suono che avvolge e stranisce i sensi colpendo al cuore con movimenti di nostalgia irrimediabile (splendido il lavoro di basso di Pilia e di chitarra di Wanke nel secondo late, un letterale capolavoro) che delineano scenari di ghiaccio immoto, solitudine – bianchissimi.” – Stefano I. Bianchi, Blow Up

David Maranha – Antarctica

“Not since the early days of MC5 at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, circa 1968, had there been such an organic melding of sheer metalesque maelstrom and free jazz. These archival recordings from the legendary punk club CBGB capture a moment in time when open-minded musicians from the ‘downtown scene’ were exploring the possibility of bringing Lou Reed’s feedback-infested Metal Machine Music together with Albert Ayler’s Love Cry. Dissipated Face guitarist Kurt “Hologram” Ralske and special guest saxophonist Daniel Carter provided that implausible link between punk rock and avant garde jazz on these 1986 live recordings. Fueled by the throbbing rhythms of Steve “X Dream” Popkin and Ben “Face” Munves, who alternated on bass and drums, Ralske’s twisted, thrashing power chords and shrieking licks blend with Carter’s cathartic alto sax wailing to make the perfect union of disparate worlds." “Ralske would go on to attain a certain level of indie rock fame with Ultra Vivid Scene and subsequently make an impact as a London-based producer-conceptualist-avant-popmeister and visual artist. Carter would become one of the most ubiquitous figures on New York’s free jazz scene, recording with William Parker, David S. Ware, Billy Bang, Alan Silva and Matthew Shipp and the cooperative bands Test and Other Dimensions in Music. But for this one moment back in 1986, their paths crossed with bandmates Popkin and Munves, and the results were frighteningly intense.” – Bill Milkowski.  “Don’t let the Raymond Pettibon cover fool you—this ain’t exactly some SST discard that cluttered up the amerindie record collections of the late-eighties! Dissipated Face, although they could have made it as a fringe signing to that infamous label, are a tad different’n the reams of collegeboy experimental bleats that were getting a whole lotta hosannas from cloistered clods like myself. As if you actually knew, Dissipated Face were a hot trio that was romping through the post-fun era of NYC rock back when they laid these sides down at CBGB on July 31st of 1986, and their mix of everything from free jazz and late-seventies avant-prog to punk rock made for some of the wildest mergings of the form since Red Transistor. Nothing as out-there as that group, but better’n many a similar-minded excursion into freedom aesthetics. What’s best is that none other’n noted avant saxist himself Daniel Carter sat in giving a particularly Albert Ayler-ish air to these excursions, so if you were a fan of this guy’s various endeavors on the stage of the CBGB Lounge during the final days of Hilly you’ll be glad to know that he was in on the punk jazz game for a longer time’n you could’ve dreamed!” – Christopher Stigliano, Black To Comm “Oddball discovery of a live meeting of an early group led by Ultra Vivid Scene’s Kurt Raiske with the always amazing Daniel Carter guesting. Carter’s on sax here, and the blend – right near the end of New York City’s post-SIN Club trajectory – is a very cool collision between free jazz and lateperiod scum-rock readymades. Why was this not known of before?” – Byron Coley, The Wire “If you’re like me, and you got into standard rock music that had choruses and verses and bridges as a child, but always longed for something more extreme, you probably remember the moment you first heard Septic Death or Albert Ayler or Wolf Eyes or Mr. Bungle or whatever it was that destroyed the musical parameters previously established by your brain. I bet if I stumbled into CBGB’s in 1986, everyone probably would’ve been like “who the hell let a five year-old in here, where are his parents?”, but supposing I was a teenager or something, Dissipated Face probably would’ve cracked my skull open with their flailing, post-no-wave free-rock assault. They sound like one of those early ’80s downtown NY groups like Lounge Lizards or Material or Golden Palominos, had they crashed into Reagan Youth on the cab ride over with the few surviving members improvising live.” - Yellow Green Red “Frantic free punk, that reminds me of Easter Monkeys, then Flipper, then Pere Ubu… it’s wound up post VU sounds from the streets of NYC when that still meant something, inflections of no wave spurting saxophone and weirdly HC-esque guitars, but the swagger and fuck-you take over and overpower the skronk…It’s reminiscent of MC5′s incursions into jazz, not jam Ginn band shit, but fucked up on PCP Les Dirtbags out for blood, armed with Sun Ra and the Dead Boys. Sick Pettibon cover art too. Eat it or beat it!” – Layla Gibbon, MaximumRockNRoll “In the mid-1980s, Dissipated Face were one of a number of groups weaned on New Music Distribution Service catalogs, cut-out bins, and ready to occupy something of a vacuum. Punk rock, prog, free jazz, funk, modern composition and Downtown art scum were all part of the landscape and exactly what went into their melting pot. Consisting of guitarist Kurt “Hologram” Ralske and Stephen “X. Dream” Popkin and Ben “Face” Munves trading off bass, vocals and drums, their approach ranged from cut-throat punk slop to unhinged bluesy sleaze (the wonderfully bizarre “Streets Of New York” with its hardcore breakdowns). The guest appearance of alto saxophonist Daniel Carter on these four archival cuts recorded live at CBGB in 1986 adds an extra dose of fire to the proceedings. A regular in the groups of bassist-composer William Parker and a fixture in the New York free jazz environment since the mid-70s, his jubilant squall nudges Ralske’s wiry, feedback-drenched statements to unbridled heights. Given more room to stretch it would be interesting to hear what these players could accomplish, but the seven-inch format gives these tracks an extreme urgency, as though if one blinked the music’s gifts would be lost. Thanks are due to Minneapolis’ Roaratorio Records for releasing this snapshot (replete with Raymond Pettibon artwork) of an ecstatic DIY moment.” – Clifford Allen, Tiny Mix Tapes

Dissipated Face With Daniel Carter ‎- Live At CBGB 1986

At age 78, Joe McPhee shows no sign of slowing down. Plan B is the master improviser’s new trio, with James Keepnews on guitar & laptop and David Berger on drums. A soundtrack to a science fiction movie existing only in their heads, From Outer Space finds McPhee and company envisioning the first encounter between alien life and a delegation of earthlings (while giving a nod to jazz’s original man from another planet, Sun Ra, with a side-long suite dedicated to him). It’s quite unlike anything else in McPhee’s vast discography. Cover art by Judith Lindbloom. “Joe McPhee, who is one-third of the trio Plan B, was born in 1939. He’s old enough to have had the opportunity to see Buck Rogers in the newspaper, laser guns on projected in black and white on neighbourhood cinema screens, and Plan Nine From Outer Space upon its initial release. I can’t tell you if he actually did any of these things, but this much is known: McPhee is a science fiction fan of long-standing; he’s still making new work and taking real chances at the age of 78; and his playing is laser-like in its concentration of information drawn from his own life, the histories of jazz and improvised music, the complicated story of the USA and its relationship with its African-descended residents; and whatever is happening at the second he puts one of his several horns (pocket trumpet and alto and tenor saxophones on this record) to his lips. There’s always a lot of information in every note, reaction, and reference, and so it is with this LP.” - Francis Gooding, The Wire --- Joe McPhee / tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, trumpet James Keepnews / guitar, electronics David Berger / drums --- Artwork by Judith Lindbloom. 

Plan B – From Outer Space

Okka Disk

Founded in '94 in by Bruno Johnson to document some of the Chicago scene.

"Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and bandleader Ken Vandermark is widely known for paying homage to artists of various disciplines, regularly including dedications in his song titles to those who have inspired him. On 35mm, the studio debut of his newest ensemble, The Frame Quartet, Vandermark reveals his longstanding debt to cinema, not only in name, but in approach.  Filmmaking is an intensely collaborative medium, and The Frame Quartet embraces this concept implicitly; Vandermark is the sole writer, yet each of the album's five compositions is conducted by a different member of the quartet, except for "M.E.S. (for Merce Cunningham)." Though only "Lens (for Ennio Morricone)" is dedicated to an artist directly involved in film, all of the pieces embrace the art form's predilection for linear development. Eschewing conventional forms, these labyrinthine structures transition suddenly between modes, emulating cinema's narrative flow with dramatic shifts in tone that parallel the sudden splice cuts found in celluloid editing. Bringing these episodic works to life are some of Chicago's most resourceful improvisers, including cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, bassist Nate McBride, and drummer Tim Daisy—all veterans of Vandermark's numerous ensembles. Utilizing an array of raw, electronic EFX, Longberg-Holm veers from austere acoustic cadenzas to amplified torrents of coruscating feedback. McBride alternates between upright and electric bass, while Vandermark reserves his clarinet for introspective moments, unfurling burly, pneumatic cadences on tenor saxophone elsewhere." - All About Jazz Recorded on 29 July 2009 at Strobe Recording, Chicago

The Frame Quartet – 35mm

"A simple superlative: DKV Trio is the best working band in Chicago jazz. That's no small feat considering that its members work in lot of other combinations. Assembled in 1994 by reedman Ken Vandermark specifically for his recording project Standards (Quinnah), the group forged an instant bond that mandated further investigation. Drummer Hamid Drake never fails to provide a spark and when he and bassist Kent Kessler get on the good foot you can expect a bonfire. Where many free groups avoid funky swinging or melodic materials DKV eagerly embraces them. The trio's open-ended, sometimes set-length improvisations unfold in sections: Drake and Kessler might set up a cyclical groove for Vandermark to dive into or soar above, then an insistent bass clarinet ostinato might free up the bassist to take one of his superb arco solos after which Drake might suddenly kick out a Max Roach high hat jam or hit the ground running with some infectious Afro-pop polyrhythms or reggae snare-centricity. All three players are respectful listeners cresting space and letting the music breathe but challenging each other as well. Kessler benefits greatly from this simultaneous relaxation and prodding, turning in consistently original performances. And Vandermark, already well-known as a firebrand, is quickly emerging as one of the finest young balladeers to tote a tenor. This selling allows him ample room to dip deep into both bags. Each time out DKV invents a new context where daring exploration and pure corporeal pleasure shake hands and get down to business."- John Corbett, Chicago Reader

Dkv Trio – Baraka

Slip

Contemporary composition crossed with experimental song and improvisation from 2012 onwards. Based out of Newcastle & Berlin. 

'Ample Profanity' is composer Laurie Tompkins and cellist Oliver Coates' collaborative debut: coagulated gristle surfacing from a Beal, Brooklyn-brown, Ray V, Bangs, GAN, Rugs and Works acid bath. The EP collects 5 pieces composed by Laurie and then co-edited and performed with Olly. The former plays keys, tape player, and samples, the latter cello with effects. Both sing.  Here is grazed, contorted classicism, here post-binge hallucinations, here gunky funk.  "I met [Laurie] when I was 16, at school. I don’t know where along the way he’s found that he can make a piece out of flower pots and shouting, and it can be genuinely moving. With Laurie, there’s this thing with Netflix culture and tropes in the promotion of electronic dance music. Like, “you must all listen to footwork now” because they market that at you. Ample Profanity is all about awkward juxtapositions: bits of music from House Of Cards coupled with RP Boo. That’s the headspace he’s in and he’s trying to articulate these as cello rhythms. I find that really satisfying. It looks really spidery and architectural on the page. You’ve got to repeat it 17 times and then shout the next thing, so it’s absurdly difficult to play. To play it physically, the energy of playing it, that’s why I do it." - Oliver Coates, The Wire, September 2018. --- Laurie Tompkins / vocals, keys, tape player, samples Oliver Coates / vocals, cello, effects --- Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Artwork by Laurie Tompkins and Suze Whaites.

Laurie & Olly – Ample Profanity

Trost

Ex tape label Trost now publishes free jazz contemporary classics on LP. 

"Found in the archives of FMP!
 The very first – never released – recordings of the Schlippenbach Trio." "Pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach along with Evan Parker on tenor and soprano saxophone and Paul Lovens on drums are one of the longest lasting and most well respected groups in free jazz improvisation. Apparently it all began here on April 2, 1972 during the Workshop Freie Musik at the Acadamy of the Arts, Berlin. It hardly sounds like a first recording, because they come out of the gate with almost telepathic unity on "Deals" which is a continuous collective improvisation lasting over thirty eight minutes. The musicians show an amazing degree of stamina considering that the music is played with a very exciting degree of high energy. While each of these musicians were well on their way to developing their own unique original sounds, Schlippenbach displays a fascinating degree of classical technique filtered through the funhouse fractals of Thelonious Monk's music and Evan Parker's love of John Coltrane is evident. A comparison for Paul Lovens escapes me, but perhaps the fast fleet form of Andrew Cryille or Sunny Murray would be apt. "Deals" is a wonderful roller coaster, most exciting for me when they are barreling ahead full blast with Parker's caustic tone leading the charge over percussive piano and drums. There is quite a bit of dynamism at play as well, the musicians throttle through different speeds and dissolve into solos and duos as the joyride plows onward. Far from exhausted, there are three more shorter improvisations: "Village", "With Forks and Hopes" and then appropriately "Then, Silence." These shorter tracks point to a sharper juxtaposition than the lengthy leading track and show that the group has a wide range and diverse manner of approaches at their command. This was a very enjoyable album, quite exiting in the rough and tumble way that I enjoy, since I often lose my way listening to very quiet and abstract music. This is a must for fans of European free improvisation and is quite interesting in that it shows where the heralded trio got its start." (Music and More) --- Alexander von Schlippenbach / piano 
Evan Parker / tenor and soprano saxophone Paul Lovens / drums --- Recorded by an unknown engineer april 2nd 1972 during the Workshop Freie Musik at the Acadamy of the Arts, Berlin.
All music by Parker/Von Schlippenbach/Lovens
Mastering by Olaf Rupp & Martin Siewert. Produced by Jost Gebers. Cover by Lasse Marhaug. Photos Dagmar Gebers

Schlippenbach Trio – First Recordings

"On a peaceful summer evening in 2002 in the small village of Brösarp in Scania, twelve two- and three-cylinder tractors from the 1950s and 60s were positioned in a semi-circle at a fruit plantation and the sounds of bells ringing can be heard. Before an enthusiastic audience of 1000, the old tractors started their engines and pressed the gas pedals while idling. They raced, purred, played, and sang in the sunset. The landscape in Brösarp is a cultural landscape. With plow, horse, and tractor, it has been created by people. The efforts of generations can be read therein. A cultural landscape is a narrative of the work of people, of their villages and material conditions. Forty and fifty years old, the tractors in Johansson's work are already stories in themselves, and the audience gazes on this evening over a landscape that will soon be a sparsely populated area where not a tractor plows and not a cow grazes. One could thus experience the tractor concert as requiem and lament for a region on its way to disappearing. The tractors sing of a time that has escaped. But if there is no memory, then there is no future. As such, the Konzert für 12 Traktoren is also a work as laudation of work. By the way: if you project a Nuffield 342 faster than light, your vision goes black." --- Tractor drivers: Erland JosefssonKlas BerndtssonLars-Erik OlssonSimon NeumerMagnus HildessonUlf OlssonAnderz ErlandsonPeo LarssonMorgan OlssonChrister OlssonJenny OlssonBo Isaksson -- 12 "Zetor" tractors directed by Sven-Åke Johansson Recorded by Mikael Forsman, Orust, Sweden, 2009.

Sven-Ake Johansson – Konzert für 12 Traktoren

Umlaut

European music collective born in Stockholm in 2014 and currently based in Berlin and Paris. New free music and old repertoires re-imagined. 

After meticulous historical research and recording transcriptions, Pierre-Antoine Badaroux and his orchestra built a new repertoire based on the work of European musicians who discovered and took over jazz - specifically between (1925-1940). These tracks give us a take on the story of the birth of jazz in this new territory at a very special time, and brings to life a music that made history. "Compositions from USSR, Spain or Tchekoslovakia are to be discovered! And maybe, among many others, you will re- discover the swing touch from the British pianist Jack Hylton, the Belgian saxophonist Fud Candrix or Léo Vauchant the French and then Californian trombonist." "The talented and festive 14 musicians of UMLAUT BIG BAND, coming from the new jazz scene (ONJ) and/or from the European improvisation avant-garde (Peeping Tom, Zoor), gathered in 2011 to celebrate with its ecstatic audience the energy of the good ol’ swing bands." --- The Umlaut Big Band are: Pierre-Antoine Badaroux / direction and saxophone alto  Antonin-Tri Hoang / saxophone alto, clarinet Geoffroy Gesser / saxophone tenor and clarinet Jean Dousteyssier / saxophone tenor and clarinet Benjamin Dousteyssier / saxophone alto and baryton  Brice Pichard, Louis Laurain, Emil Strandberg / trumpet Fidel Fourneyron, Michaël Ballue, Nicolas Grymonprez / trombone Romain Vuillemin / guitarBruno Ruder / piano Sébastien Beliah / bass Antonin Gerbal / drums --- Recorded on the 23-27 February, 2015 at Le Luisant, Germigny-L’Exempt. Mixed and mastered by Ken Yoshida. Design by Sven-Åke Johansson et Dominique Hamot.

