Jazz / Free Jazz
Drone / Ambient
Outsider / Art Brut
Sound Art / Spoken Word
Indie / Rock
Folk / Song
Books and Magazines
Posters and Prints
“Debut full length from London based 3 piece originally hailing from New Zealand (Matthew Hyland), Germany (Anja Büchele) and Romania (Dennis Debitsev) Precious Waste In Our Wake (full title written nowhere: “The Fucking Terrible Receding Shapes, We Shed Precious Waste In Our Wake”) is an endlessly beautiful, dense and chaotic crawl through so many forms it can be difficult to ascertain what is actually at play. Ostensibly a ‘rock’ band carved from the same plank as previous outfits Philosopie Queen, The Mean Streaks, etc Triple Negative have shaken a somewhat complacent London with their wildly original blend of chaos and beauty rolling around a maelstrom of politics, spite and humour. Bloodclaat Orange, Fatna Bent Lhoucine, The Associates, Aby Ngana Diop, Royal Trux, Brigitte Fontaine/Areski, and Babyfather are all somehow wished into the scenario, either suggestively, explicitly quoted or manifesting as some malformed degree of inspiration.
Precious Waste features bloody-minded Schlagzeugspiel by Stephen Robinson (Aufgehoben) & Rohan P. Thomas (The Mean Streaks, Sigma Editions) + guest verses by Maria Callas/P.-P. Pasolini, Marlene Dietrich & actually existing urban foxes of Northeast & South London. Also contains “Destroyer”, the 1st song written by Cameron Bain for The Mean Streaks (2000. complete lyric sheet: Destroyer!), followed immediately by Dr Moreau-style fusion of Herman Melville & Peter Perrett in glass-all-void Immigrant Song. Also bass sound of the miraculous Stylophone Beatbox, plus Casio MT 45 psychick dancehall and 3 pairs of strings, not 4, on the bouzouki.
Following on from the quietly released TOWERS, OPEN, FIRE/Looking For Business 7″ on Penultimate Press towards the end of 2018, Precious Waste In Our Wake is a Malediction Forbidding Mourning, a portfolio of old pathologies folded into a sleek new nervous wreck. Precious Waste In Our Wake is a hulking ride of audacious rhythmic passages swaying alongside the meanest of melodies suddenly swept over by flights most fragile. Packaged in a high gloss sleeve with insert and precious zero by way of peers.”
“An endearingly honest and outrageously artful sense of seemingly forgetful prowess - having played together for seventeen years (!) and only now releasing their debut album, “Precious Waste..” really gives weight to the idea that it can take a long time to sound like yourself. Triple Negative's entirely unique breed of dynamic chaos providing the thrill and bewilderment of observing that which is so close to collapse, evolve into a fully realised slab of INFINITE potential.” - Low Company
Triple Negative – Precious Waste In Our Wake
"The Blue Horse is a beautiful strange journey through a landscape where little is familiar but all are welcome. Made from predominantly acoustic sources, The Blue Horse gracefully hisses, puffs, wheezes, whirls, and clunks it’s way through a series of distinct musical and non musical environments. Sounding both at times like a dark and stormy night… and “an elephant trying to get laid”, the ambiguous style of The Blue Horse conceals the artists’ unsettling, fantastical and quietly humorous sensibility.
Whilst The Blue Horse lacks any obvious precursors, it’s elemental and environmental leanings potentially tread a path initially mapped out by Moniek Darge and Godfried-Willem Raes in the works coming out of the Logos Foundation in Ghent, Belgium in the mid 80’s.
The Blue Horse is the debut recording from Sholto Dobie and Mark Harwood and features a guest appearance from cellist Judith Hamann.
Sholto Dobie is an artist and performer born in Edinburgh and living in London. His solo output is marked by live performances that are characteristically delicate, evocative and absurd. He uses his own instruments, crudely assembled from materials such as reeds, whistles, bin bags, fans and air compressors, alongside loose performative structures, to respond to places and situations. He plays in Al Fresco (with Lia Mazzari & Tom White) and regularly collaborates with Ben Pritchard. He has also worked with Ashley Paul. He continues to run the event series Muckle Mouth which he founded in 2014.
Mark Harwood is a musician and performer born in Ferntree Gully and living in London. His output veers towards uncanny audio both delicate and unsettling whilst his performances rely on teasing out and playing with the mood embedded within any given environment and audience situation. He has collaborated with Graham Lambkin, Aine O’Dwyer, Timo Van Luijk and MP Hopkins and runs the Penultimate Press label which brings forth this very release."
“People say he looks blue under the moon”, is what Mhairi told me when I asked her about it.
I was walking along the roadside with my partner in the Cabrach, one of the most remote areas in northern Scotland. At a bend in the road, something directed my attention towards the hill and when I looked up I could make out a silvery-blue creature, moving slowly and gracefully, obscured by the trees. It wasn’t clear at first, but I soon clocked that it was a horse and I took a picture of it. Earlier in the day I came across a fairy ring of field blewits, mushrooms otherwise known as blue-legs, so I knew something was up.
