Wednesday 14 October 2015, 8pm
Celebrating 50 years since the release of his first recording, Out Of The Shades, in 1965 and 50 years as a professional musician Mike Cooper returns to Cafe Oto in trio with two of his favourite British musicians David Toop and Steve Beresford for an evening of eclectic improvisation of music, song and words.
Among the slew of his recent record releases, including re-releases of his influential 70's folk/rock/jazz albums Trout Steel, Places I Know and Machine Gun Company on Paradise Of Bachelors, his most recent release Fratello Mare on Room 40 records adds another volume to his 'Ambient Electronic Exotica' series. However, his reputation as the perennial dissenter ensures there will be more, much more, than that.
“Mike Cooper returns with another wondrous album bringing together his unique lap steel playing with stylistic influences that frame him somewhere between the exotica of Martin Denny, the modulated electronic-jazz of Move D’s Conjoint, and Alice Coltrane’s spiritual evocations. Cooper’s lap-steel sits at the heart of each of the 11 pieces included, from the psychic jazz of "Street Beneath the Beach”, to the gently padding tropical scapes of the title track and into the percolating, drum-machine-guided fever-dream of the incredible "Notes from My Pacific Log”, a track that recalls the Moritz Von Oswald Trio at their evocative best. Cooper is a unique, highly individual talent and, for our money, 'Fratello Mare’ is his finest, most engaging work to date.” – Boomkat Distr. Fratello Mare-Room40.
“The icon of post-everything music” – Lawrence English (::Room40::)
For the past 50 years he has been an international artistic explorer constantly pushing the boundaries.
Mike Cooper’s output of the past half century has been described as ‘post-everything’. It’s a fitting phrase really when you consider he has been at the beating heart of so many critical musical moments. From the development of the blues touring circuit in the UK, through the growth of the folk scene and into the explosion of free improvisation that came to define a generation of UK musicians. Amidst it all, working at stitching these disparate forms into some kind of deterritorialised zone, was Mike Cooper. - Lawrence English Room 40 Records.
“Cooper, 75 this year, is making the most adventurous music of his life… incredibly rich and evocative, and as a live performance, it’s utterly flawless. Cooper takes live guitar processing and sampling as his raw material, using it to build something complex and substantive, full of ideas and surprises, not just abandoning it half-formed.” – (Jonathan Dean – Brainwashed)
He plays lap steel guitar and sings, he is an improviser and composer, song-maker, a visual and installation artist; film and video maker and radio arts producer.
STEVE BERESFORD has been a central figure in the British and international spontaneous music scenes for over forty years, freely improvising on the piano, electronics and other things with people like Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink, John Zorn and Alterations (with David Toop, Terry Day and Peter Cusack).
He has written songs, written for large and small ensembles, and scored short films, feature films, TV shows and commercials.
Steve has worked with Christian Marclay on numerous Marclay mixed media pieces. He has also worked with The Slits, Stewart Lee, Ivor Cutler, Prince Far-I, Alan Hacker, Tania Chen, Ray Davies, Mandhira De Saram, The Flying Lizards, Zeena Parkins, Satoko Fukuda, The Portsmouth Sinfonia, Ilan Volkov, Rachel Musson, Vic Reeves, Sarah Gail Brand, Lore Lixenberg and others.
Beresford has an extensive discography as performer, arranger, free-improviser, composer and producer, and was awarded a Paul Hamlyn award for composers in 2012.
David Toop (born 1949) has been developing a practice that crosses boundaries of sound, listening, music and materials since 1970. This encompasses improvised music performance, writing, electronic sound, field recording, exhibition curating, sound art installations and opera. It includes seven acclaimed books, including Rap Attack (1984), Ocean of Sound (1995), Sinister Resonance (2010), Into the Maelstrom (2016) and forthcoming - Flutter Echo, a memoir first published in Japan in 2017 (May 2019) and Inflamed Invisible: Writing On Art and Sound 1976-2018 (2020). Briefly a member of David Cunningham’s pop project The Flying Lizards in 1979, he has released thirteen solo albums, from New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments on Brian Eno’s Obscure label (1975) and Sound Body on David Sylvian’s Samadhisound label (2006) to Entities Inertias Faint Beings (2016). His 1978 Amazonas recordings of Yanomami shamanism and ritual were released on Sub Rosa as Lost Shadows (2016). In recent years his collaborations include Rie Nakajima, Akio Suzuki, Tania Chen, John Butcher, Ken Ikeda, Elaine Mitchener, Henry Grimes, Sharon Gal, Camille Norment, Sidsel Endresen, Alasdair Roberts, Thurston Moore, Ryuichi Sakamoto and a revived Alterations, the iconoclastic improvising quartet with Steve Beresford, Peter Cusack and Terry Day first formed in 1977. Curator of sound art exhibitions including Sonic Boom at the Hayward Gallery (2000), his opera – Star-shaped Biscuit – was performed as an Aldeburgh Faster Than Sound project in 2012. He is currently Professor of Audio Culture and Improvisation at London College of Communication.