Umlaut Big Band – Euroswing No. 1

Grip, Denzler and Johansson, respectively in their early thirties, early fifties and early seventies, found each other through the intertwining scenes between Paris and Berlin. When taking a look at their previous musical activities you will get an exquisite account of the contemporary history of experimental improvised musics (yes, plural!) in Europe. It is a dense heritage in service of forming a new model for a creative process. Emerged through the questioning of methods, Neuköllner Modelle combine bipolar procedures in creating something which could be likened with a retarding ballad of the insistent up-tempo murmur accelerating in the backdrop-world of today. "Neuköllner Modelle is a gathering of musical ideas which function really good together. Our instruments and unique way of handling them formed the model serving the creation of Neuköllner Modelle. First there was an idea of the music, then there was the band. Our language is individually different and slowly changing, therefore we have something to say when we play. We are common in being different. A common thought is sometimes more reducing than a dissident. Anyway, without tension or friction, no music. In my music these opposing elements are of great importance. "Sektion 1-2" is an ambitious production in the sense that we have made (and make) our best to make it reflect the first idea we had. The questions of our age-differencies are not so interesting for me. It is more of an obvious and natural fact. What is more sad, maybe, is that not so many musicians today work across the invisible generational borders.'' Joel Grip, interviewed on the Free Jazz Blog "Pairing Denzler, a musician with an astute approach to minimalist saxophone (check out Tenor (Potlatch, 2012)), with Grip, a collocating musician who ties many disparate European improvisational forms together, and Johansson, the Swiss army knife (although he is Swedish) of drummers, is a genius amalgam of musicians." - All About Jazz --- Bertrand Denzler / saxophone Joel Grip / double bassSven-Åke Johansson / drums --- Recorded by Andrew Levine at Sowieso, Berlin, November 2015. Mastered by Werner Dafeldecker. Cover design by Teresa Iten. Notes by Bastian Zimmermann. Produced with the support from The Swedish Art Council.

Neuköllner Modelle - Sektion 1 - 2

One of the best records of 2017 for sure. Four of the most idiosyncratic and creative voices at the margins of jazz, imagine their way into and around the music and philosophy of Ahmed Abdul-Malik. This is music to listen, dance and think to. A new jazz record, from a new jazz band. [Ahmed] make music about the music of Ahmed Abdul-Malik. They excavate, re-inhabit and use a-new the now overlooked documents, and fragmentary plans, of his mid-20th century synthetic vision to produce a new jazz imagination for the 21st century. Ahmed-Malik (1927-1993) was a NYC bassist, oudist, composer, educator and philosopher. A potent(ial) influence on Coltrane and Monk (we imagine), he was also a significant composer in his own right. (Ignored into creative obscurity, he spent his final decades teaching, and performing seldom). His albums Jazz Sahara (1958) and East Meets West (1960) fuse aspects of Arabic and East African musics and thought, his committed long-term relationship with Sufi Islam, and then-modern jazz and thinking – in revolutionary and vital ways. The product is exciting, radical, raw, and beautiful. But, as well as honouring these traditions, Abdul-Malik invented and imagined a lot*. Abdul- Malik’s straddling, synthetic and inclusive vision is one of the great projects of the imagination in jazz. He mixed sounds and ethics, meanings and beliefs in open, experimental ways without dogma. And so do [Ahmed]. They visit and (re)think his compositions and the process potential in them. They play the notes, but use them, and the ideas in and about them, as vehicles for their unique imaginations, instrumental approaches and ideas. Through his compositions they re-imagine and re-synthesize, moving from what they know into newly creative space. They imagine themselves into the future, free of the dogma, clichés and cloy neo-classicisms of current ‘improvised music’ and ‘free jazz’. ** Kelley, R.D.G. (2012) ‘Ahmed Abdul-Malik’s Islamic Experimentalism’ in Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times. Cambridge: Harvard University Press: 91-119 talks about this in his brief but fascinating study. --- Joel Grip / bass Antonin Gerbal / drums Pat Thomas / piano Seymour Wright / saxophone --- Recorded live at Hagenfesten in Dala-Floda, Sweden, August 6, 2016 by Arve Birkeland. Mixed at Studio206.de by Patrick Petzold Photography and design by Sven-Åke Johansson. Produced by Joel Grip and Seymour Wright. Sleeve notes by Robert Levin. 

أحمد Ahmed – New Jazz Imagination

Edition Wandelweiser

Publishing outfit from the Wandelweiser collective - an international group of composers/performers experimenting with silence.

Edition Wandelweiser co-founder Jürg Frey presents the starkly beautiful minimalism of ’24 Wörter’, a song cycle based around the album’s evocative song titles, and performed by the trio of Regula Konrad (soprano), Andrew Nathaniel McIntosh (violin), and Dante Boon (piano). They’re mostly very succinct works with no detectable fat to trim, forming a gorgeous, dreamlike archipelago of experimental contemporary classical compositions... “Jürg Frey in conversation with Thomas Adank: JF: The 24 words are the titles of the individual pieces, and they are at the same time the entire text. They are also a list that shows how the piece gets from a beginning to an end. It is, in a sense, a cycle not simply a collection of pieces - a cycle which begins, makes a journey and ends at a different place. TA: If I had to categorize this list of words, it seems to me they are addressed to quite different areas. Herzeleid (Heartbreak) for example, sounds old-fashioned, Einsamkeitsmangel (Lack of Loneliness) almost sounds like a neologism, as do Halbschlafphantasie, (Half-Sleep Fantasy) Sehnsuchtslandschaft (Landscape of Longing), Vergessenheitsvogel (Bird of Oblivion). Others, such as Tod (Death), Schlaf (Sleep), Glück (Happiness), Wind (Wind), are very often used in everyday life. Did you, as you compiled this list, consider these categories? Or did you tell yourself a story that made these words necessary? JF: I was thinking in categories. At first I really wanted to make an even more rigid sequence. As it now stands, with the long words at the end and the short words in the middle, you can still feel a little of this structure; also at the beginning, which has many words with "e" and "ei". However, now it is not so strict. The words developed lives of their own, and this displaced some of the original structure. Some are everyday words, others are made by combining words, and some words found individual paths into the piece, including some very personal things. L'oiseau d'oubli ("Vergessenheitsvogel",Bird of Oblivion) comes from Edmond Jabès and is a tribute to this author I adore. But I also think that here Jabès has given me the perfect word. --- Dante Boon / pianoRegula Konrad / vocalsAndrew Nathaniel Mcintosh / violin --- Recorded 16.17 September 2013, Aarau, Schweiz.