By the time it was dark (around 4pm in November) we were the only customers in the Grouse Inn, a long-standing middle-of-nowhere tea room and whisky bar, beautifully cared for by Wilma McBain and her daughter Mhairi. Noticing the leather harnesses on display I asked Mhairi about the horse we’d seen earlier in the woods. I was somewhat enchanted just talking about it, and she wasn’t surprised.
Later in the evening, we ended up behind the bar in the refrigeration room (where Mhairi paints), she showed us her painting of the blue horse.
I didn’t sleep much that night.” – Sholto Dobie, 2019
Mark Harwood & Sholto Dobie – The Blue Horse
Otoroku is extremely proud to present the first vinyl reissue of one of the most legendary free jazz records ever produced. Originally released in 1978 on Ogun recordings, Louis Moholo Octet’s Spirits Rejoice! is a high achievement in the movement of the era as it soars beyond oppression with a raucous and spiritually uplifting surge of movement and melody
Featuring Harry Miller, Johnny Dyani, Keith Tippett, Evan Parker, Nick Evans, Radu Malfatti and Kenny Wheeler, this is former Blue Note artist Louis Moholo’s first album under his own name and is a classic example of the cross-pollination between South African and British players. Mongezi Feza’s ‘You Ain’t Gonna Know Me ‘Cos You Think You Know Me’ alone is enough to make your life a better place.
From Matthew Wright’s new liner notes:
The South African melodies, now so familiar, were wholeheartedly taken on board by the individual musicians, their unity of purpose mirroring the belief in the strength of the collective. Stunning solos, often close to the edge, feature throughout – Evan Parker and Keith Tippett on “Shine Wherever You Are”; the contrasting trombone styles of Nick Evans and Radu Malfatti on “You Ain’t Gonna Know Me...”; the octet sounding like a full big band; and behind them, the relentlessly rhythmic urgency of the piano, bass and drums. Add to this Kenny Wheeler’s moving and all-encompassing trumpet on the elegiac “Amaxesha Osizi” and the joyous flamboyancy of “Wedding Hymn” with Parker’s relatively straight-ahead tenor and Tippett’s dextrous piano solo over a bed of riffing horns, (fast) walking bass lines and a supreme sense of swing. Louis’ early hero, Big Sid Catlett, would have loved it!
This 2019 re-issue has been made with permission and in association with Ogun records. Features an exact reproduction of the original artwork and liner notes along with new liner notes from Matthew Wright. Remastered by Giuseppe IIelasi and packaged in a high gloss sleeve this is the definitive release of one of the absolute free jazz classics of the 20th Century.
Edition of 1000 copies.
Louis Moholo Octet – Spirits Rejoice!
Maryanne Amacher (1938 - 2009) was a composer of large-scale fixed-duration sound installations and a highly original thinker in the areas of perception, sound spatialization, creative intelligence, and aural architecture. She is frequently cited as a pioneer of what has come to be called “sound art,” although her thought and creative practice consistently challenge key assumptions about the capacities and limitations of the genre. Amacher’s work anticipates some of the most important developments in network culture, media arts, acoustic ecology, and sound studies, yet due to its expansive interdisciplinary nature it has rarely been documented. Following two CDs for Tzadik and her inclusion in the monumental collection OHM: The Early Gurus Of Electronic Music (1948-1980), this publication of Amacher’s 1991 piece Petramarks her first commercially available instrumental work as well as the first time her music has ever been available on vinyl.
Petra was originally commissioned for the ISCM World Music Days in Switzerland. Written for two pianos, the piece is a unique example of Amacher’s late work, a direct extension of her working methodologies for electronic composition taken into an acoustic realm that alludes to the music of Giacinto Scelsi and Galina Ustvolskaya. Petra is a sweeping, durational work based on both Amacher’s impressions of the church in Boswil where the piece was premiered and science-fiction writer Greg Bear’s short story of the same name, in which gargoyles come to life and breed with humans in a post-apocalyptic Notre Dame.
This solemn interpretation of Petra was recorded at its 2017 American premiere at New York’s St. Peter’s Episcopal Church with pianists Marianne Schroeder, who originally performed the piece alongside Amacher in 1991, and Stefan Tcherepnin, who performed it alongside Schroeder in 2012 at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. Weighing tranquilizing passages of glacially-paced serenity against stretches of dilapidated, jagged dissonance, the recording illuminates a crucial node in the constellation of Amacher’s enigmatic oeuvre.
Artistic director of the Giacinto Scelsi Festival in Basel, Marianne Schroeder is a Swiss composer and pianist specializing in the interpretation of New Music. She has collaborated with and premiered work by John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Dieter Schnebel, Anthony Braxton, Morton Feldman, Pauline Oliveros and Giacinto Scelsi, with whom she studied. She is currently a professor at Hochschule der Künste Bern, and has also taught at the International Summer Courses in Darmstadt.
Stefan Tcherepnin is an American electronic music performer, contemporary artist, and composer in fourth generation, continuing the family heritage of his great-grandfather Nicholas, grandfather Alexander, and father Ivan Tcherepnin. As a family friend of Amacher’s and a student of hers at Bard College he is uniquely qualified to navigate the labyrinth of Amacher interpretation.
