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Covid-19 Survival

Please note that whilst postage costs are included in the price of these items, we may be unable to send this out until we re-open. Please email us at info@cafeoto.co.uk if you have any queries, otherwise we will drop you a line after purchase to arrange delivery when possible.

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Takuroku

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

London-based Aircode (Julia Svensson) weaves radical autonomist Marxist feminist ideology with her stripped back avant-electronics. Elapsed bass notes rumble over a dank tunnel exterior, as if the last remaining memories of a night at the club. Discordant jazz piano notes appear like little matches being lit in a thick fog of darkness, while dubbed percussion and electronic counterpoints are phased in a series of dulled hues. The singular narrative of exploration in opaque space is sustained throughout, and is brought to an end by Julia - manipulating her voice through a series of mutated fx - reading an extended passage by Silvia Federici: “With the demise of the subsistence economy that had prevailed in pre-capitalist Europe, the unity of production and reproduction which has been typical of all societies based production-for-use came to an end, as these activities became the carriers of different social relations and were sexually differentiated. In the new monetary regime, only production-for-market was defined as a value-creating activity, whereas the reproduction of the worker began to be considered as valueless from an economic viewpoint and even ceased to be considered as work. Reproductive work continued to be paid - though at the lowest rates when performed for the master class or outside the home. But the economic function in the accumulation of capital became invisible, being mystified as a natural vocation and labelled “women’s labor.” […]Most importantly, the separation of production from reproduction created a class of proletarian women who were as dispossessed as men but, unlike their relatives, in a society that was becoming increasingly monetarized, had almost no access to wages, thus being forced into a condition of chronic poverty, economic dependence, and invisibility as workers. As we will see, the devaluation and feminisation of reproductive labor was a disaster also for male workers, for the devaluation of reproductive labor inevitably devalued its product: labor-power. But there is no doubt that in the “transition from feudalism to capitalism” women suffered a unique process of social degradation that was fundamental to the accumulation of capital and has remained so ever since.Also in view of these developments, we cannot say, then, that the separation of the worker from the land and the advent of a money-economy realised the struggle which the medieval serfs had fought to free themselves from bondage. It was not the workers - male or female - who were liberated by land privatization. What was “liberated” was capital, as the land was now “free” to function as a means of accumulation and exploitation, rather than as a means of substance. Liberated were the landlords, who now could unload onto the workers most of the cost of their reproduction, giving them access to some means of subsistence only when directly employed.”- Silvia Federici, 2004: 74-75. Caliban and The Witch -- Julia Svensson (aircode) - all music & recording -- Text: Silvia Federici - Caliban and The Witch, available to purchase here Artwork design by Oliver Barrett 

aircode – tunnel vision

「Small Stone」  "In Japan during the Covid-19 lock down we saw a movement. It was created from a woman who raised her voice to say NO via SNS to one of the controversial bills, a revision of the public prosecutor's office law* that was about to go through the Lower House without a fair public hearing. This tiny voice of hers went viral and formed an online demonstration to protect our democracy. It is very rare in Japan for the public to be actively involved in any policies. Alas the bill was temporarily suspended because many finally stood up. When we threw lots of small stones, the mountain got moved a little. However we shouldn’t celebrate yet. We need to be calm and grounded and observe what the government will do.” says Kyoko Koizumi, an actress and a producer whom I respect dearly. Her phrases sums up things that do not change so easily.  *A proposed legal revision that would raise the retirement age for prosecutors became the centre of controversy this week when it was taken up by the Lower House. Unlike officials in other administrative organizations, prosecutors have wide powers to investigate, arrest and indict anyone, even prime ministers and other high officials. They must remain highly neutral and independent from other authorities and political powers. Since the proposed revision could allow the Cabinet to intervene in the personnel affairs of prosecutors’ offices, many experts fear it could jeopardize the independence of prosecutors and the separation of powers.   「Serene」 The music of Eric Dolphy lives with Breathing. We never forget the day May 25th 2020 for the world we can freely breath in and out.  「Two Blue Kites」 June 4th 1989 , it is a very memorable day for me.  31 years ago I took part in a demonstration for the first time ever in my life. It was a small resistance held in Tokyo. I was with the Chinese people raising my voice out loud in the crowd. I couldn’t do anything but I felt that I had to do something.  In the beginning of the 90s I was going back and forth between Tokyo and Hong Kong making music. I was offered to make music for a film portrait the night before the Chinese Cultural Revolution called “ The Blue Kite”. The producer of this film invited me to make the music for the film. The film director was banned from making this film in mainland China and he escaped to Japan via Hong Kong. The film was finally completed in Japan. Hong Kong was still in British colony then. This film made my film music career begin.  June 4th 2020 The Hong Kong government banned the public to organise and attend the candlelight rallies to mark the Tiananmen Square massacre. Despite the harsh policing and the Covid-19 regulation many people (still) defied the ban and tried to attend the commemoration. I was thinking of many of my friends there at the moment.   I wonder how this little country, Hong Kong, that “brought me up” and “ shaped me who I am today” will be from now. My heart is full of concern for its future. The film The Blue Kite is still banned in China to this date." - Otomo Yoshihide In Japanese / 日本語訳 「Small Stone」 日本では、ステイホームの期間中の5月8日、一人の女性の発言をきっかけに、現政権がやろうとしていた三権分立をゆるがすようなひどい法案(検察庁法改正案)に対し多くの人々がSNSを使って異を唱え、それがデモのような効果をもたらし、5月18日国会での法案決議を阻止するに至った。 「小さな石をたくさん投げたら山が少し動いた。が、浮き足立ってはいけない。冷静に誰が何を言い、どんな行動を取るのか見守りたい。」 敬愛する女優でありプロデューサーの小泉今日子が5月19日にSNSで呟いたこの発言は、そのうねりのことと同時に、しかしそう簡単に現状は変わらないことも表している。 「Serene」 エリック・ドルフィーが作る曲は呼吸とともにある。2020年5月25日は忘れてはならない日だ。 みなが伸び伸びと息ができる世界のために。 「Two Blue Kites」   6月4日は個人的にも忘れられない日だ。31年前のこの日、わたしは初めてデモに参加した。東京でおこなわれた小さなデモだった。東京に住む中国人たちと一緒にわたしも声をあげていた。いてもたってもいられなかったのだ。 90年代初頭、わたしは香港と東京を行き来して音楽をつくっていた。そんな中1993年、文化大革命前夜の北京を描いた「The Blue Kite」という中国映画の音楽を作ることになったのが、わたしが映画の世界に入る切っ掛けだった。中国で作ることを禁じられ、香港経由でフィルムを持って日本に脱出した監督が東京で完成させた映画で、香港のプロデューサーがわたしを誘ってくれたのだ。当時香港はまだイギリス領だった。 2020年6月4日、香港では天安門事件31周年の集会が新型コロナを理由に禁止されていたにも関わらず、多くの人たちが集まり追悼集会が開かれていた。きっと多くの友人もそこにいるのだろう。わたしを育ててくれた香港はどうなっていくのだろうか。 「The Blue Kite」は今でも中国での上映が禁止されている。