Jürg Frey – 24 Wörter

Three works - two for large ensembles of performers on sax, guitar, clarinet, voice, percussion, horn, flute, vibes, and objects that belie the size of the group in its fragile presences, with a shorter trio of Frey, Greg Stuart and Erik Carlson transitioning the large pieces; compositions conceived as both short presences within abundant orchestration.  We tend to connect the aspect of structure with safety and stability;the ephemeral, in contrast, in something uncertain and fleeting, something not easy to grasp. thus structure and ephemerality seem to be opposites. in a musical work, though, the can coexist equivalently.one on the one hand, the sum of constructive processes and clear formal decisions leads to a clear architecture.consistently taking it into spheres of lightness and evanescence.the persuasive, coercing power immanent to structure must be avoided. structure then becomes fragile and permeable, allowing the ephemeral to unfold its presence, and, in this presence, to evoke a gleam of permanence.a substantial part of my work takes place in this intermediate zone.a structure hardly touched gives rise to a music that simply wants sensation. a breeze, light and shadow,spaces of colour, a glimpse, a landscape. - Jürg Frey, sketchbook, 2007. ---  University Of South Carolina Emperimental Music Workshop Ensemble are: Jürg Frey / clarinetPhilip Snyder / fluteRachel Whelan / flute, pianoJames Easteppe / guitarJohn Kammerer / hornBailey Seabury / percussionBrian Bethea / saxophoneGreg Stuart / vibraphone, percussionErik Carlson / violinNikil Sairam / violinLogan McLean / voiceMichael Halbrook / objectsAJ Karp / objectsBrooke Rosenberg / objectsChris Ruggiero / objectsDrake Strobel / objectsEric Dennis / objectsJessica Russell / objectsKallam Ashmore / objectsLauren Phillips / objectsMichael Halbrook / objectsNeil Thomas / objectsOlivia Smithson / objects --- Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jeff Francis at Columbia, SC, April 2016. Made possible by a grant from SC honours college through generous support of jeannette and marshall winn ’74.

Jürg Frey – Ephemeral Constructions

"'Air" is yet another utterly impressive offering from, in my opinion, one of the most consistently extraordinary composers at work today, one who continues to unveil new facets of her persona. Hear it." - Brian Olewnick "And if you would ask me for a statement to composing, to my composing – I would answer: listening becomes the awareness of fading sound. Fading sound is the link between life and art; between perception in daily life and perception while performing, while composing. And the awareness of fading sound may become the awareness of presence.I am pianist and – in addition – organist. As organist I never forget that the organ is a wind-instrument. My pieces for organ and my “installations” for organ (the installations last many hours) ask: Am I realizing a piece? There is hardly anything you may hear in the church. The organ releases as a jewel each single sound; each stream of air; each noise: disappearing into the space of the hall. The listener will find the way to listening: in this particular room with this particular organ and its streams of sound/ air/ wind. All sound, all streams of air and noises are quiet; sometimes hardly recognizable. The sound of music; the noise of music; the sound and noise of everyday life: they cut into each other. Both sound and noise of music do not depend on silence as with a piece of music. Both sound and noise do not need any silent location: they are quiet themselves; their quietness creates silent rooms, which welcome all sounds. It is organ the machine and human beings working together. Man cannot breathe sounds of almost eternal duration; but the organ must not be considered a machine. My pieces for organ require the player: moving the keys; make the winds stream. Sounds, wind, noises of the organ as a wind-instrument and the silence at sacred spaces: not a coincidence. Churches’ sacred spaces turn into locations for people to nothing more than just be there and breathe; where people can listen – unhindered by any possible meaning of sounds and streams of air. In spite of the fact that the organ may have an endless breath – I composed one of my first organ pieces dazwischen (between) (2000) with two drones – you can hear “nearly nothing” by listening to the streams of air." - Eva-Maria Houben --- Recorded 2014, ref. church Elgg, Switzerland (ein schlummer), Hardstudios Winterthur, Switzerland (aufhören; atmen V: flutes), St Margareta, Dortmund-Eichlinghofen (atmen 5, organ)

Eva Maria Houben - Air - works for flutes and organ

Weighter

Contempary composition label started in 2013 by percussionist & composer Sarah Hennies. 

"Tim Feeney seeks to explore and examine the timbral possibilities inherent in everyday found and built objects. He treats his percussion setup as a friction instrument, using bows, scrapers, and rosined drumheads to capture and amplify frequencies that go unheard when an object is struck with a traditional mallet. He supplements this acoustic console with an electronic instrument, arranged from mixers, contact microphones, and effects pedals, that synthesizes and alters the spectral characteristics of low-fidelity tones, feedback, and noise. Tim worked for years within Boston’s timbral improvising community, a group of musicians interested in unstable sounds and silences, exploring austere#combinations of sound and the otherworldly ripple effects that pulse through#a silent space and alert ears. He has performed with musicians including thereminist James Coleman, cellist/electronic musician Vic Rawlings, pianist Annie Lewandowski, tape-deck manipulator Howard Stelzer, trumpeter Nate Wooley, sound artists Jed Speare and Ernst Karel, saxophonist Jack Wright, the trio Meridian (with percussionists Nick Hennies and Greg Stuart), and#the trio ONDA (with vocalist Ken Ueno and violinist Hillary Zipper. His concerts have been held at experimental spaces such as the Red Room in#Baltimore, Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Firehouse 12 in New Haven, Connecticut, the Knitting Factory New York, and the Stone, as well as the Center for New Music and Audio Technology at UC-Berkeley, the Stanford#Art Museum, Princeton University, and Dartmouth College." --- Performed and recorded by Tim Feeney in Berkshire, NY, and Tuscaloosa, AL, 2010-2013.

Tim Feeney – Caroline

“Fusées” isn’t the first collaboration between Thomas Bonvalet and Jean-Luc Guionnet, their first joint effort “Loges de Souffle” appearing on Be Coq last year. The same label also put out a vinyl edition of “Fusées”, but now Sarah Hennies’ label Weighter Recordings has thankfully stepped in with a CD and download release for the rest of us. Although the two artists are primarily known for their attachments to a particular instrument (guitar for Bonvalet, saxaphone for Guionnet), these instruments are only recognisably audible towards the end of the album, with the majority of sounds belonging to the percussive and analogue-electronic domains. In fact, so rhythmically driven is the album that I would’ve guessed that one of them was a percussionist. The album has a roughness and warmth to its timbres that is very appealing. Ideas unfold at a steady pace, not remaining static but not rushing anywhere either — a pleasure in sounds, but also in their organisation. The album title translates into English as ‘rockets’, and while there’s plenty of chemical energy and fire, there are also clear trajectories and flight plans. Whether these trajectories were planned out in advance or made up on the fly is, from the listener’s point of view, perhaps not so important. Developing structure can be clearly heard on tracks such as ‘2 mer D_v3’, where the interplay between synth stabs and pounding percussion twists and turns in an intricate dance. Even at its most off-kilter, such as in the broken ringtone melody of ‘1 mer B_v6_oct’, the music retains a sense of intention and direction; the transition through several shades of chaos is as detailed and as captivating as the harmonic micro-shifts of Hennies’ percussive rolls, just with much brasher colours. The guitar playing on ‘3 mar N_v3’ produces both percussive rhythm and modulating sinewave-like pitches, a synecdoche for the shapes of the album as a whole. Later in the piece, long single-note sax crescendos mould timbre and volume like clay on a potter’s wheel, inflected by stop-start percussion — a stunning effect. Only very rarely, such as on the last track, does the music slide into stock free improvisationish territory, competently done but already explored. “Fusées” is a propulsive album bursting with ideas, distilled into lucid and finely-balanced forms that dazzle and enthral." - Fluid Radio --- Thomas Bonvalet / audio ducker, microphones, amplificateurs, frappements de pieds et de mains, peau de tambour, banjo six cordes, componium, diapasons, plectre de pavot sec … Jean Luc Guionnet / deux vieux orgues électriques (Bontempi Tempest & Farfisa Matador), trois petits harmoniums, une table de mixage bouclée et quelques micros contacts et magnétiques, un petit trumpet speaker mobile, trompette de poche, saxophone soprano --- Recorded at Instants Chavirés, January 2014 by Adrian Riffo. Thanks to Instants Chavirés, Adrian Riffo, La Fonderie and François Tanguy.

Thomas Bonvalet & Jean-Luc Guionnet – Fuseés

Matchless Recordings

Run by percusionist Eddie Prévost, Matchless contains contemporary and classic free jazz, improvisation and noise.

Complete audio recordings of Evan Parker, John Edwards and Eddie Prévost's May 2013 residency at Cafe OTO.  --- Evan Parker / tenor saxophone John Edwards / double bass Edwin (Eddie) Prévost / drums Alexander von Schlippenbach / piano Christof Thewes / trombone --- "Given the different line-ups and the inclusion of both sets from each of three nights, the listener is presented with the chance to hear the music exposed and developing in many dimensions. Not only can each player be heard by himself and in shifting combinations - duet, trio or quartet - with the others, but the progression in mood and approach across an entire evening can be clearly appreciated. This is particularly marked on the second disc, where the careful exploration of the first set is succeded by the all-in surge of the second, which begins as if the four are resuming an interruped conversation. From the first night to the last, the music played over these three nights is of the highest quality. What can't be captured in the discs, but should never be underestimated, is the presence of listeners whose attentiveness cleared and charged the space in which the performers could do their work of creating a music as delicate in its inner workings as it is robust in its insistance on building for itself, night after night, a world without walls." - Richard Williams. --- Audio recorded by Giovanni LaRovere. Mastered by Rupert Clervaux. 