Maryanne Amacher – Petra LP
Ogun marks their 40th anniversary by releasing this superb album from drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo's Unit as an octet including Alexander Hawkins on piano, John Edwards on bass, and Jason Yarde on saxes, performing a heartfelt tribute to The Blue Notes live in Italy.
"Wild but still songlike collective thrashes swell out of catchy hooks (as on the title track); the street-brass sound of the old Brotherhood of Breath big band is echoed in struts like Irmite Is Right; the sonorous chant Dikelelu has a rumbling, Coltranesque undertow; and bassist John Edwards' crunching basswalk under Hawkins' zig-zagging piano solo on Sonke is awesome. There are protracted encores and namechecks at the end, but they all add to the sensation of being present at a gig you'd remember for a long time." - John Fordham
Alexander Hawkins / piano
John Edwards / bass
Louis Moholo-Moholo / drums
Jason Yarde / saxphones
Ntshuks Bonga / saxophones
Henry Lowther / trumpet
Alan Tomlinson / trombone
Francine Luce / vocals
Recorded live in Milan, 2012 by Gianni Grassilli. Cover by Naiel Ibarrola.
Louis Moholo-Moholo Unit – For The Blue Notes
"'Pleasure Island' is British composer Tim Parkinson’s disquieting and joyous Slip debut: play time in end times. Titled after the Disney adaptation of ‘Paese dei balocchi’ (or the Land of Toys) in Carlo Collodi’s ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’ (1883), 'Pleasure Island' is a metaphysical playground of organic and digital cohabitation, its inhabitants pacified by toys and comforts. Alongside Dawn Bothwell, Suze Whaites, Laurie Tompkins, and Francesca Fargion, Parkinson exerts an uncannily emotional pull from an unlikely but potent alliance of ultra-minimal aesthetics, dead-beat drums, junk electronics, and mechanised mantras. Voices are hemmed in by electronic sound. People buffeted around by machines. Words surrounded by garlands of digital interference. Time repackaged as countdown.
Tim’s trash-opera ‘Time With People’ continues to be performed around the world, past champions of which include Object Collection, a.pe.ri.od.ic, Edges, and NEC, and he is a co-curator of London’s longstanding ‘Music We’d Like To Hear’ series. Despite decades of fiercely independent production, this is his only piece conceived of first and foremost as an album.
Tim Parkinson / keyboards, stylophones, drums, percussion, midi, electronics, sounds, vocals
Francesca Fargion / vocals on 'Happy Birthday'
Dawn Bothwell / vocals
Laurie Tompkins / vocals
Suze Whaites / vocals
Recorded in London Oct–Dec 2017 & Newcastle May 2018. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Artwork by Rick Pushinsky.
Tim Parkinson – Pleasure Island
Pleased to present the full recording of Pat Thomas' moving tribute to Duke Ellington on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of his birth. According to Thomas, Ellington "never stopped discovering, never played the same tune in exactly the same way twice", and the same could be said here. The tunes are all there, but they emerge unpredictably, warped and hammered through the body of the piano in Pats own way. The second set was an hour long, with Pat rolling through 'Rockin’ in Rhythm', 'Isfahan' and 'In a Sentimental Mood' in a collage of heavy harmonics, serious swing and a wicked appreciation for exploration. An absolute pleasure to be in the room for this one, and tremendously happy to share the recording.
"Deconstructing and reconstructing as part of the interpretative process is second nature to Thomas. The obvious is kept at his arm’s length so from tangential start points, unforgettable melodies would creep back to plant flags firmly in the ground." - London Jazz News
1.Prelude to a KissSolitudeTake the ColtraneSophisticated LadySatin DollSerenade to Sweden
2.Rockin’ in RhythmMood IndigoIsfahanIn a Sentimental MoodI Got It Bad and That Ain’t GoodHeavenDo Nothing Till You Hear From MeDay DreamCome SundayCaravan
Pat Thomas – Plays Duke Ellington
David Rosenboom's legendary Brainwave Music, originally released on A.R.C. Records in 1975. This is an expanded double-LP edition with over 40 minutes of additional contemporaneous material. Pioneer of live electronics, innovator in music education, collaborator with artists as diverse as Jon Hassell, Jacqueline Humbert, Terry Riley, and Anthony Braxton, Rosenboom is renowned for his ground-breaking experiments with the use of brain biofeedback to control live electronic systems. Each of the three pieces that make up the original Brainwave Music LP integrates biofeedback with musical technology in different ways. In the side-long "Portable Gold and Philosophers' Stones", four performers have electrodes and monitoring devices attached to their bodies to receive information about brainwaves, temperature, and galvanic skin response. This information is analyzed and fed into a complex set of frequency dividers and filters, manned by Rosenboom, but essentially played by each of the performers through their psychophysiological responses.
David Rosenboom – Brainwave Music
This recording from the earlier years of Cafe Oto documents the impossible pairing of four contemporary giants. Its one of those miraculous one off groupings that reminds us why the venue opened in the first place.’