Otomo Yoshihide – 「Small Stone」

OTOROKU

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

Born in 1964, Yukihiro Isso is a Japanese Noh flutist (hayashi-kata fue-kata) from a family that has been playing this instrument since the 16th century. He received his initial instruction in flute playing from his father Yukimasa Isso and performed on the Noh stage for the first time at the age of nine. From his middle school years he began to listen to a variety of different kinds of music and studying new instruments including the recorder, flute and piano. An acclaimed performer of classical Noh repertoire, Isso is also an accomplished improviser and has performed with the likes of Cecil Taylor, Peter Brötzmann and John Zorn.. Born 1946, Roger Turner grew up amongst the Canterbury musical life of the 1960’s with a strong jazz foundation. Since 1974 work has been concentrated on exploring a more personal percussion language through the processes of improvisation. Solo work, collaborations with experimental rock musics & open - form song, extensive work with dance, film and visual art, involvements in numerous jazz-based ensembles, & workshop residencies have formed part of that development. Takanehishigu is the audio documentation of the first time these artists played together. The results are a breathtaking new music which remains respectful to the individual traditions whilst simultaneously subverting them. --- Yukihiro Isso / Nohkan (noh-flute), shinobue, dengakubue, gemshorn and recorder. Roger Turner / percussion --- Takanehishigu was recorded live at Cafe Oto on 23rd Sep 2015 by Shaun Crook Mixed by John Chantler. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Artwork by Paul Abbott. Edition of 500 copies.

Roger Turner / Yukihiro Isso – Takanehishigu

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.  We're very pleased to announce Pat Thomas's ‘The Elephant Clock of Al Jazari’ on our in-house OTOROKU label. Recorded live at OTO in May 2015 and mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi, the LP comprises four typically genre-defying and sonically dexterous pieces from one of the UK's most extraordinary pianists. In Pat's own words: The title for this album was inspired by the incredible automatic water clock invented by Badi' al-Zaman ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari. Al Jazari refers to the fact he was born in Al Jazira which lies between the Tigris and the Euphrates in what is now Northern Iraq. Badi al Zaman means prodigy of the age. He is known by historians of technology as the father of modern robotics. The Elephant Clock at seven metres high is a testament to his engineering genius, it utilizes Greek water raising technology, combined with an Indian elephant, Egyptian phoenix, Arabian figures, Persian carpet and Chinese Dragons celebrating the diversity of cultures in the world. This and other marvels of engineering can be found in his Book of the Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices translated by Donald Hill (Pakistan Hijra Council). Over 50 devices are mentioned. Amongst them the first analog computer, his remarkable Castle Clock, however, the debt the world owes this muslim genius is found in his remarkable water raising devices, particularly water raising device number 4 where for the first time a crank connecting rod system is used. The crank is considered to be the most important single mechanical device after the wheel, by 1206 this is found fully developed in Jazari`s machines predating Francesco di Giorgio Martini by 3 centuries. 'For Al Haytham' is dedicated to the great polymath genius who wrote the great book on vision, the first person to give us a true understanding of how we see. 'Lubb' is an Arabic word meaning innermost consciousness whilst to conclude proceedings 'Done' is loosely based on a well known standard. - Pat Thomas 26th May 2017 --- Pat Thomas / piano --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO on the 4th May 2015 by Mark Jasper. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Photo by Fabio Lugaro. Design by Maja Larsson. 