3 Nights at Cafe OTO

"AMM music may initially seem impenetrable, but it sure as hell penetrates you. Soon the desired state is instilled in the listener; a rapt vacancy somewhere between supreme concentration and utter absentmindedness." - Melody Maker On AMMMusic, long tones sit next to abrasive thuds, the howl of uncontrolled feedback accompanies Cardew's purposeful piano chords, radios beam in snatches of orchestral music. AMM's clearest break with jazz-based improvisation concerned the idea of individuality. Initially through an engagement with eastern philosophy and mysticism and later though a politicized communitarianism, AMM sought to develop a collective sonic identity in which individual contributions could barely be discerned. In the performances captured on AMMMusic the use of numerous auxiliary instruments and devices, including radios played by three members of the group, contribute to the sensation that the music is composed as a single monolithic object with multiple facets, rather than as an interaction between five distinct voices." - Francis Plagne --- Cornelius Cardew / piano, cello and transistor radio Lou Gare / tenor saxophone and violin  Eddie Prévost / percussion Keith Rowe / electric guitar and transistor radio Lawrence Sheaff / cello, accordian, clarinet and transistor radio --- Recorded on the 8th and 27th June 1966 at Sound Techniques by Harry Davis and Jac Holzman.

Amm – AMMMUSIC

Apogee chronicles both a first-time meeting of AMM and MEV (Musica Eletronnica Viva), and one of the last performances of that longest-running version of AMM. apogee 1, 2 and 3 are studio recordings of the two groups together; the second pairs performances by each individual group: a thirty-nine-minute piece by AMM entitled 01.05.04, and a thirty-six-minute piece by MEV, also entitled 01.05.04 (perhaps mere date, but also May Day), both recorded at London's Freedom of the City Festival. MEV includes Alvin Curran, Frederic Rzewski, and Richard Teitelbaum. “AMM and MEV go back together almost as far as AMM itself. In 1969 or so, Earl Brown released an LP on Mainstream Records called Live Electronic Music Improvised which had AMM on one side and MEV on the other. It was a great and forward looking idea, but unfortunately the labels (on MOST but not ALL copies) somehow got reversed. That, if nothing else, tied us together for decades." - Richard Teitelbaum --- John Tilbury / pianoKeith Rowe / guitar & electronicsEddie Prévost / percussionAlvin Curran / electronicsFrederic Rzewski / pianoRichard Teitelbaum / keyboard --- 'apogee' 1, 2 and 3 recorded at Gateway Studios, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, England on 30th April 2004. '01.05.04' were recorded at Freedom of the City festival, Conway Hall, London on 1st May 2004 by Sebastian Lexer. Artwork designed by Ian Walters.  To buy the physical CD, head to to Eddie Prévost's CD store, Matchless Recordings.

Amm & Mev – apogee

Fataka

Run by Trevor Brent and specialising in improvised music, Fataka documents many of OTO's early shows and some early classics by a new generation. 

At times barely more than breathing, at others breaking into full-throated song, A Doughnut's End is a highly concentrated sequence of solo improvisations that captures the full range of Minton's vocal powers. As he says in the accompanying notes, while there is continuity between this record and previous "doughnut" albums, this latest offering is "less optimistic than forty years ago" when he still "thought stuff would get better", an optimism diminished by the continued political dominance of "slush-spraying doughnut-scoffers". A Doughnut's End is a stark and affecting testament to one man's ongoing exploration of the potential of the human voice. "Minton has forged an alternative lexicon, one that seemingly forgoes the constraints of tradition and language. The result is a perverse, evocative set, the kind of performance that forces a reaction and demands attention be paid to it — music that has the power to cause unrest and revulsion in the listener. . . . An air of fragility lingers throughout, a reminder that even Minton’s finely honed, idiosyncratic delivery is all too susceptible to the inevitable pitfalls of existence. . . . The primal outpouring of A Doughnut’s End is all-consuming, and without language to dirty the proceedings, it is as much a personal meditation as it is a display of pure virtuosity." - Soe Jherwood, Tiny Mix Tapes "Many of the sounds on the album’s 15 short tracks are unpleasant, but they’re all the more powerful for it. This work is in no way deprived of wonder, and you have to marvel at the breadth of what Minton can do. “Breaking News” bleeds from high pitched warbling to multiphonic density, the throat pushed to the weirdest limits of its potential. “There’s A Reason” reprises this sonic field, almost electronic in texture, while “Set In Stone” takes these techniques and flirts with the operatic. “Grandish”, the album’s final track, works through a series of high pitched peeps that could come from an as yet unidentified beast." - Matt Krefting, The Wire "Things flap and billow a bit more than they used to, which Minton accentuates in the formation of starker, more striking vocal shapes – unstable vibratos, phlegmy belching baritones. What if it isn’t volume and clear articulation that renders a voice audible amongst the masses, but visceral wordless eccentricity?" - Jack Chuter, ATTN Magazine --- Phil Minton / voice --- Recorded (April & June 2013) and mixed by Rick Campion at City University Music Studios. Mastered by Rupert Clervaux at Gray’s Inn Road. Photography by Jocelyn Low. Music by Phil Minton (PRS) Produced by Trevor Brent

Phil Minton – A Doughnut's End

"it is odd to talk about a piano/bass/drums trio as a radical departure. But it is impossible to think of this meeting between bassist John Edwards, drummer Mark Sanders, and pianist John Tilbury in any other way . . . from the first notes, the three erase any notion of piano trio conventions . . . the three build tensile drama from moments of fractured intensity which break against pools of calm . . . you should jump on this one quickly" - Michael Rosensten, Point of Departure "this one-off encounter is truly an exceptional listening experience" - Burning Ambulance "London has long had a pedigree of crossbreeding improv's various styles and generations, but few have been as successful as this" - Richard Pinnell, The Wire --- In his review of Exta, the critic Brian Olewnick commented that “there's a tendency on the part of [John Tilbury's] younger companions to defer a bit to him”, adding that, in his view, this was not “necessarily a bad strategy”. In this encounter, their first as a trio, John Edwards and Mark Sanders do not defer to Tilbury at all, and it proves to be perhaps the best strategy of all. This is a vigorous music of equals, the democratic clamour of three distinct personalities committed to occupying a common space and working together to create something collective without erasing their differences in the process. There's tension, even friction, at times between Edwards and Sanders' quickness and Tilbury's more measured approach, but it's a productive tension and one that enables all three to explore areas of their playing that perhaps aren't always foregrounded: Edwards' ability to wait and patiently twist long resonant notes out of near nothingness; Sanders' sense of space and sharp delicacy with small sounds; and Tilbury's thunderous density and energetic attack. It's a startling performance and one that, like all great improvisation, exceeds, and perhaps even upsets, expectations. --- John Edwards / double bass Mark Sanders / drums and percussion John Tilbury / bird calls, piano and tape --- Recorded by Katherine Arnold at Cafe Oto on 17 June 2013. Mixed and mastered by Rupert Clervaux at Gray’s Inn Road. Title from Martha Rosler, Culture Class (Sternberg Press, 2013). Music by John Edwards, Mark Sanders and John Tilbury (PRS). Produced by Trevor Brent 