“The magic of the first minutes – an alto solo by Joe McPhee of true purity – soft-spoken, masterful and accomplished – brought back to mind the blissful Coleman/Haden duet last year at the Royal Festival Hall. ‘Ornette gave me freedom to move in a certain way,’ said McPhee. He searched hesitantly and carefully for his words, all the more surprising from such an articulate musical (or, as he might say ‘muse-ical’) practitioner and campaigner. Coleman’s 80th birthday coincided with McPhee’s stint at Cafe Oto.
McPhee and his co-musicians delivered an intense performance which was both creative and restrained. With Evan Parker ‘s tenor in tow – a collaboration going back to the late 70s – and Lol Coxhill, sitting with head bowed intently, a soprano master – it could have gone anywhere, yet they worked off each other, often in the higher registers, building up almost bird-call like interactions and trills. Earlier, Chris Corsano‘s drumming presented a dense bedrock for McPhee to play against, and his solo spell was a crisp exercise in sonic curiosity.
McPhee picked up his soprano mid-way through the second set, heightening the lyricism of the three saxophones. Then, being a devotee of Don Cherry, he switched to pocket trumpet, allowing him to interject, and punctuate the concentrated sound layers built up by the quartet, and lead the music out through a different door”- Geoff Winston (londonjazznews.com)
Recorded 10th March 2010, this is also a document of the only time Lol Coxhill and Joe Mcphee shared the stage. The recording is a little rough, but hey, so was your birth!
Limited to 500 copies packaged in mini gatefold sleeve.
Lol Coxhill / Joe McPhee / Chris Corsano / Evan Parker – Tree Dancing
Charles Gayle is a saxophonist, pianist, sometimes a clown and radical musical performer wrapped into the body of a humble person living in Downtown Manhattan since the 1960s. As this set attests to, It is sometimes hard to predict what he will do on stage... In all his musical (and personal) life Charles Gayle has remained outside of any form of mainstream, carving his own singular path. There is no player on the scene today with the emotional wallop of Charles Gayle.
John Edwards is a true virtuoso whose staggering range of techniques and boundless musical imagination have redefined the possibility of the double bass and dramatically expanded its role, whether playing solo or with others. Perpetually in demand, he has played with Sunny Murray, Derek Bailey, Joe McPhee, Peter Brötzmann, Mulatu Astatke and many others.
Ubiquitous, diverse and constantly creative, drummer Mark Sanders has worked with a host of renowned musicians including Derek Bailey, Henry Grimes, Mathew Shipp, Roswell Rudd, in duo and quartets with Wadada Leo Smith and trios with Sirone and William Parker.
Here we present a 2CD set documenting the two very special sets delivered on the 15th of November, 2017 at Cafe Oto, Dalston, London.
In classic ecstatic fashion one would expect from these three stalwarts of blazing transcendence these 2 sets swerve from the sublime to the this is an exquisite document of one of the most exciting trios operating today,
Limited to 500 copies packaged in mini gatefold sleeve.
Charles Gayle / John Edwards / Mark Sanders – Seasons Changing
To celebrate the announcement of our Peter Brötzmann Festival we're offering a special bundle deal on the three LP's that Peter has put out through our in-house OTOROKU label.
- BROETZMANN / EDWARDS / NOBLE - THE WORSE THE BETTER (LP)
- BROETZMANN / PARKER / DRAKE - SONG SENTIMENTALE (LP)
- BROETZMANN / ADASIEWICZ / EDWARDS / NOBLE – MENTAL SHAKE (LP)
PETER BROETZMANN – 3 LP BUNDLE
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
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
O YAMA O explores a certain domestic and democratic quality of everyday life, born through associations to folk music of Japan and a folding of myth, tradition, and routine; the non-spectacular and the sublime. Formed of musician and artist Rie Nakajima and Cafe OTO co-founder Keiko Yamamoto, the group has performed since 2014 at venues and festivals such as noshowspace, Ikon Gallery, Wysing Arts Centre, Supernormal, Borealis Festival, Mayhem, and allEars Festival. Nakajima’s performance often focuses on the use of found and kinetic objects, using modest items such as rice bowls, toys, clockwork, balloons and small motors as instruments to create a “micro orchestra”. Elements are layered into impressive and immersive atmospheres. Yamamoto alternatively floats and charges through this with body and voice; chanting, incanting, thundering, whispering, stamping on the floor. Their debut album consolidates their musical conversations into keenly paced studio music, the duo working with additional instrumentation and a resolved focus on melody to provide vivid portraits of folkloric Japan in song. They move between pop and the philosophical, defined by the overall space afforded to texture and movement. In small, delicate sound an intimate musical climate is established that reflects on life, telling stories of improvised clockwork, whispered dreams, small movements of the hand and the rhythm to be found in the shuffle of a deck of cards. Grandly theatric and dramatic flourishes add solidity to these illustrations, operas driven by the swooping energy and power of Yamamoto’s voice can be playful or emotionally charged, particularly when the duo arrange themselves in ensemble with violinist Billy Steiger and percussionist Marie Roux. Production by David Cunningham creates the shadowy presence of a leftfield Flying Lizards dubwise depth that adds subtle strangeness to the atmosphere. The result is something raw, full-bodied; full of energy, grace and mystery.