Pat Thomas – The Elephant Clock of Al Jazari

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

First published in 1971 on Futura by Gérard Terronès, the first album by Théâtre du Chêne Noir is a protest: non-conformist and alive. According to Gelas’ own words, "Aurora is a fantastic tale of the fabulous story of the Earth and children who fight against terrifying bird men who fly from planet to planet to enslave the inhabitants and become the masters of the universe." Acted by ambitious, radical actors, the group also made for excellent musicians! --- "In 1972, Steve Lacy recorded Solo, one of the gems in his discography, in the Théâtre du Chêne Noir in Avignon. The previous year (which was also the year in which Aurora appeared), the eponymous group of actors led by Gérard Gelas, took up residence in what was a 12th century chapel. The Théâtre du Chêne Noir is therefore not just the name of a space open to all kinds of artistic audacity, but also the name of the great Theatre Group which resides there.  Gérard Terronès showed some flair when he published, in 1971 on Futura, the first album by Théâtre du Chêne Noir. It has to be said that the group run by Gérard Gelas was right up his street: non-conformist, eccentric, protesting, just so alive… Singing too, as we can still hear today on Aurora, recorded at Avignon the 22 and 23 June 1971.  Aurora, which had been created a few weeks earlier at Ariane Mnouchkine’s Théâtre du Soleil, is according to, Gelas’ own words, a fantastic tale with actor musicians who play out the fabulous story of the Earth, and children who fight against terrifying bird men who fly from planet to planet to enslave the inhabitants and become the masters of the universe. It is an ambitious subject and thankfully (even more so for the album than for the play), the actors are also excellent musicians! If we can find «Chêne Noir» between Checkpoint Charlie and Chillum in the Nurse With Wound List created by Steven Stapleton and John Fothergill, Aurora is closer to Stances à Sophie by the Art Ensemble Of Chicago and the Divine Comédie by Bernard Parmegiani and François Bayle. So, we need to move forward cautiously in this landscape of recitals and songs, of mysteries and cries, where saxophones and flutes, electric guitars and percussions spring up… Could the tragic climax have been possible without music? The Théâtre du Chêne Noir replies no to the question and creates a fascinating mix of text and music without one dominating the other. Enjoy the show!

Le Théâtre Du Chêne Noir – Aurora

"Based around the married couple Paul and Limpe Fuchs, the group Anima, also known as Anima-Sound, was one of the most radically avant-garde and creative groups to emerge from the thriving Krautrock scene of Munich at the end of the 1960s. In fact, their improvised atonal sounds and unconventional instrumentation is much closer to the spirit of experimental free jazz than anything remotely close to rock music. The Fuchs began in the late '60s as part of the counterculture at the time. Adding to the conventional instruments such as drums, bass, and cornet, as well as wordless vocal yelps and screams, they created their own homemades, like the Fuchshorn, Fuchszither, and Fuchsbass to further enhance the strangeness of their structure-less music. A 1970 appearance of them in an X-rated exposé movie, Sex Freedom in Germany, finds Limpe, naked except for black body paint, banging away on drums and Paul on various inventions creating musical anarchy. Anima-Sound's first album, Stürmischer Himmel, was recorded in a 1,000-year-old cottage and released by Ohr Records in 1971. That summer, they also played the Ossiach, a three-day outdoor festival organized by famed Austrian classical/jazz pianist Friedrich Gulda that included Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd. By then, Gulda had become close friends with the Fuchs and even joined them on their next few albums, including Anima released by the Pilz label and Musik für Alle, both of which came out in 1972. During the next few years, the Fuchs would often tour with Gulda and make guest appearances on his records as well. "Anima" continued to release records of their eccentric music, from the double It's Up to You in 1974 to Monte Alto in 1977. Recorded between 1978 and 1982, the double LP Der Regt Mich Auf/A Controversy included new bandmember Zoro Fuchs, son of Paul and Limpe, on drums. This same lineup of the three Fuchs is also on the double album Bruchstucke für Ilona, recorded in the summer of 1985 and released later that year. By 1987's Via, Anima had become Limpe Fuchs' solo project. She continued this solo career after that with an album every several years in a similar vein to the Anima records, with a high emphasis on creativity." - Rolf Semprebon