Edwards / Sanders / Tilbury – A Field Perpetually at The Edge of Disorder

About Trumpet and Saxophone brings together New York based trumpeter Nate Wooley and London based saxophonist Seymour Wright for a series of intensely material duo improvisations that inhabit the tricky overlap between these two instruments. Recorded on their second encounter, there's an intriguing balance of freshness and reflection in the music here, one that matches their deep knowledge of improvised music's various pasts as well as their commitment to experiment and discovery. "a spiky, raw collection of brief improvisations that see them pushing at each other rather than slipping into comfort zones . . . full of a palpable tension but somehow also very simple and unadorned . . . a fine set of recordings that showcase the act of improvisation in its bared boned glory." - Richard Pinnell, The Wire "Wooley and Wright have both made extraordinary solo recordings: these duets might represent their sum and difference or their square root. About Trumpet and Saxophone is eminently worthy of close listening. It might enrich or impoverish a listener in a new way." - Stuart Broomer, Point of Departure "if the history of jazz can be told via great trumpet/saxophone pairings (Bix/Tram, Diz/Bird, Chet/Gerry, Miles/Trane, Don/Ornette, Kenny/Evan...add your own favourites) separated by stylistic quantum leaps, then the pairing of Nate/Seymour might just represent the latest such leap." - John Eyles, All About Jazz — Nate Wooley / trumpet Seymour Wright / alto saxophone — Recorded by Rick Campion at City University Music Studios on 4 July 2012. Mixed and mastered by Rupert Clervaux at Gray’s Inn Road. Edited by Trevor Brent. Cover painting by Geoff Wright (Svetlana, 1968). Music by Nate Wooley & Seymour Wright

Nate Wooley & Seymour Wright – About Trumpet and Saxophone

Working both inside and outside the instrument's body, Pat Thomas presents a compelling vision of what the piano can do in the 21st century. At times playing with recognisable musical material and at others going deep into sonic abstraction, Pat's playing encompasses massive extremes: solidity and flow; seriousness and laughter; uproar and imperturbability. A major solo statement, Al-Khwarizmi Variations traverses the history and the physicality of the piano. Pat rules. "Thomas runs the gamut of techniques, splashing clusters, weaving contrapuntal lines and building elaborate structures from the inside out. Despite their variety, they share a fundamental quality – they truly sound like spur of the moment creations, not the final draft of ideas mulled over for weeks, if not months on end. Their impact is enhanced by one of the more effectively engineered piano sounds in recent memory, one that puts the piano right in your lap. The value of this is felt immediately, as the first variation is brimming with above-the-staves clusters that are wincingly bright. Conversely, Thomas creates china-rattling thunder when he plunges into the bass register." - Bill Shoemaker, Point of Departure  ---  Pat Thomas/ piano --- Recorded and mixed by Rick Campion at City University Music Studios on 19 June 2011. Mastered by Rupert Clervaux at Gray's Inn Road. Artwork from a 15th century Mamluk tile, adapted for print by Paul Abbott. With thanks to Trevor Brent  ---

Pat Thomas – Al​-​Khwarizmi Variations

A deeply enigmatic duo of trumpet and drums augmented by live electronics and an expanded percussive array (tam-tam, multiple high hats etc.), Stonecipher is a mesmerising work that operates in the blurred regions between the electronic and acoustic. Dörner's electronics have never been more effective, creating viscous clouds of sound which are illuminated by Sanders' sparse, precise formations, producing a dense fabric of insidious extended tones, gradual inclines and sudden drops, and sounds that slowly fold back into themselves or abruptly open onto unexpected plateaus. There's something wonderfully unhurried about the way that Stonecipher develops, but there's a real quickness bubbling under this apparent slowness that prevents the music from ever completely solidifying: just when you think you're on firm ground something moves and the whole landscape is reshaped. "Understated throughout, the pair fold together softly muted sounds – hissing, breathy escapes of air and their digitally transformed, equally subtle cousins from Dörner, and a masterfully restrained, widely varied palette of soft tones and brief peaking flurries from Sanders. The end result is a slow, naturally fermenting but never boiling-over landscape of beautiful, surprisingly restrained music formed with remarkable understanding." - Richard Pinnell, The Wire  --- Axel Dörner / trumpet, electronics Mark Sanders / drums, percussion  --- Recorded by Rick Campion on 19 June 2011 at City University Music Studios. Mixed by Axel Dörner. Artwork by Jane Millican (detail of Scene, 2010, pencil on paper) Music by Axel Dörner (GEMA) & Mark Sanders (PRS) 

Axel Dörner & Mark Sanders ‎- Stonecipher

Black Truffle

Oren Ambarchi's Black Truffle Records "experimental/improv/noise/abstract/etc" label. Big reissues and Aussie relations. 

"Premier recordings of two recent works by legendary American experimental composer Alvin Lucier. A friend and contemporary of pioneers like Robert Ashley, David Behrman, Gordon Mumma, and Christian Wolff, Lucier has been crafting elegant explorations of the behavior of sound in physical space since the 1960s. Lucier is perhaps best known for I Am Sitting in a Room (1970), in which he repeatedly re-recorded his own speaking voice being played back into a room until the room’s resonant frequencies entirely obscure the spoken text. Beginning in the early 1970s, he has written a remarkable catalogue of instrumental works that focus on phenomena produced by the interference between closely tuned pitches, such as audible beating, often using pure electronic tones produced by oscillators in combination with single instruments. Demonstrating the restless creative drive of an artist now in his 80s, the two recent works presented here both feature the electric guitar, an instrument Lucier has just recently begun to explore. In Criss-Cross, Lucier’s first composition for electric guitars, two guitarists using e-bows sweep slowly up and down a single semitone, beginning at opposite ends of the pitch range. The piece is a model of simplicity, exemplifying Lucier’s desire not to ‘compose’ in the conventional sense, but rather to eliminate everything that ‘distracts from the acoustical unfolding of the idea’. In this immaculately controlled performance of Criss-Cross by Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley, (for whom the piece was written in 2013), a seemingly simple idea creates a rich array of sonic effects – not simply beating patterns, which gradually slow down as the two tones reach unison and accelerate as they move further apart, but also the remarkable phenomenon of sound waves spinning in elliptical patterns through space between the two guitar amps. In the comparatively lush Hanover, Lucier draws inspiration from the beautiful photograph that provides the LP with its cover, an image of the Dartmouth Jazz Band taken in 1918 featuring Lucier’s father on violin. Using the instrumentation present in the photograph, Lucier creates an unearthly sound world of sliding tones from violin, alto and tenor saxophones, piano, vibraphone (bowed) and three electric guitars (which take the place of the banjos present in the photograph). Waves of slow glissandi create thick, complex beating patterns, gently punctuated by repeated single notes from the piano. The result is a piece that, like much of Lucier’s instrumental music, is simultaneously both unperturbably calm and constantly in motion." Design by Stephen O’Malley. Mastered by Rashad Becker at D&M Belin. “Criss-Cross” recorded at Studios Ina GRM, Paris by Francois Bonnet and mixed by Alvin Lucier. “Hanover” recorded in Zurich and mixed by Alvin Lucier.

Alvin Lucier – Criss Cross / Hanover

"Hotel Record is the second release from the duo/couple of crys cole and Oren Ambarchi, following on from Sonja Henies Vei 31 (Planam, 2014). Where their debut recording presented a disquieting portrait of the erotic dimension of romantic intimacy, the follow-up continues to explore the pair’s simultaneously musical and romantic relationship in a more subtle fashion, presenting four long-form pieces that touch on the variety of forms the life of this couple takes: as a musical duo, as a pair of travelers to exotic locations, as opponents in a game of cards… Each of the four tracks presents a distinct sound-world, yet each manages to attain the same suspended, half-sleeping feeling, outlining a space where improbable combinations of the electronic and the acoustic, of extreme closeness and amorphous distance, occur with the gentle insistence of a dream. The opening Call Myself calmly unfolds a fabric of long tones from electronic organ and guitar, combining the sliding, aleatoric effects of classic David Behrman with a more hands-on feel. Over the top of this slowly shifting tonal bed, cole’s voice mutters unintelligibly into a Buchla synth, teasing the listener by suggesting a meaning that remains always out of the ear’s reach. Francis Debacle (Uno) builds on the foundations of a heavily amplified session of the titular card game, overlaying vocal murmurs and exhalations and mysterious room-sounds to create an impossible aural environment. On Burrata, a palette of vintage 1980s digital synthesizer sounds combined with guitars create an irregular texture of lush chords and bubbling melodic details, into which cole’s voice processed by a vocoder, is interwoven, reading fragments of romantic correspondence. Finally, on Pad Phet Gob, field recordings made in Thailand become an ambiguously acoustic/electronic rainforest, eventually giving way to a mysterious, wavering electronic tone-field punctuated by sibilant, popping mouth-sounds. Carving out an intimate and human sonic space across a diverse array of compositional approaches, sound sources, fidelities and textures, Hotel Record is the latest dispatch from the continuing explorations of a unique duo. Ambarchi and cole reimagine electro-acoustic music, not simply as ‘abstract’ sound, but as a diary, a love poem, a dream." Photography by crys cole and design via Stephen O’Malley. Mastered by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin February 2017. 