O Yama O – O Yama O LP
"Combining visual strategies, free improvisation, UK garage and punk, Still House Plants build melodic hierarchies scaffolded around ambiguities and intimacy. Fresh from being selected for the OTO Projects UK Artists Fund, and following two sold out tapes on Glasgow label GLARC, the trio’s debut LP 'Long Play' collects their group's raw guitar-drum-vocal palette and stretches it to include violin, piano and intimate home recording. Ranging from seconds-long to seven:minute:somethings, the album coagulates to form a heady meld of rudimentary phrases, kinetic repetition and malleable samples. Experimental songwriting is rarely so forthcoming, emotive, or approachable."
"A genuinely challenging and beautiful album." - Stewart Smith
Jessica Hickie-Kallenbach / vocals
Finlay Clark / guitar, piano, violin
David Kennedy / drums
Recorded by Ronan Fay at Green Door Studios, Glasgow, April 2018. Mixed by Ronan Fay. Mastered by Katie Tavini. Artwork by Still House Plants.
Still House Plants - Long Play
New CD on bison from Kumio Kurachi, whos only performance outside of Japan was here back in 2009.
"After 11 albums and unknown quantities of cassettes, compilations and split releases, Sound of Turning Earth is the first release outside of Japan for one of the most original figures in Japanese music, Kumio Kurachi. Recorded by Jim O’Rourke at his home studio, Sound of Turning Earth is Kurachi solo on vocals and guitar, mixing surreal lyrics and theatrical vocal personas with unorthodox tunings inspired by Japan’s national instrument, the koto. Lyrically Kurachi draws life from the small events of life, the hira, - the joy of choosing a lipstick in springtime, the business of changing the tatami, raindrops deciding whether to fall as snow. Set to his own brand of progressive folk in the Hirajōshi scale and laced with winding melodies which can be hard to forget, Kurachi maps his own territory for the people who inhabit his everyday. As much a visual artist as a musician, we are pleased to present Sound of Turning Earth in the form of a deluxe CD accompanied by new artwork by Kurachi and full translation of his poetic lyrics. These striking songs speak for a liberated imagination." “The music is so melodious that the mixture of the strange wording, guitar and variations of voices thrives all together and it can haunt you without noticing it, just like the small events of everyday life you can't escape from." - Midori Ogata
All songs written by Kumio Kurachi Guitars and vocals by Kumio Kurachi Recorded and mixed by Jim O'Rourke Mastered by Daichi Tokunaga (PLUM) Translation by Midori Ogata Design by Maja Larrson Special thanks to Midori Ogata
Kumio Kurachi has performed actively in Japan since the 80's, and still plays shows in Fukuoka regularly. Past collaborators include Taku Unami and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. He has played with Tenniscoats, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Katsura Yamauchi, Tori Kudo, Jim O'Rourke and Eiko Ishibashi."
Kumio Kurachi – Sound of Turning Earth
Fresh output from John Chantler's 1703 Skivbolaget - the new duo from two masters of very different string instruments. ‘The Air Around Her’ beguiled its audience when recorded live in a bakery at Edition Festival in 2016, and carries beautifully through to this release. Microtonal timbres meet gnarled defiance - the result is surprisingly symbiotic.
Ellen Fullman’s Long String Instrument has been a long-term life-work of incredible ambition and dedication. The result is immediate, exciting and inspirational. Okkyung Lee has completed rewritten the possibilities for the cello in solo and group improvisation whilst maintaining a steadfast defiance to the many attempts to contain her work within pre-defined genres. ‘The Air Around Her’ was recorded on 20 February 2016 during the First Edition Festival for Other Music in Stockholm, Sweden at Kronobageriet — the former bakery to Swedish Royalty that dates back to the 17th Century and is now the site of the city’s Performing Arts Museum. The Edition Festival was given access to the space while renovations took place and Fullman allowed the requisite time to install and tune her long string instrument along the full 26 metre length of the room.
Music by Ellen Fullman and Okkyung Lee. Recorded during the First Edition Festival for Other Music, Stockholm on 20th February 2016. Concert producer: John Chantler. Recording Engineer: Maria W Horn. Mixed by Ellen Fullman and Thomas Dimuzio. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx, Berlin. Artwork by Bill Nace. Made possible in part by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists (2015). The title, "The Air Around Her" is a quote from "Vermeer Interiors" a poem by Margaret Rabb, from her book, "Granite Dives". This release has been supported by the Swedish Arts Council. © 2018 Ellen Fullman (BMI) / Okkyung Lee (ASCAP) Released by 1703 Skivbolaget in cooperation with Ideell Edition
Ellen Fullman & Okkyung Lee - The Air Around Her
The first duo release of Anne Guthrie and Seymour Wright - made back and forth across the Atlantic between 2014 and 2016, of a duo that has existed since 2003.
recordings and assemblings, 2014 new york, ny, 2014 limehouse, london, 2016, elephant and castle to chelsea bridge, london and 2016 brooklyn, ny.
anne guthrie: french horn + ny recordingsseymour wright: alto saxophone + london recordings
listen to an excerpt
letterpress sleevedesign and print by ben owen
anne guthrie and seymour wright chelsea bridge cd
Edited by Lawrence Kumpf. Contributors and featured artists include Onyx Ashanti, Amy Cimini, Marcia Douglas, Kazuo Imai, Werner Durand, Peter Gente, Heidi Paris, Robert Ashley, “Blue” Gene Tyranny, Spencer Gerhardt, Adrian Rew, Paul Cummings, and Walter De Maria.