Anima Sound – Monte Alto

"Colorful Troop - Dreaming Without Things" "Colorful Troupe came together in 2017 and consists of Limpe Fuchs, Ruth-Maria Adam, Ignaz Schick and Ronnie Oliveras, who play a variety of percussion, wind and string instruments as well various electronic means in front of their audience. At this point it is absolutely necessary to point out how such a 'colorful troupe acts at the height of its time and improvisedly moves beyond so-called genre boundaries and musical conventions. Of course, this full-bodied announcement includes that the Colorful Troupe knows how to challenge their audience! Naturally.What else? Evidence of historical contexts or other cultural contexts, such as that Limpe Fuchs has been internationally known as a musician since God knows how long (and many years of it in the free improv duo Anima-Sound) and is on the move, The fact that Ruth-Maria Adam and Ronnie Oliveras also make a noise at Datashock and the Flamingo Creatures, while Ignaz Schick hurries from artist residency to artist residency with the record player under his arm, is (not) important. It may also be (un) helpful to use one or the other international benchmark to classify the music for orientation. But before we get lost in the music library, we prefer to prick up our ears and dedicate ourselves to the astonishing sounds that this record contains: lively and seemingly carefree, But the colorful troupe starts to play with each other attentively and free themselves, and so supposedly incompatible, musically disparate things come together casually. The material does not want to be mastered, it has suffered enough." - Holger Adam

Bunte Truppe – Träumen Ohne Dinge

Black Truffle announce Genetic, the first release outside Indonesia from contemporary Balinese composer Dewa Alit and his Gamelan Salukat. Alit is a major force in contemporary Indonesian music, presenting his work extensively throughout Asia, Europe and North America and collaborating with renowned ensembles such as Bang On A Can and Ensemble Modern. Involved in the composition and performance of works for Gamelan ensemble since he was a teenager, in 2007 he founded Gamelan Salukat, a 25 member ensemble that perform on instruments specially built to Alit’s designs, using a unique 11-note scale.The single composition that unfurls over the two sides of Genetic is an enchanting introduction to Alit’s magical sound world. Beginning with a stately procession of isolated, hanging chords sounded on the ensemble’s uniquely-tuned metallophones, the piece abruptly launches into a stunning passage of rhythmically complex call-and-response motifs, making striking use of abruptly muted chords – one of many moments where the acoustic ensemble sounds uncannily electronic. The piece continues to alternate between spare investigations of resounding tones and sometimes frenetic ensemble interplay using unorthodox techniques, including a stunning moment around half-way when the entire Gamelan seems to transform itself into a single, gigantic zither. Later in the piece, drums and wind instruments enter, and the metallophones begin to play virtuosic, rapid-fire passages of fragmented scalar melody.As Alit explains in his liner notes, the music of Gamelan Salukat is grounded in the tradition of Balinese Gamelan; however, he approaches this tradition not as something static, but as a set of concepts and principles that can be used to create something radically new. For many listeners, Genetic will inhabit precisely this space between the familiar and the invigoratingly unheard, as it takes the stop-start dynamics, unison melodies, and much of the instrumentation familiar from traditional Balinese Gamelan and puts them in the service of rhythmic, harmonic, and timbral experimentation, crafting a work possessed by at once by mysterious grandeur and a joyous volatility.  --- Performed by Gamelan Salukat. Recorded at Antida Studio, Bali 2015. Special thanks to Made Mantle Hood for the recording space.Mastered and cut by Kassian Troyer at D&M, Berlin.Cover image and graphic design by Lasse Marhaug.LP includes liner notes by the composer.

Dewa Alit & Gamelan Salukat – Genetic

Black Truffle’s documentation of the prolific recent work of legendary American composer Alvin Lucier continues with Works for the Ever Present Orchestra. This is a very special release for the composer as it presents pieces written for the thirteen-member Ever Present Orchestra, formed in 2016 exclusively to perform Lucier’s works. At the heart of the ensemble are four electric guitars, an instrument Lucier began composing for in 2013 with Criss-Cross (recorded by two core members of the Ever Present Orchestra, Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley, for whom it was composed, on Black Truffle 033). Through the use of e-bows, the guitars take on a role akin to the slow sweep pure wave oscillators heard in many of Lucier’s works since the early 1980s, but with added harmonic richness. Like much of Lucier’s instrumental music, the pieces recorded here focus on acoustic phenomena, especially beating patterns, produced by the interference between closely tuned pitches. The work presented here is some of the richest and most inviting that Lucier has composed. Though all of the pieces clearly belong to the same continuing exploration of the behaviour of sound in physical space and make use of related compositional devices, each takes on a strikingly different character. Titled Arc, for the full ensemble of four guitars, four saxophones, four violins, piano and bowed glockenspiel inhabits a world of sliding, uneasy tones, punctuated by a single piano note. Where Double Helix, for four guitars, rests on a pillow of warm, low hum, EPO-5, for two guitars, saxophone, violin, and glockenspiel possess a limpid, crystalline quality. Accompanying the four new compositions are two adaptations of existing pieces for radically different instrumentation, demonstrating Lucier’s excitement about the new possibilities suggested by this dedicated ensemble. Works for the Ever Present Orchestra is an essential document of the current state of Lucier’s continuing exploration, as well as offering a seductive entry-point for anyone who might yet be unacquainted with his singular body of work.2CD release presented in a deluxe 4-panel digipak with cover artwork and liner notes from Alvin Lucier plus a 16-page booklet with live photos. Disc 2 of this release includes the bonus Adaptions for the Ever Present Orchestra featuring two pieces (“Two Circles” and “Braid”) that are not included on the vinyl version. Mastered by Rashad Becker. Design by Lasse Marhaug.