Crys Cole & Oren Ambarchi ‎- Hotel Record

"The first collaboration between DJ/mixtape-compiler Kayo Makino and underground legend Tori Kudo. Originally created to be played between acts at the launch of Eiko Ishibashi‘s acclaimed The Dreams My Bones Dream (2018) and then reworked and refined for LP release, the two side-long pieces are sonic environments constructed by Makino for Kudo’s piano to inhabit, or, as the LP’s credits suggest, a “cinéma pour l’oreille” in which Kudo’s piano plays the starring role. Beginning with a soothing field recording of crickets dramatically punctuated by smashing glass, the first side finds Kudo playing his way repeatedly through one of Satie‘s 1897 Pièces froides. Best known to many listeners for his role as leader of the ecstatically shambolic rock unit Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Kudo’s performance of Satie’s whimsical yet haunting melody is alternately halting and fluid, delighting in the hesitations of unstudied technique and the subtle variations between repeated attempts. While the combination of Kudo’s piano and the background of crickets initially suggests a documentary approach to recording — as if the you are simply hearing incidental sounds creeping through an open window — things take an unexpected turn a few minutes in when Kudo’s piano is suddenly doubled. Layering two separate attempts at the same piece of top of each other, Makino’s unorthodox mixing blurs Satie’s original into a fog of stumbling echoes that becomes increasingly dreamlike as the chirping crickets are overtaken by pattering rain, German dialogue and traffic sounds. The second side begins in a similarly inscrutable vein, with snatches of birds and film music providing a gentle backdrop for Kudo’s improvisational variations on a chord progression that, as his performance builds over its twenty-minute duration, somehow begins to suggest the sadly swaggering grandeur of Mick Taylor-era Rolling Stones. Makino accompanies and eventually overwhelms Kudo’s piano with a bizarre layer of digitally processed voice and drums, stretched out into a disorienting haze before suddenly retreating to leave Kudo’s piano accompanied only by a barking dog. Seemingly unrelated to anything else being produced in the world of contemporary music, this is a striking collaboration between two unique musical personalities that bridges the mundane and the surreal, opening up a dream-space both haunted and hospitable." --- Cover design by Lasse Marhaug. Mastered by Jim O’Rourke at Steamroom, Japan. Vinyl cut by Rashed Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.

Kayo Makino & Tori Kudo – Ein Traum Für Dich

"Face Time is the second release from the trio of Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger, and James Rushford, following on from their 2016 debut Pale Calling. Recorded at the GRM studios in Paris in June 2017, 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. Cover design by Stephen O’Malley. Mastered by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin."

Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger, James Rushford – Face Time

"First release from the duo of two important yet often underappreciated musicians, Eiko Ishibashi and Darin Gray. Ishibashi is a singer-songwriter, keyboardist, drummer, and multi-instrumentalist, known in Japan both for her own elaborately conceptual solo albums and for her frequent collaborations with figures such as Jim O’Rourke, Merzbow, and Phew. Darin Gray is a bassist and multi-instrumentalist known for a multitude of collaborations (with O’Rourke and Loren Connors, among many others), for On Fillmore, his cinematic post-exotica project with Glenn Kotche, and as one half of Chikamorachi with Chris Corsano, one of the finest free-jazz rhythm sections around. Presenting the entirely of a live set performed at Tokyo’s Super Deluxe in March 2013, the set begins as a duet for Ishibashi’s flute and Gray’s upright bass. Calmly melodic yet harmonically inventive, with shades of ‘spiritual jazz’, the pair’s acoustic ruminations are gradually joined by Ishibashi’s lush electronics, which randomly flicker between chords in a manner recalling the classic work of David Behrman. As the electronics build into a gloomy fog of slowly cycling loops, Gray lays his bass aside and turns to making strangely mournful interjections on a mouthpiece. Eventually Ishibashi moves to the piano, enveloping the audience in rippling pools of sustained, octave-doubled melody, provided by Gray’s bass with a fluid and dynamic foundation. For much of the second side, both Ishibashi and Gray turn to electronics, ultimately arriving in a bizarre space of melancholic arpeggios and random sputter and sizzle, oddly reminiscent of 70s outsider prog acts like Wapassou. An uneasy coda of rich piano chords ends the set. Captured in warm room ambience and beautifully mixed by Jim O’Rourke, Ichida is a rare combination of improvisational acumen and emotional directness, both adventurous and immediately accessible."

Eiko Ishibashi & Darin Grey – Ichida

Confront Recordings

Mark Wastell's label, operative since the mid 90's. Documents live free improvisation, based out of London. 

".... it was October 2013 ... Radu, Klaus and Nikos came to Japan. The last day of their tour, Ftarri was booked but it was uncertain what would be done there ... so we decided to invite all our friends to join just a few days before."- Taku Unami "In the fall of 2013, Radu Malfatti (trombone), Nikos Veliotis (cello), and Klaus Filip (ppooll), were on a tour of Japan where they performed in various combinations, including a number of collaborations with local musicians. For the last day of their tour, the three were invited to play at Ftarri, a music store and performance venue in Tokyo. They were joined by a stellar cast of musicians, most of whom they had long-standing relationships with (Taku Sugimoto, electric guitar; Tetuzi Akiyama, acoustic guitar; Taku Unami, electric bass; Moé Kamura, voice; Kazushige Kinoshita, violin; Masahiko Okura, tube; and Toshihiro Koike, trombone). The recording and mastering by Unami captures the proceedings in intimate detail, placing the muted shadings and open structure of the piece in natural contrast to the room sound." – Michael Rosenstein, Point of Departure  --- Tetuzi Akiyama / acoustic guitar Moé Kamura / voice Radu Malfatti / trombone Kazushige Kinoshita / violin Masahiko Okura / tube Nikos Veliotis / cello Taku Unami / electric bass Toshihiro Koike / trombone Klaus Filip / ppooll Taku Sugimoto / electric guitar --- Recorded live at Ftarri on 16th October 2013 by Taku Unami. Mastered by Taku Unami. With thanks to Mark Wastell. 

Akiyama / Kamura / Malfatti / Kinoshita / Okura / Veliotis / Unami / Koike / Filip / Sugimoto – 10tet

Originally released in a tiny edition of 50 copies in 2000, this recording officially marks the beginning of The Sealed Knot as a regular group. Interestingly, the liner notes that accompanied that release make mention, for the first time in print, of the terms 'the new silence' and 'Berlin reductionism' ......... although listening now, all these years later, the music sounds far from silent and/or little reduced."The music on this cd was recorded live at All Angels, West London and documents the exciting ongoing collaboration between young musicians working in London and Berlin. Although all three performers have travelled between the two capital cities since the early 1990's playing in various combinations, this is their first concerts as a trio. Beins co-runs the 2.13 Berlin improvisation club, with guitarist Michael Renkel, in conjunction with it's sister organisations in London and Athens. All three clubs are named after a stopped clock at the original London venue. Critics have dubbed Wastell and Davies' music 'the new silence' and Beins' German counterpart 'new Berlin reductionism'. Categories aside, this is improvised music concerned with space, texture and time, emphasised by the gently ticking clock at the back of All Angels as sounds fade into silence." (Original liner notes) --- Burkhard Beins / percussionRhodri Davies / harp Mark Wastell / violoncello ---Recorded live in concert by Tim Fletcher at St. Michael & All Angels Church, West London on 14 April 2000.