Taking its name from Maryanne Amacher’s visionary, unrealized opera, the fourth issue of Blank Forms’ journal, Intelligent Life, features a select group of unpublished, newly translated, or otherwise rare texts that augment our organization’s concerts, publications, exhibitions, and archival initiatives. The issue opens with a short literary essay by the author Marcia Douglas, in which a deep bass riddim guides a deaf narrator and a reincarnated Bob Marley through important sites in Rastafarianism’s development. Next come two interviews with crucial (though very different) figures in postwar avant-garde music: the Japanese guitarist Kazuo Imai and the American composer Robert Ashley, along with pianist and frequent collaborator “Blue” Gene Tyranny. The previously unpublished interview with Imai was conducted by Blank Forms’ Editor and Artistic Director Lawrence Kumpf during Imai’s first trip to the United States, in 2018, and finds the artist reflecting on recent work with the collective Marginal Consort as well as his foundational experiences playing with two other titans of Japanese experimentalism, Takehisa Kosugi and Masayuki Takayanagi. The interview with Ashley and “Blue” Gene, meanwhile, first published in German in 1984 on the occasion of a staging of Ashley’s opera Atalanta, was translated for the first time into English for this publication.
Intelligent Life continues with a series of longer pieces showcasing a diverse set of complex practices and histories, beginning with that of Detroit-based artist Onyx Ashanti. Onyx contributes his own Octavia Butler-referencing “sonocybernetic manifesto,” first published online in 2016, which exists simultaneously as theoretical treatise, memoir, and practical guide to his idiosyncratic technology-based practice. The manifesto is bolstered in this issue by a rare and extensive interview, conducted by Blank Forms’ Curatorial Assistant Adrian Rew in 2018. Following this exploration of Onyx’s life and work, the issue dives deeper into mathematics, with a comprehensive essay on Catherine Christer Hennix’s engagement with intuitionism and other esoteric approaches to math, written by the mathematician and musician Spencer Gerhardt. Gerhardt’s lucid, previously unpublished essay serves as a necessary complement to Blank Forms Editions’ forthcoming collection of Hennix’s abstruse, mostly unpublished body of writing, Poësy Matters and Other Matters.
The issue continues with a sort of titular essay, a rich analysis of Amacher’s Intelligent Life—the first such piece on this work—by Amacher scholar Amy Cimini. An incredibly prescient work that sought to upend any remaining vestiges of traditional operatic form and staging, Intelligent Life tells the story, set in 2021, of employees at Supreme Connections LLC, a futurist sonic entertainment corporation that formed following the collapse of a failed algorithmic music recommendation service. Cimini traces the technical and theoretical innovations with which Amacher imbued the work, situating it amid a detailed explication of Amacher’s still-overlooked practice. Intelligent Life—the journal issue—then concludes with a lengthy interview with the artist Walter De Maria. One of the few interviews De Maria gave in his lifetime, this one, created for the Archives of American Art in 1972, sheds significant light on De Maria’s early intellectual and artistic development as well as his work as a musician. Although he largely stopped playing music by 1970, and although few recordings of his efforts exist, De Maria played alongside musicians ranging from Lou Reed to Don Cherry to Henry Flynt, establishing himself early on as a force in jazz and avant-garde circles in both the Bay Area and New York City.
Taken together, the texts compiled here present a kaleidoscopic view of the last fifty years of experimental art and music in the United States and beyond, mining the conceptual, technical, historical, or otherwise marginal details undergirding artists’ lives, ideas, and approaches that may otherwise remain buried.
Blank Forms – Journal 4: Intelligent Life book
Ed Askew is a singer-songwriter and painter born in 1940 in Stanford, Connecticut. Moving to New York for a few months in 1967, he was offered a recording contract with ESP — home also to Sun Ra and Albert Ayler — and soon released his first album Ask The Unicorn, now regarded as a folk-psychedelic classic.
Between 1968 and 1986 Ed lived mostly in New Haven, playing occasional shows there, solo and with his band. Around 1987, he moved to New York City, where he continues to write and record songs, and occasionally perform.
Never having heard of Ed previously, the wind in the trees happily encountered him on a rare visit to play with his band in London. The purity, pathos and power of his music blew us away. One song played included the words
wind in the trees is blowingthoughts in the mind
ED ASKEW Moon in the Mind
Fate was speaking, so subsequently we got in touch and Ed offered the opportunity to publish Red Lamp Poems, a collection of visual/concrete poetry — terse, playful, tender — composed, typed and elaborated with a painter’s eye and a musician’s phrasing back in 1969 on a delicately-tinted variety of graph papers.