Alvin Lucier – Works for the Ever Present Orchestra

"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

“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

Ecka Mordecai is a relatively new figure in the London experimental music scene. After a nomadic creative life in the North of England, forming relationships with the likes of Andrew Chalk, Tom Scott, Holly Jarvis and Kate Armitage, 'Critique & Prosper' is her first solo album and presents the most recent development of her solo practice. Melodic mantras, wandering improvised passages and refracted blues vocalisations find each other in her domestic world, revealing glimmers of sensual songcraft that opens outward. Critique + Prosper was developed and compiled within a collaborative project facilitated by artist-curator Katherine Ka Yi Liu and with artist Clarinda Tse. The text is a listening-response to the album as written by Clarinda Tse.  "Compass needle frantically spins near irregular electric fields of ghosts, and phones too. Receiving metallic frequencies of interconnected ghosts, stroked by scratchy fingers 1. astroturf melts into tufty faux fur. Strands of memory vibrate towards an open wound, lightly tapping on the soft box that withholds 2. mouth-a-boundary, finding space across fibres of a dried throat. The closure of lips contains a transcending hum, sealed an inhale but released an exhale into sweaty sticky-crisp air. Rubbery skins rub against each other in attempt to open 3. hot tarmax. We have to acknowledge skin as our biggest organ, shields against the losing of the individual, forming pockets of space in arrangement of skipping stones stirred into a dark glistening puddle. Before we notice, we are thrown off gravity and stuck onto some unknown surface, breathing with inflamed lungs. Outer fear unleash the voice of 4. critique + prosper to disjoin the cells of inner comfort. With wind brushing our eyes, we found a few hairs on the largest grassy rug, traces of inhabitation or passing. Consistency of domination. Air that passes through our head phones and ears, 5. did begun we hear or listen. Transmitting signals to the cell tower - Unarmed! Dismantle! 6. Show up or shut up in our library. Clashes of volatile shells, nails, the undead in the transparent vessel of bodily fluids." - Clarinda Tse https://clarindatse.com/http://www.katherinekayiliu.com/ -- Written, performed, recorded and produced by Ecka Mordecai   --     Mastered by Miles Whittaker Artwork design by Olver Barrett -- Track 4 (Critique + Propser) recorded by Guillaume Dujat'

Ecka Mordecai – Critique + Prosper

Nantes-based Australian drummer and percussionist Will Guthrie returns to Black Truffle with Nist-Nah. Like his previous solo record on the label, the abrasive hip-hop concrète of People Pleaser (BT027), Nist-Nah finds Guthrie branching out in a new direction, this time in a suite of six percussion pieces primarily using the metallaphones, hand drums and gongs of the Gamelan ensembles of Indonesia. The music presented here is grounded in Guthrie’s travels in Indonesia and study of various forms of Gamelan music, from the stately suspended temporality of the courtly Javanese Gamelan Sekatan, to the delirious, thuggish repetition that accompanies the Javanese trance ritual Jathilan, to the shimmering acoustic glitch of contemporary Balinese composer Dewa Alit and his Gamelan Salukat. However, far from an exercise in exoticism, Nist-Nah develops out of Guthrie’s extensive work with metal percussion in recent years (as heard, for example, on his 2015 LP for iDEAL, Sacrée Obsession), where gongs, singing bowls and cymbals are used to build up walls of hovering tones and sizzling details. Though Guthrie is broadening his palette to explore Gamelan instrumentation and pay tribute to his love of this sophisticated yet elemental percussion music, the pieces presented here are equally informed by Guthrie’s interests in free jazz, electro-acoustic music and diverse experimental music practices, exploring long tones, extended techniques, and non-metered pulse.Nist-Nah presents a variety of approaches across its six pieces, from the crisp, precise rhythmic complexity of the opening title track to the droning textures of ‘Catlike’ and ‘Elders’. On the epic closing ‘Kebogiro Glendeng’, Guthrie offers an extended, layered rendition of a Javanese piece belonging to a repertoire primarily used for warmups, beginner’s groups and children first learning Gamelan, elegantly gesturing to his own amateur status while using the piece’s insistently repeated melody as an extended exploration of the hypnotic effects of repetition, falling in and out of time with himself to create woozy, narcotic effects until the piece eventually dissolves into a wavering fog. 

