"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 Cafe OTO x Jerwood Foundation Artistic Development fund, and following two sold out tapes on Glasgow label GLARC, the trio’s debut LP 'Long Play' collects the 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."
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
Note: this is a pre-order. We will ship mid-Nov.
One of the final Incus releases and one that was written up in The Penguin Guide to Jazz as ‘an essential document of modern music’. Otoroku is proud to release the first ever vinyl re-issue of Evan Parker’s legendary recording The Snake Decides. Featuring 4 solos recorded in 1986 in St. Paul's Church, Oxford by the late Michael Gerzon. The Snake Decides is a groundbreaking example how far the language of a particular instrument can be taken.
From Brian Morton’s liner new notes:
“The Snake Decides attracts a certain array of adjectives - intense, radical, fearsome, hypnotic, virtuosic – and occasionally allows a more ambitious reviewer to avoid platitude by talking more specifically about 32nd harmonics, circular breathing, multiphonics and Gerson's exact choice and placement of microphones. But this misses a point, too. Listening to this record, either for the first or the fortieth time, is an arousing experience.”
Remastered by Giuseppe Ielasi and housed in a reverse board sleeve with new liner notes by Brian Morton this is the ultimate document of one of the most important recordings in all of Parker’s extensive and exploratory catalogue. Edition of 500 copies.
Evan Parker - The Snake Decides LP (pre-order)
Limited bundle consisting of Evan Parker's 'The Snake Decides' along with The Topography Of The Lungs release by Derek Bailey, Evan Parker and Han Bennink.
Note: this is a pre-order. We will ship mid-Nov.
THE SNAKE DECIDES + THE TOPOGRAPHY OF THE LUNGS 2LP (pre-order)
Limited bundle consisting of Evan Parker's 'The Snake Decides' along with Derek Bailey and Evan Parker's legendary 'The London Concert'
Note: this is a pre-order. We will ship mid-Nov.
THE SNAKE DECIDES + THE LONDON CONCERT LP (pre-order)
Mega 3LP pack of all 3 Otoroku Evan Parker Incus re-issues.'The Snake Decides', 'The London Concert' and 'The Topography Of The Lungs'.
Note: this is a pre-order. We will ship mid-Nov.
THE SNAKE DECIDES + THE LONDON CONCERT + THE TOPOGRAPHY OF THE LUNGS (pre-order)
2018 repress of the OTOROKU re-issue of the legendary English free improvisation LP 'The Topography of The Lungs' by Evan Parker, Derek Bailey and Han Bennink. This was Evan Parker’s first recording as a "leader" and was the first release on Incus, the label Parker founded with guitarist Derek Bailey and drummer Tony Oxley.
This re-issue has been produced from an original vinyl pressing from Evan's archives - carefully transcribed and restored by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx in Berlin and features the original liner notes from Parker along with updated notes penned in 2014.
"To talk further of the music we play is difficult. It’s criteria for success exist, but are elusive and indefinable beyond the intuitive level. We operate without rules (pre-composed material) or well-defined code of behaviour (fixed tempi, tonalities, serial structures etc.), and yet are able to distinguish success from failure." - From Evan Parker’s original liner notes (1970)
The Topography of The Lungs comes in a limited edition of 500 copies printed on reverse board with printed inner sleeve.
Evan Parker / Derek Bailey / Han Bennink – The Topography of the Lungs LP
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
Musicians: Antonin Gerbal (FR) – drums, Joel Grip (SW) – double bass, Pat Thomas (UK) – piano, Seymour Wright (UK) – alto sax
Four of the most idiosyncratic and creative voices at the margins of jazz, imagine their way into and around the music and philosophy of Ahmed Abdul-Malik. This is music to listen, dance and think to. A new jazz record, from a new jazz band.
[Ahmed] make music about the music of Ahmed Abdul-Malik. They excavate, re-inhabit and use a-new the now overlooked documents, and fragmentary plans, of his mid-20th century synthetic vision to produce a new jazz imagination for the 21st century.