The Sealed Knot – All Angels

"One day, I hope, the story will be written. The story of the group IST and its relationship to the birth of the music that subsequently became variously known as 'New London Silence' or 'Lower Case Improv' (and yes, I use those upper case letters intentionally). Perhaps the learned critics (who seem very rarely to actually ask the musicians) will tell us just what our place is in this history. Certainly we were not the first - Rhodri and Mark were much influenced by Radu Malfatti and Phil Durrant (among others) at this time (or so it seemed to me), but we were among the first. From my own personal point of view, playing this new kind of provocatively distilled music seemed like a coherently radical response to the expansive intensity of groups such as Hession/Wilkinson/Fell and Descension. I have always had a certain sinful pride in the breadth of my discography at this time, and looking back I'm still impressed by the fact that at one period I was simultaneously playing with Descension and IST. These two groups have more in common than their radical diversity, however. Perhaps more than any other groups in which I've participated, each performance by these ensembles seemed to represent a kind of manifesto - a real challenging of the ways a certain number of our audience might have of thinking about music, and what it should be. But whilst Descension's discography amounts to one appallingly-recorded and long out-of-print CD, we are fortunate that IST was much better documented on numerous occasions. It's only fair to point out that IST didn't begin with the purity it later developed. The very early recordings released on the 'Anagrams To Avoid' LP show a group still wedded to the music of free, unrestrained activity. But the chemical processes resulting from the combining of Rhodri and Mark didn't take long to come to fruition (my act of introducing Rhodri to Mark and vice versa might one day merit me a footnote in someone's thesis). One such 'manifesto' performance was our appearance at Berlin's Total Music Meeting in 2001. Perhaps it is difficult for some people now to understand the significance of a group such as ours playing at the Total Music Meeting at that time. I don't intend to write this history now either, but from a free/improvised music point of view Berlin in 2001 was far from the place it is now - a chapter in the history of free music was drawing to a close, but for the moment the old ways of doing things still reigned supreme. We played the music you will hear on this recording - and not for the first time caused quite a stir. In particular, a younger generation of Berlin musicians seemed to feel the musical permafrost cracking. The response of the audience at the end of our set - those who had stayed - gives some flavour of the impact of this performance. Of course, this is all somewhat of a storm in a teacup. We didn't change the world, perhaps we didn't even change the Berlin musical world. But we did play a short but exceptional set; the music is here to hear, the rest you can decide for yourself." Simon H. Fell (May 2013) --- Rhodri Davies / harpSimon H. Fell / double bassMark Wastell / violoncello ---  Recorded at Total Music Meeting, Podewil, Berlin in 2001.

Ist – berlin

1703 Skivbolaget

Label run by John Chantler, who also heads up Edition Festival in Sweden. Releases of his own work on organ and synthesizer, alongside one off duos and trios of comtemporary experimental musicians. 

A duo for saxophone and synthesizer. Johns/John lock into a series of cycles and frequency systems that while loosely in the tradition of the patterned saxophony and accompanying string drone of La Monte Young and the Theatre of Eternal Dream Music’s B Flat Dorian Blues. The pair obliterate the instrumental hierarchy that Young espouses for an altogether more unknowable intensity of experience. -- John Chantler / synthesizer Johannes Lunds / alto saxophone  --- Liner notes: Two Dreams For Endless Skies Music makes my mind drift uncontrollably. When I saw John Chantler and Johs Lunds perform at Copenhagen’s Mayhem venue I had a vision: I awake suddenly to discover that I have been sleeping on a beach. It’s a rainy early morning and I’m laying on my back in the open on the sand, the hood of my jacket blinding my peripheral vision. I have no idea how I got there and only see grey clouds above and hear the waves and wind. I stare into the sky blinking from light speckles of falling rain, my mind reeling from two dreams. I try to stem the rapid decay that dreams inherently suffer from: 01 Static I’m a child living on a west coast Canadian island and the nights I hate most are the silent ones. To fall asleep to anything other than silence is preferable – rain the best, howling wind reassuring, a violent storm just fine – it’s an emptiness broken sporadically by a creaking tree, a snapping branch and other terrifying small sounds that emanate from the encroaching forest. It’s the terrifying absence of background sounds that makes me aware of how far away from everything I am here. It makes me claustrophobic – the dark edges of the forest encroach, the only thing keeping them from closing in is the light outside the front door washing the dark green trees, ferns and rocks with a creepy dim light. Around this time, while I start to understand my fear of silence, I am given a portable radio. I spend nights slowly panning the tuning dial through the shimmering static noise of the radio spectrum, picking up the odd AM channel that somehow has made itself audible all the way out here where I am. Faint songs blend into speech into rich hisses into warbling glissandi and squeaks and pops – engrossing noises that I imagine come from orbiting satellites, distant planets and other worlds. 02 Waves In the next dream I travel with my father to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. We hike through the forests of Cape Scott Park towards the sea. It takes us all day to get there. Along the trail I listen to the relentless roar of the wind and crashing waves coming off the ocean. The coast persistently seems just over the next hill but doesn't appear – the white noise grows more wearing and the hike turns to a slog. The park we are in contains a series of overgrown fields and dilapidated farm houses. Built by late 19th century Danish colonists, they were abandoned just over a decade later when the roads and utilities the government had promised didn't materialise. The settlements have a spooky peacefulness, beautiful but mournful in the subsuming nature. Through ghost farms and fields, then some low bushes, we finally arrive at the shore. Here the white noise of wind and waves takes full hold. The white-capped sea churns out to the horizon and the pale bright sandy beach stretches to either side of us for kilometres. Far down the beach we see a number of large dark lumpen shapes plonked upon the sand. As we walk towards them the shapes slowly reveal themselves to be a colony of recently deceased sea lions. In the heat of the blaring sun some of the giant cadavers have become bloated enough to cause their boiled and steaming guts to explode out onto the beach. Dotted in constellations around the carcasses and across the shore are hundreds of brightly coloured size 10 Nike running shoes, all for the left foot. A shipping container must have fallen off a freighter during a heavy storm, breaking apart and dumping the left footed shoes into the sea, where they drifted to the shore and washed up on this beach. They look so peculiar and fake against the guts and endless nature – vibrant running shoes, floating through infinite space, bobbing across the swelling grey sea, in the brilliant rays of sunshine, or the luminous light of the moon, blown on by howling wind through the slow motion murk of my memory. A large black bear emerges from behind one of the giant sea lion carcasses and raises itself up onto its hind legs. I jump up but instead of the beach I am back in the venue and my ears are ringing. Finish There’s an idea that the essential human use of music is as a mask – that at its core music is a way to drown out all the external noises that our most inner primordial self automatically processes as a warning, setting our nerves alight. What this understanding of music might mean for, say, love songs, dance or noise music is hard to fathom, and the idea becomes too reductive to be interesting. But it is useful sometimes, inasmuch as the idea connects music directly to animals, landscape and endless cosmos – dumping us humans and our machines and activities into what was once called nature. Sound and silence drift uncontrollably, endlessly, until they find music. Music makes our minds drift uncontrollably but gives us an interface with the world. Nathaniel Budzinski 

John Chantler & Johannes Lundes – Endless Sky

Download £3

Still Light, Outside is the fourth album by John Chantler, and one which marks his departure from London and his relocation to Sweden. Over the four month period leading up to his departure, Chantler made several hours of raw recordings of the pipe organ at London’s St John-at-Hackney church. These were then subject to extended processing at Stockholm’s Elektronmusikstudion EMS and combined with additional electronic parts created there. Still Light, Outside is an extended suite in four parts that combines passages of stark minimalism centred at the bodily invasive extremes of the organ’s register with striking explosions of colour; massed chords shot through with heavy distortion and electronics that operate according to their own dream logic. --- Recorded August–November 2014 at St John-at-Hackney, London & Elektronmusikstudion EMS, Stockholm. Additional recording/mixing January–March 2015. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx, Berlin. Design: John Chantler / Photography: Fabio Lugaro  --- John Chantler / pipe organ, processing --- Recorded August–November 2014 at St John-at-Hackney, London & Elektronmusikstudion EMS, Stockholm. Additional recording/mixing January–March 2015. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx, Berlin. Design: John Chantler / Photography: Fabio Lugaro. Thanks to Bradford Bailey, Lawrence English, James Hammond, Mike Harding, Carina Thorén & Kate Walters. This work was made possible with support from the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body.

John Chantler – Still Light, Outside

Diafani

Huge catalogue headed up by Wandelweiser associate Eva-Maria Houben. Documents her solo works and compositions by her contemporaries. 

Fonograf Editions

A vinyl record poetry press! Established in 2016, based out of Portland, Oregon as an arm of Octopus Books.