Will Guthrie – Nist Nah

Continuing Black Truffle’s series of releases documenting the recent work of legendary American experimental composer Alvin Lucier, String Noise presents three major works for violin solo and duo composed between 2004 and 2019. Lucier has developed his compositions in close collaboration with many instrumentalists over the years; the three works presented here are performed by the violinists for whom they were originally written, Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim Harris, who together make up the innovative violin duo String Noise, and have premiered works by a plethora of major figures in contemporary music. The long-form compositions presented here continue Lucier’s life-long exploration of acoustic phenomena, drawing on aspects of some of his most well-known compositions and extending them into new instrumentation. Tapper (2004) extends the experiments with echolocation – gathering information about an environment by listening to the echoes of sounds produced within it – that Lucier began with his classic 1969 work Vespers, where performers explore a space equipped with hand-held pulse oscillators. Here, the same principle is put into practice for solo violin, the body of which the performer taps repeatedly with the butt end of the bow while moving around the performance space. The result is a subtly shifting web of echoes and resonances produced by the reflection of the sharp tap off the surfaces of the room (in this case, the Drawing Center in New York). In Love Song (2016), two violinists are connected by a long wire stretched between the bridges of their instruments, causing the sounds played on one violin to also be heard through the other. As the two violinists play long tones using only the open E string, they move in a circular motion around the performance space, thus changing the tension of the wire, which creates a remarkable array of variations in pitch and timbre ranging from ghostly wavering pitches reminiscent of a singing saw to near-electronic tones. In Halo (2019), one or more violinists walk slowly through the performance space in a zig-zag pattern while sustaining long tones. As in Tapper, the consistent sound production reveals the sonic properties of the environment. As the title of the piece suggests, the outcome is a shimmering halo of sound produced by the reflection of the violin’s extended tones off the walls and ceiling of the performance space (in this case, Alvin's home).  

Alvin Lucier – String Noise

Saltern presents its fifth release, Charles Curtis: Performances & Recordings 1998-2018, the first comprehensive collection of recordings surveying the career of renowned, American cellist Charles Curtis. Selected by Curtis and Tashi Wada from recordings spanning the past two decades, the collection offers a broad, inclusive view of Curtis’s activities across the diverse worlds of music he inhabits, containing rare, unreleased recordings, and never-before-released music by Terry Jennings, Richard Maxfield, Éliane Radigue, Alison Knowles, and Curtis. The wide-ranging scope of this release speaks not to a musical restlessness, but to a genuine spirit of inquiry, as these areas of activity for Curtis have existed concurrently in dialogue, not simply in succession, for decades. Over two hours of music by composers and artists with whom Curtis is closely associated including Éliane Radigue, Guillaume de Machaut, Tobias Hume, Silvestro di Ganassi, Terry Jennings, Morton Feldman, Anton Webern, Olivier Messiaen, Alison Knowles, Richard Maxfield, and Curtis himself. --- “Underpinning everything [Curtis] has achieved is a deep communion with, and a profound technical understanding of, the stuff of sound itself.” – Philip Clark, The Wire Produced by Tashi WadaAdditional mixing by Anthony BurrMastered by Stephan Mathieu Second edition of 500. Liner notes by La Monte Young, Spencer Gerhardt, Curtis, and Tashi Wada. Custom packaging and screen printing by Alan Sherry.

Charles Curtis – Performances & Recordings 1998​-​2018

A compilation of poems by the jazz musician and poet Sun Ra, in a bilingual edition (English / Spanish). "The adventure began in a library that looks like a spaceship, next to a monument in the shape of a burned marshmallow that celebrates the first atomic reaction generated by humans. A plaque in the monument suggests that the powerful energy should be used for beneficial purposes. Inside this lunar library is the Special Collections Centre at the University of Chicago, that keeps the archive of Alton Abraham – Sun Ra Collection, comprising the period 1822-2008. Alton Abraham (1927-1999), entrepreneur and hospital technician, was a friend and partner of Sun Ra, and throughout his life he collected manuscripts, ephemera, artifacts, photographs and audio-visual recordings of the work of Sun Ra and his collaborators. Within the archive, which occupies 48 m of linear shelf space (146 boxes and a large folder) we found Sun Ra's wallet, containing his lawyer's business card, the insurance receipt for his car, a cabalistic amulet, and a million dollar bill perforated in the center. We also discovered Sun Ra's typed poems, with handwritten corrections and in various versions. His poems generate a parallel geometry, a world that is precise and ambiguous at the same time. A sidereal enthusiasm made us think that the translation of his poems into our mother tongue could bring us close to his cosmos, and simultaneously allow us to share them with the Spanish-speaking firmament." Selection and translation by Mariana Castillo Deball, Tania Islas Weinstein and Alberto Ortega. Sun Ra (1914-1993) is an African-American experimental jazz pianist and composer. A prolific artist, he recorded over one-hundred albums with his band, the Sun Ra Arkestra. His work is imprinted with esoteric elements drawn from a personal cosmic philosophy that had a great influence on Afrofuturism.