Ahmed-Malik (1927-1993) was a NYC bassist, oudist, composer, educator and philosopher. A potent(ial) influence on Coltrane and Monk (we imagine), he was also a significant composer in his own right. (Ignored into creative obscurity, he spent his final decades teaching, and performing seldom). His albums Jazz Sahara (1958) and East Meets West (1960) fuse aspects of Arabic and East African musics and thought, his committed long-term relationship with Sufi Islam, and then-modern jazz and thinking – in revolutionary and vital ways. The product is exciting, radical, raw, and beautiful.
But, as well as honouring these traditions, Abdul-Malik invented and imagined a lot*. Abdul- Malik’s straddling, synthetic and inclusive vision is one of the great projects of the imagination in jazz. He mixed sounds and ethics, meanings and beliefs in open, experimental ways without dogma.
And so do [Ahmed]. They visit and (re)think his compositions and the process potential in them. They play the notes, but use them, and the ideas in and about them, as vehicles for their unique imaginations, instrumental approaches and ideas. Through his compositions they re-imagine and re-synthesize, moving from what they know into newly creative space. They imagine themselves into the future, free of the dogma, clichés and cloy neo-classicisms of current ‘improvised music’ and ‘free jazz’.
* Kelley, R.D.G. (2012) ‘Ahmed Abdul-Malik’s Islamic Experimentalism’ in Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times. Cambridge: Harvard University Press: 91-119 talks about this in his brief but fascinating study.
[Ahmed] New Jazz Imagination LP
Recorded May 1968 at "Lila Eule", BremenPeter Brötzmann: baritone saxophone, tenor saxophonePeter Kowald: acoustic bassBuschi Niebergall: acoustic bassSven-Ake Johansson: drumsHan Bennink: drumsFred Van Hove: pianoEvan Parker: tenor saxophoneWillem Breuker: tenor saxophoneFirst time on vinyl, appeared first on FMP CD 24 Machine Gun & later on Atavistic's "Complete Machine Gun Sessions".Screenprinted cover
PETER BRÖTZMANN OCTET – Machine Gun - Alternate Takes LP
Recorded May 1968 at "Lila Eule", BremenPeter Brötzmann: baritone saxophone, tenor saxophonePeter Kowald: acoustic bassBuschi Niebergall: acoustic bassSven-Ake Johansson: drumsHan Bennink: drumsFred Van Hove: pianoEvan Parker: tenor saxophoneWillem Breuker: tenor saxophoneTHE european Free Jazz album finally re-issued on vinyl. Screenprinted cover.
PETER BRÖTZMANN OCTET – Machine Gun LP
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 began playing piano at the age of eight. He studied classical music and reggae was an early interest. Thomas was inspired to take up Jazz after seeing legendary pianist Oscar Peterson on television. By 1979, Thomas was performing seriously as an improviser. In 1980 he became a member of oxford based group Ghosts with Pete Mcphail and Matt Lewis. Has worked with Mike Cooper, Steve Beresford, Geoff Hawkins, Chuck Berry, Tim Hill, Alex Ward, Eugene Chadbourne, Steve Noble, Jimmy Carl Black, Thurston Moore, Mats Gustafsson, Evan Parker, Oliver Lake, Alan Silva, Bill Dixon, Joe Gallivan, Alan Wilkinson, John Edwards, John Zorn, John Butcher, John Russell and a duo with Mark Sanders since 1986 a duo with Steve Noble (who first met in 1979). Current activities include Black Top with Orphy Robinson, Valid Tractor with Lawrence Casserley and Dom Lash, About Group with Alexis Taylor and John Coxon, Albert Newton with Charles Haywood and the Founder Effect with John Coxon, a duo with Han Bennink and a trio with William Parker and Hamid Drake.
Pat Thomas received Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers in 2014.
Pat Thomas / piano
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on the 4th May 2015 b Mark Jasper. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Photo by fabio Lugaro. Design by Maja Larsson.