Ed Askew - Red Lamp Poems book
Following his investigation into experimental music and sound recording in Records Ruin the Landscape, David Grubbs turns his attention to the live performance of improvised music with an altogether different form of writing. Now that the audience is assembled is a book-length prose poem that describes a fictional musical performance during which an unnamed musician improvises the construction of a series of invented instruments before an audience that is alternately contemplative, participatory, disputatious, and asleep. Over the course of this phantasmagorical all-night concert, repeated interruptions take the form of in-depth discussions and musical demonstrations. Both a work of literature and a study of music, Now that the audience is assembled explores the categories of improvised music, solo performance, text scores, instrument building, aesthetic deskilling and reskilling, and the odd fate of the composer in experimental music.
About The Author
David Grubbs is Professor of Music at Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and author of Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording, also published by Duke University Press. As a musician, he has released fourteen solo albums and appeared on more than 180 commercially released recordings. Grubbs is known for his cross-disciplinary collaborations with poet Susan Howe and visual artists Angela Bulloch and Anthony McCall, and his work has been presented at the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Tate Modern, and the Centre Pompidou. Grubbs was a founding member of the groups Gastr del Sol, Bastro, and Squirrel Bait, and has appeared on recordings by Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, Will Oldham, and Matmos, among other artists. Grubbs has written for The Wire, BOMB, Bookforum, and the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
David Grubbbs - Now that the audience is assembled book
"In London, in the fall of 1965, a group of four musicians dissatisfied with the constrictions they had encountered in the British jazz scene, came together with a highly thought-out agenda to revolutionize the way music was created, rejecting rules firmly in place then (and still today) among even the most forward-looking of musicians: no repertoire, no solos, no regular rhythms, no melodies, no fear of silence, 100% improvised. Keith Rowe was one of the founding members. They called themselves AMM and soon added the composer Cornelius Cardew, an associate of John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen, who was seeking to escape what he thought were equivalent strictures in the avant-garde classical world. As a quintet, AMM created music unlike anything else being done at the time and, being immersed in the London scene of the mid-60s in which musical boundaries were amorphous, found themselves on the one hand sharing bills with nascent bands like Pink Floyd, The Who and Cream while on the other working with and alongside Yoko Ono and Christian Wolff.
"Rowe, a guitarist trained as a painter, adapted to his guitar the lessons he’d learned in the visual arts, placing it flat on a table or the ground as Jackson Pollock had done with his canvases, using it as a sound source to be approached with all manner of implements, opening up a vast new territory of exploration, one which would be enormously influential in rock, contemporary classical, and the field of free improvisation.
"Over 12 years in the making and via exhaustive research and exclusive interviews Brian Olewnick has traced Rowe’s life from childhood through the present, with focuses on London’s mid-60s experimental music scene, the political unrest of the late 60s, the radical politics of the early 70s, the ongoing saga of AMM through the 90s and the accompanying advance of creative music over that time period, centered around Rowe’s participation in those events and his major contributions to the contemporary avant-garde environment. Through the many ups and downs of AMM and beyond, Rowe has become an éminence grise to generations of musicians and is still today continuing to push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of sound.
"Brian Olewnick is a new music writer and visual artist. He helped run the avant-garde jazz loft Environ from 1976-1980 and was eventually seduced into writing about contemporary music in various forms from jazz to modern classical, free-improvisation and beyond. He has written for All Music Guide, The Wire, Time Out New York and other publications in addition to his blog, Just Outside, one of the principal sites for analysis of new music where he has published over 2,000 reviews since 2006. He has given talks on the craft of writing about contemporary music in Philadelphia, Västerås, Sweden and Sokołowska, Poland. He lives with his wife, Betsy, in Kinderhook, New York."
Brian Olewnick - Keith Rowe: The Room Extended Book
Reception is the first comprehensive examination of how Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage embraced and employed radio in some of their most sophisticated and experimental works between 1942 and 1991.
This includes Rauschenberg’s artworks Broadcast (1959) and Oracle (1962-1965), and Cage’s compositions, Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (1951), Water Walk(1959), and Variations VII (1966).
Author, Alana Pagnutti’s discussion considers how (influenced by renowned Canadian media philosopher, Marshall McLuhan), they both used the medium of radio to foster and provoke new qualities of experience and elicit the participation of their audiences.
The foreword is written by Angus Carlyle, co-director of Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice (CRiSAP) at London College of Communication (UAL).
As the UK prepares to switch off FM radio in favour of DAB (digital radio) between 2017-2022 (a transition happening globally), Pagnutti’s thoughtful and engaging book serves as a timely prompt to re-examine these radio-works before advances in technology change them forever.
‘Pagnutti makes us into fellow witnesses. After finishing the book for the first time I looked at the index, it was like reading a glittering recipe for some magical potion, the very thing I had only just inhaled.’ – Richard Wentworth
To celebrate the launch of this book the first ever UK performance of Cage’s, Water Walk (1959) was hosted by Cafe Oto, London, in July 2017.
Alana Pagnutti - Reception: The Radio-Works of Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage Book
"In May 1977 Derek Bailey gave me a press ticket for Company Week - a series of concerts of improvised music in London. I made some notes at the time, but there seemed to be nowhere suitable to publish the extended commentary I eventually produced. So I wrote it into a dummy book and it to Derek. Most of it is reproduced here." Peter Riley 1994
Original copies of this rare and invaluable document.