Sun Ra: En algún lado y en ninguno – Poemas

The second issue of Spectres is devoted to the concept of resonances, with contributions by Maryanne Amacher, Chris Corsano, Ellen Fullman, Christina Kubisch, Okkyung Lee, Pali Meursault, Jean-Luc Nancy, David Rosenboom, Tomoko Sauvage, The Caretaker, David Toop, and Christian Zanési. To resonate: re-sonare. To sound again—with the immediate implication of a doubling. Sound and its double: sent back to us, reflected by surfaces, diffracted by edges and corners. Sound amplified, swathed in an acoustics that transforms it. Sound enhanced by its passing through a certain site, a certain milieu. Sound propagated, reaching out into the distance. But to resonate is also to vibrate with sound, in unison, in synchronous oscillation. To marry with its shape, amplifying a common destiny. To join forces with it. And then again, to resonate is to remember, to evoke the past and to bring it back. Or to plunge into the spectrum of sound, to shape it around a certain frequency, to bring out sonic or electric peaks from the becoming of signals. Resonance embraces a multitude of different meanings. Or rather, remaining always identical, it is actualised in a wide range of different phenomena and circumstances. Such is the multitude of resonances evoked in the pages below: a multitude of occurrences, events, sensations, and feelings that intertwine and welcome one other. Everyone may have their own history, everyone may resonate in their own way, and yet we must all, in order to experience resonance at a given moment, be ready to welcome it. The welcoming of what is other, whether an abstract outside or on the contrary an incarnate otherness ready to resonate in turn, is a condition of resonance. This idea of the welcome is found throughout the texts that follow, opening up the human dimension of resonance, a dimension essential to all creativity and to any exchange, any community of mind. Which means that resonance here is also understood as being, already, an act of paying attention, i.e. a listening, an exchange. Addressing one or other of the forms that this idea of resonating can take on (extending—evoking—reverberating—revealing—transmitting), each of the contributions brought together in this volume reveals to us a personal aspect, a fragment of the enthralling territory of sonic and musical experimentation, a territory upon which resonance may unfold. The book has been designed as a prism and as a manual. May it in turn find a unique and profound resonance in each and every reader. Spectres is an annual publication dedicated to sound and music experimentation, co-published by Shelter Press and Ina GRM – Groupe de Recherches Musicales.

Spectres #02 – Resonances

Edited by Lawrence Kumpf with Joe Bucciero and Mark Harwood. Contributors include Henning Christiansen, Thomas Groetz, Diedrich Diederichsen, Dick Higgins, Lars Morell, Per Kirkeby, Bjørn Nørgaard, Helmer Nørgaard, Thorbjørn Reuter Christiansen, Anton Lukoszevieze, Hans-Jørgen Nielsen, Michael Glasmeier, Ute Wasser- mann, Stíne Janvin Motland, Mark Harwood, Lucy Railton, Graham Lambkin, Áine O’Dwyer, Lia Mazzari, Ursula Reuter Christiansen, Francesco Conz, and Emily Harvey.  The third issue of Blank Forms’ journal is released in conjunction with Freedom is Around the Corner, a retrospective exhibition and performance series devoted to the work of pioneering Danish composer and artist Henning Christiansen (1932–2008). Perhaps best known for his collaborations and artistic affinities with notable artists such as Joseph Beuys and Fluxus members like Nam June Paik and Dick Higgins, Christiansen, who worked primarily on the remote Danish island of Møn, moved beyond his Fluxus roots to create a vast, often ineffable body of work that spanned music, performance, film, and visual art over the course of a fifty-year career. Yet Christiansen’s work has remained under the radar, even in the ten years following his death: only a few of his recordings were available until recently, and his prolific compositional and visual outputs have rarely been performed or exhibited in the United States. Freedom is Around the Corner—the exhibition, the performance series, and the journal—seek to present Christiansen’s life and work in a holistic manner that befits his dynamic practice. Like previous issues of the Blank Forms journal, Freedom is Around the Corner collects a combination of newly discovered, never-before published, and newly translated materials; in this case, many of the materials were found in the Henning Christian- sen Archive during the exhibition’s curatorial process. The issue begins with the first of four newly translated interviews with Christiansen himself, conducted circa 2006 by the German writer Thomas Groetz. Two others, conducted by Francesco Conz and Michael Glasmeier in the 1990s, come later in the issue; together these three interviews, which had only existed as audio recordings before, offer a well-rounded picture of the late-career Christiansen through his own, good-humored lens. The fourth interview, a more experimental text conducted by Helmer Nørgaard, was originally published in Danish in the magazine DMT, in a 1986/87 issue devoted to Christiansen. In this issue we’ve created a translated facsimile of that DMT issue, which also featured texts on Christiansen by his prominent Danish collaborators, the writer Lars Morell and the artists Per Kirkeby and Bjørn Nørgaard. We hear from other Christiansen collaborators through correspondence—including in transcribed letters from Emily Harvey and Dick Higgins, whose messages to and from Christiansen were recently discovered in the Archive—and through interviews, including newly conducted interviews with his wife and longtime collaborator, Ursula Reuter Christiansen; Bjorn Nørgaard, who spoke with Christiansen’s son Thorbjørn Reuter Christiansen; and later musical collaborators Werner Durand and Ute Wassermann. Except Nørgaard, these collaborators will all speak or perform as part of the Freedom is Around the Corner programming; a section of this issue features many of the other performers as well, younger artists who have grappled with Christiansen’s legacy. Represented through interviews (Lucy Railton), original artworks (Graham Lambkin, Áine O’Dwyer, Stíne Janvin), and essays (Mark Harwood, Anton Lukoszevieze of Apartment House), these artists demonstrate the lasting and diverse impact of Christian- sen’s work on today’s musical landscape. Lukoszevieze’s essay introduces a newly translated libretto for Dejligt vejr i dag, n’est-ce pas, Ibsen, a 1964 opera with music by Christiansen and libretto by Hans-Jørgen Nielsen which Apartment House, commissioned by Blank Forms, will perform twice during the run of the exhibition. Taken together—and even more, in conjunction with the exhibition and performances—the texts in this journal provide an in-depth look, previously unavailable, especially in the United States, at a towering but overlooked figure in the postwar musical as well as artistic avant-garde. Support for Freedom is Around the Corner comes from the Nordic Culture Point, the Nordic Culture Fund, Snyk, the Danish Arts Foundation, the Royal Norwegian Consulate, Goethe-Institut, the Danish Consulate General, Music Norway, and Ultima Contempo- rary Music Festival.