Pat Thomas - The Elephant Clock of Al Jazari
"Japanese bluesman Kan Mikami is nothing less than an unalloyed force of nature. A skin-shredding blast of frozen wind from the poor, rural north of Japan that he calls home. In the late 1960s, like thousands of other Japanese young people Mikami made his way to Tokyo in search of a life different from that of his parents. Since then he has forcefully carved out a space for himself in the culture as a modernist poet, a raging folk singer, an author, a actor, an engaging TV personality, and one of Japan’s most uniquely powerful performers.
For most of Mikami’s career as a singer, he has performed solo. Just him and his electric guitar against the world, creating jagged A-minor vamps to drive along the surreal wisdom of his lyrics. But he’s equally at home in more demanding improvisational contexts such as those provided here by John Edwards on bass and Alex Neilson on drums. Their dense propulsive textures seem to spur on Mikami, his voice arcing powerfully into fragmented spaces, his guitar darting, colliding, shedding jagged and angular splinters of sound. A pulsing, raging maelstrom of serrated-edged energy. Gruff, rough, honest and very, very real." - Alan Cummings
Kan Mikami / vocals, guitar
John Edwards / bass
Alex Neilson / percussion
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on 3rd April 2013 by James Dunn. Mixed by John Chantler. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi
Kan Mikami / John Edwards / Alex Neilson - Live at Cafe OTO
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
Following on from the re-issue of Topography of the Lungs, OTOROKU is proud to follow up with another legendary free-improvised document, this one from the duo of Derek Bailey and Evan Parker, originally released on the INCUS label in 1975
"The London Concert is one of those rare recordings that capture musicians at a special moment of confluence, a moment when procedures are proving fruitful and before practice has hardened into dogma, when different visions are not yet turned into position papers (insert your list here). There are clearly moments in the London Concert when things that have not precisely happened before emerge from one partner, are caught and supported by the other in a way that, too, is still new 40 some years on, and which prods the initiator to hold and develop a particular line with the clear support of the other." - Stuart Broomer
The London Concert comes in a limited edition of 500 copies printed on reverse board with printed inner sleeve and newly commissioned liner notes by Stuart Broomer
Derek Bailey / Evan Parker - The London Concert LP
Recorded live at Cafe OTO in March 2009 during Otomo Yoshihide's first residency here. This was one of only a handful of solo piano performances Otomo has given where he uses the instrument as a control matrix for harmonically rich feedback tones and devastating clusters of complex noise. Vinyl sold out long ago, so pleased to share this as a download finally!
"For Otomo, the piano is a big box of potential sound. But since he’s an obsessive sort, he really digs into certain of its corners, and dig he does; when this record doesn’t sound like a gonzo feedback extravaganza, it sounds like he’s cutting through the side of the instrument with a hand-held saw. Whatever the means he used to make the piano sound like that, he’s laid utter waste to the instrument’s conventional sonic associations. There are plenty of people out there making pianos sound like something other than pianos, but I can’t think of anyone else doing it with so much punk spirit and so little reference to any familiar piano vocabulary." - Bill Meyer, Still Single
Otomo Yoshihide / piano
Recorded at Cafe OTO by Shane Brown. Mixed by John Chantler. Mastered by LUPO at Calyx Mastering.
