COMING UP:

28 /29 / 30 MAY 2018

ANTHONY BRAXTON ZIM MUSIC – THREE DAY RESIDENCY

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.

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High quality reissue of Steve Lacy’s rare Japanese collaboration album Distant Voices. 180gr. vinyl and 4 page insert with liner notes by Julian Cowley. Thelonious Monk, Mal Waldron, Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd, Derek Bailey, Musica Elettronica Viva – saxophonist Steve Lacy played with them all. Renowned for remarkable solo concerts that confirmed his mastery of the soprano horn and that carried its instrumental language into previously unexplored regions, Lacy also loved to collaborate with musicians who could inspire him to stretch the boundaries of his own artistry. During the summer of 1975 Lacy toured Japan, and on June 24th he entered a Nippon Columbia studio in Tokyo with Yuji Takahashi and Takehisa Kosugi, two adventurous kindred spirits, guaranteed to fire Lacy’s creative imagination. The fascinating outcome of that dynamic session is Distant Voices, an album without parallel in Lacy’s extensive discography. Composer Iannis Xenakis was so impressed when he heard Yuji Takahashi playing piano in 1961 that he later wrote music especially for him. The Japanese virtuoso rose to that formidable challenge  and many others as he rapidly established himself as one of the foremost interpreters of contemporary composed music. His repertoire extends back to Bach and Purcell yet for Takahashi music has remained an open quest and a process of discovery. Takehisa Kosugi on the other hand has been a legendary figure in the international avant garde since the mid-1960s when his work was endorsed by the Fluxus movement. In Japan he was by then already well established as leading practitioner of experimental music and intermedia performance art. At the time Distant Voices was recorded Kosugi had also developed a following for his electric violin playing with the Taj Mahal Travellers, a group whose sound had strong stylistic affinities with psychedelic rock and space music. Subsequently other audiences worldwide came to know Kosugi through his long association as a composer, performer  and musical director with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. On 24th June 1975 Takahashi sat at a grand piano, with celeste and vibraphone alongside him and small bells attached to his hands. Kosugi was equipped with violin, flute, mouth organ, an electronic modulator, porcelain bowls and at times he used his voice. Lacy played soprano saxophone, of course. Now and then he pressed the mouth of the instrument against the skin of a kettle drum. He occasionally fiddled with a transistor radio, and also found uses for a stepladder, a toothbrush and a spinning wheel. This was in no sense a routine musical session. Distant Voices preserves a unique occasion when three singular musicians joined together to embrace the unknown. “Every performance is a questioning.” Yuji Takahashi Notes ° 4 page insert with liner notes by Julian Cowley° Remastered & Lacquer cut by Rashad Becker° Layout by Jeroen Wille° Licensed from Columbia Japan Tracklist A   Distant Voices         20:39B1 Flying Off                10:15B2 Midsummer Blues    7:18

In Tom Mudd's work, the conceptual and technological processes are paramount. For this particular release, both are embedded in the Gutter Synthesis algorithm and software which was created for and used in all six tracks. An inevitable consequence of this way of working is that masses of material can be created, which then requires both selection and editing. Once these decisions havetaken place a strange, apparently contradictory, perceptual shift takes place towards the material. The listener is confronted with complex, intense and emotionally charged musical events. This was not Tom Mudd’s intention as he’s not overtly concerned with personal expression. A deep interest in algorithmic computer processes is his guiding principal. Yet from this apparently cold approach to making music comes vivid, dramatic, sound art, packed with rich emotional layers that never operate at the level of the trite and illustrative. There is also a strong formal and structural quality to his pieces that allows, in the best possible sense, the listener to ‘immerse’ themselves in this challenging sound world. John Wall, London, December 2017Gutter Synthesis software Gutter synthesis is a purely digital synthesis process that creates very physical, acoustic-like sounds using a network of resonant Duffing oscillators. The software was created specifically for this project, and is included with the release as an equal part of the creative output. The downloadable version uses an interrelatedset of eight Duffing oscillators and associated filter banks.

"When I first listened to Terrain (Confront), we were in the midst of an unexpected second snow in North Carolina. There was something alien and unpredictable about this circumstance, and it seemed to suit this lovely recording from Graham Halliwell and Lee Patterson. Halliwell’s stunning saxophone feedback seems perfectly apposite here, a presence in motion beneath and amidst the distinct environments that Patterson (field recordings and amplified devices) generates. The disc is quite simply one of the richest things I’ve heard this year. Throughout much of this recording there’s a lovely rubbed glass effect which, to my ears at least, partially recalls Bernhard Günter’s contributions to +Minus. These are frosty, icy laminations, amidst which Halliwell seems to be working in an almost imperceptibly intervallic fashion. Occasionally there are slow pulses – almost like homing beacons – that seem to well up. This is especially effective on the opening track, where it ushers in a series of suggestive changes, from a passage of relative density to a distant rumble at the margins and some soft watery drips – it’s almost like being in some cocoon and floated downriver, with everything outside only barely audible. Some similar effect is achieved on the fourth and final selection here, which plumbs the depths in what sounds like a contact-miked bathysphere (or some reverberant frame drum). Yet elsewhere the music sounds somewhat more direct in its articulation. The second piece deals openly with stark contrast in both tonality and dynamic – an emphatic low buzz here, and there a distant feedback whine of crystals singing together, with midrange hum slowly snaking throughout. The third track reveals a beatific glow from within a gentle gauze covering, but there’s no Fenneszian slumber here; rather, the piece delivers some intriguing dissonances and even a few arch harmonic moves. I suppose it’s in the distance between amorphous sound and definite gesture that Halliwell’s and Patterson’s music takes shape. Unpredictable in its beauty, it seems to come and go, almost like the ripples left by rocks skipping over the surface of a pond. (Jason Bivins, Bagatellen) --- Lee Patterson / field recordings and amplified devices Graham Halliwell / saxophone feedback and processing --- Recorded July 2006.