Blank Forms Journal 3: Henning Christiansen – Freedom is Around the Corner

A biographical essay which explores the origins and influences of Charlemagne Palestine, as well as themes related to his life and artistic practice—spirituality, music, performance, avant-gardism—together with an acute analysis of his main works. The study is followed by an interview with the artist, which provides a clever balance between personal anecdotes and reflection. Born Chaïm Moshe Palestine in Brooklyn, 1947, Charlemagne Palestine joined as a child the Stanley Sapir Jewish choir to lower the effects of his stuttering through singing. Raised in a family from Odessa, he was torn between a traditional spiritual education and his interest for all artistic experimental forms. His practice of singing, carillon bells, organ and piano allowed him to develop, as early as the 1970s, a physical and vibratory relation to space. His performative experiments function through an activation of locations, machines or organisms with which he enters into a dialogue. This state of putting into a trance his body and that of others (stuffed animals, machines, audience) participates in the creation of a performative community. “Meshugga” is a Yiddish term used by Charlemagne Palestine to define his approach and his work's aesthetics. He refers to his recent exhibitions (at the Kunsthalle in Vienna, 2015, and at the Witte de With, 2016) whose titles, GesammttkkunnsttMeshuggahhLaandtttt, Judaise the Wagnerian idea of a total work of art. The repetition of letters, which renders the already complex articulation of the title even more difficult, is a strumming in itself, a beat of the tongue. Charlemagne Palestine wrote intense, ritualistic music in the 1970s, intended by the composer to rub against audiences' expectations of what is beautiful and meaningful in music. A composer-performer, he always performed his own works as soloist. His earliest works were compositions for carillon and electronic drones, and he is best known for his intensely performed piano works. He also performs as a vocalist. Palestine's performance style is ritualistic; he generally surrounds himself (and his piano) with stuffed animals, smokes large numbers of kretek (Indonesian clove cigarettes) and drinks cognac. See also Charlemagne Palestine; Charlemagne Palestine & Z'ev; Charlemagne Palestine & Rhys Chatham.Marie Canet is an independent curator, art historian and professor of aesthetics at the École des beaux-arts de Lyon.

Palestine, first name Charlemagne – Meshugga Land

"A classically trained Chinese bamboo flutist, Lao Dan picked up the saxophone again around 2013 as he went wildly astray in the world of avant-garde jazz and free improvisation. While demonstrating an ever-growing ability to deliver explosive force and intensity in his free playing, Lao Dan keeps a brutal honesty in his approach to the instrument. He plays ‘jazz’ as what it is, not what it’s supposed to be. Navigating constantly between the East and the West, Lao Dan embraces a unique aesthetics which fuses all his past influences into a voice of glorious mayhem and sheer zaniness.Recorded in June 2019, this is a solo set in which two instruments – tenor saxophone and Zheng, also known as the Chinese zither – were played successively and simultaneously by hands and feet. The recording was made in one go with no overdub or effect added. Lao Dan never learned to play the Zheng properly before this very first attempt. As a result, he didn’t struggle at all to play it in an awkward way, while with the saxophone he did, as always, try very hard to do that.The cover art, created by Shenzhen-based artist Tiemei, is a portrait of Shennong, the Deity of medicine and agriculture in ancient Chinese mythology. The three tracks in Chinese Medicine are named after three species of herb each believed to have unique medicinal properties. It is our responsibility to remind you to take them with extra caution. In Chinese medicine, after all, every drug is a thirty-percent poison."

Lao Dan – Chinese Medicine