Otomo Yoshihide – Piano Solo
The recordings of Gaelic Psalm singing presented in Salm: Gaelic Psalms from the Hebrides of Scotland are among the best ever captured. They document a living tradition, a form of religious singing from the Hebrides in Scotland, which is still practiced in Lewis. In Gaelic psalm singing, a precentor leads, and from here voices follow, moving together in great swells like the murmurations of birds. These recordings of Gaelic Psalm singing were originally made over two evenings in the Back Free Church on the Isle of Lewis in October 2003. The singing was spontaneous and totally unrehearsed. The recordings are now presented on vinyl for the first time by Arc Light Editions. This is music that is transcendent and together, about the individual and the earth, movingly spiritual with or without belief. The sound comes in great waves, swells of sound that break and roll around the space. The texture relies on the individuals: this is group singing where the individual is preserved, elevated, but together. A precentor leads off with the first lines of a psalm, and the congregation follows, some faster than others, and each one remains discernible. In his notes to the original release, Calum Martin writes that the form, called precenting (where one person puts out the line and the congregation responds) while not exclusive to Gaelic free church traditions, is in Lewis particularly influenced by the pibroch style of free ornamentation. It's through this, he says, that the distinctive emotional swell of sound emerges. The sound relies on the congregation's individual responses to the melody and the individual precentor's leading. The musical term is free heterophony. Arc Light Editions has worked directly with DR Macdonald at the Bethesda Hospice and Calum Martin on this release. A portion of the profits from this release go directly to Bethesda Hospice, in accordance with the original release. Comes in a kraftliner sleeve printed in white litho; Artwork by Jennifer Lucy Allan.
Salm: Gaelic Psalms from the Hebrides of Scotland, Volume One
Honest Jon's Records present Solo Guitar Volume 1, a reissue of Derek Bailey's Solo Guitar release on Incus in 1971, with additional tracks included on previous reissues and a performance at York University in 1972. Kicking off a series of collaborations between Honest Jon's Records and Incus: three double-LPs of the legendary free-improvising guitarist Derek Bailey, solo and in duos with Anthony Braxton (HJR 201LP) and Han Bennink (HJR 202LP), augmenting the original releases with marvelous, previously unissued music. Recorded in 1971, Solo Guitar Volume 1 was Bailey's first solo album. Its cover is an iconic montage of photos taken in the guitar shop where he worked. He and the photographer piled up the instruments whilst the proprietor was at lunch, with Bailey promptly sacked on his return. The LP was issued in two versions over the years -- Incus 2 and 2R -- with different groupings of free improvisations paired with Bailey's performances of notated pieces by his friends Misha Mengelberg, Gavin Bryars, and Willem Breuker. All this music is here, plus a superb solo performance at York University in 1972, a welcome shock at the end of an evening of notated music. It's a striking demonstration of the way Bailey rewrote the language of the guitar with endless inventiveness, intelligence, and wit. As throughout the series, the recordings are newly transferred from tape at Abbey Road, and remastered by Rashad Becker. The records are manufactured by Pallas.
Derek Bailey - Solo Guitar Volume 1 2LP
Peter Brötzmann: tenor saxophone; Fred Van Hove: piano; Han Bennink: drums, voice; Albert Mangelsdorff: trombone. Recorded during the Free Music Market, August 27 and 28, 1971, in Berlin. Designed by Peter Brötzmann. Part of the legendary "Berlin Trilogy" originally released by FMP in 1971 (FMP 0030). 180-gram vinyl. One-time pressing of 500. First standalone reissue."What reveals itself in the über energetics on display here is the ability of one quartet to take so much for granted and yet express so much in the process. Van Hove, for instance, shuns all conventions in his approach to the piano: he quotes Liszt and Schubert as well as Ellington and Peterson then wipes all of them out with his elbows as if erasing a chalkboard. His 'Florence Nightingale' is a perfect example. Texturally, he creates diversions from the fury while never disengaging from it. Brötzmann and Mangelsdorff are out and out challenging each other to see who can destroy their instruments first, and Han Bennick is the most proactive percussionist in jazz history. His use of anything and everything while simultaneously playing a trap kit that creates time is astonishing. Elsewhere, on Brötzmann's 'Elements,' African percussion and slow, long opened tonal drones by Mangelsdorff create a backdrop for the other two to explore without rushing in. Brötzmann enters almost tenderly, looking for a room to exit out of, but engaging himself in the microtonalities created by the rhythm section. Van Hove's long augmented chords create a mode for not opening but splintering that exit and Brötzmann ushers the band through in a hurry heading for the outer reaches of the possible. . . . one of the best documents of the period on any continent." --Thom Jurek, AllMusic, 1991
BROTZMANN/VAN HOVE/BENNINK PLUS ALBERT MANGELSDORFF - Elements LP