Peter Riley - Company Week
Edition of 100 hand numbered two color screenprints for our four day Peter Brötzmann festival celebrating his decade long relationship with Cafe OTO.
Design by Peter Brötzmann. Printed on A2 colorplan White Frost 175gsm paper by Tartaruga.
Peter Brötzmann Four Day Festival A2 Screenprint
Two color screenprint for our Music and Other Living Creatures series, designed by Silja Strøm and printed on 175gsm colorplan natural paper by Tartaruga.
Music and Other Living Creatures is a series at Cafe OTO (curated by OTO Projects) dedicated to music about, with, or by other living creatures. Birds, tigers, chickens, insects and many other living creatures are explored through sound-walks, listening sessions, commissioned performances, live responses and discussions.
A2 Music and Other Living Creatures Screenprint
A2 silkscreened poster for Joe McPhee's four-day residency at OTO, May 2019. Designed by Oliver Barrett and printed by Tartaruga on thick, quality paper in a limiited edition of 50 numbered copies.
For over four decades Joe McPhee has been pursuing a beauty in his music that balances the fierce attack of European free improve with a lyrical poetry stemming from Coltrane’s Love Supreme and hinting at the dark roots of his country’s civil rights protests. Joe has performed and still performs with musicians across all music: Survival Unit, Brotzmann’s Tentet, Dominic Duval, The Thing, Raymond Boni, Andre Jaume, Decoy with John Edwards, Steve Noble & Alexander Hawkins, Evan Parker amongst others.
This very special residency draws together the various strands of Joe's incredibly diverse, ever-curious sonic approach, with a jam-packed line-up of collaborators old and new. Even across four nights it's hard to do justice to the scale of his musical output but what's guaranteed is that each of these nights will be unmissable in its own way.
JOE MCPHEE - FOUR-DAY RESIDENCY A2 SILKSCREENED POSTER
On occasion of the very special residency by Anthony Braxton we have a screenprinted poster available, designed by Oliver Barrett, printed on thick, quality paper in a limiited edition of 100 numbered copies.
From original listing:
Ever since Cafe OTO first opened its doors in 2008, Anthony Braxton has been up at the top of the list of people we wanted to host here. One of the fundamental figures in the music of the late 20th century, his work as a saxophonist and composer has set trailblazing precedents by tapping into and expanding new conceptual and instrumental possibilities. To this day, Braxton remains a towering force in new music and we're over the moon to welcome him to OTO for a very rare three night residency with his ZIM Sextet as we celebrate our 10th year.
Anthony Braxton / saxophones, compositionsTaylor Ho Bynum / cornet, brassAdam Matlock / accordionDan Peck / tubaJacqueline Kerrod & Miriam Overlach / harps
ANTHONY BRAXTON ZIM MUSIC – THREE DAY RESIDENCY A2 SILKSCREENED POSTER
On occasion of the very special 2 shows by this insane trio we have a limiited screenprinted poster - DESIGNED BY BRÖTZMANN and printed on thick, quality paper in a limiited edition of 100 numbered copies.
From original entry:
Delighted to welcome back the dynamic, corruscating pairing of Peter Brötzmann on reeds and Heather Leigh on pedal steel – this time expanded to a trio with the addition of the one and only Keiji Haino! The duo of Brötzmann and Leigh have established a fierce rapport in the past couple of years – weaving a powerfully frenetic interplay reminiscient of some of the all-out blast of Brötzmann's Die Like A Dog quartet. Add Haino's incendiary propensity for masterfully fluid improvisation and you have the makings of a very special evening indeed.
KEIJI HAINO / HEATHER LEIGH / PETER BRÖTZMANN A2 SILKSCREENED POSTER
Screenprinted on thick, quality paper. Design by Maja Larsson. Limited poster to celebrate the two day residency by the legendary and uncompromising Patty Waters.
From original listing:
Patty Waters must be acknowledged as a vocalist who has tested the limits of the human voice’s capabilities. Since her brief recording career in the mid-6O’s – after Albert Ayler brought her to the attention of ESP Disk – and despite performing very rarely, her influence has spread far beyond the realms of avant-garde and jazz. She has received much critical acclaim for her two ESP Disk recordings - Patty Waters Sings and Patty Waters College Tour. Waters' interpretation of Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair still remains a bold testament to the power of human expression. With a repertoire ranging from hushed piano solo ballads – in which her voice can fade to a whisper, barely audible – to performances using her voice as an instrument, conveying an incredible range of emotions, Waters is a singular artist and we're delighted to host her for a very rare two-night residency alongside Burton Greene (piano) and Tjitze Vogel (bass).
“One of the best fucking singers alive.” – Rolling Stone
“Praised by people like Miles Davis. her range moves easily from intimacy to introspection to rage. and her evocation of “Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair” has no parallel In musical history.” – San Francisco Sentinel
“Hear her voice with the ears of wolves. A sound contour never before heard in American music and poetry. It transcends virtuosi vocalizing. It is presented as Shamanic ritual. The most perfect realization of Jazz song as siren song. Compels a revisioned understanding of the lure of the sweet woman's voice as a passage to paradise.” – Village Voice
PATTY WATERS – TWO DAY RESIDENCY A2 SILKSCREENED POSTER