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David Toop

David Toop (born 1949) has been developing a practice that crosses boundaries of sound, listening, music and materials since 1970. This encompasses improvised music performance, writing, electronic sound, field recording, exhibition curating, sound art installations and opera. It includes seven acclaimed books, including Rap Attack (1984), Ocean of Sound (1995), Sinister Resonance (2010), Into the Maelstrom (2016) and forthcoming - Flutter Echo, a memoir first published in Japan in 2017 (May 2019) and Inflamed Invisible: Writing On Art and Sound 1976-2018 (2020). Briefly a member of David Cunningham’s pop project The Flying Lizards in 1979, he has released thirteen solo albums, from New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments on Brian Eno’s Obscure label (1975) and Sound Body on David Sylvian’s Samadhisound label (2006) to Entities Inertias Faint Beings (2016). His 1978 Amazonas recordings of Yanomami shamanism and ritual were released on Sub Rosa as Lost Shadows (2016). In recent years his collaborations include Rie Nakajima, Akio Suzuki, Tania Chen, John Butcher, Ken Ikeda, Elaine Mitchener, Henry Grimes, Sharon Gal, Camille Norment, Sidsel Endresen, Alasdair Roberts, Thurston Moore, Ryuichi Sakamoto and a revived Alterations, the iconoclastic improvising quartet with Steve Beresford, Peter Cusack and Terry Day first formed in 1977. Curator of sound art exhibitions including Sonic Boom at the Hayward Gallery (2000), his opera – Star-shaped Biscuit – was performed as an Aldeburgh Faster Than Sound project in 2012. He is currently Professor of Audio Culture and Improvisation at London College of Communication.

http://davidtoopblog.com/

Featured releases

"While the Coronavirous lockdown made many things impossible or infinitely more difficult and painful, it also opened up an unprecedented space to think, to reflect and to work in ways that the usual pressures deny.  On March 17th David Toop and Lucie Stepankova were due to play in a trio with Yifeat Ziv at Café Oto; then on April 9th they were also booked to play at Iklectik as a duo. Both gigs were cancelled, of course, because of the virus. In support of Iklectik, Lucie and David agreed to record a track together in the only way possible, by exchanging files and passing mixes back and forth across the aether. The feeling of working on this first track was positive so they decided to make a mini-album. One of the elements from the first track was a reading by Lucie of a passage from Kenya Hara’s book, On White, and this preoccupation with colour became a theme for the whole project. Other tracks were inspired by the writings of Hilma af Klint on mystical blue, Hokusai on shades of black, François Jullien on the six colours of Chinese ink and Cees Noteboom on the yellow/orange hue of a ceramic bowl.  Jullien wrote of a transition from ‘physical concretion to spirit dimension’, according to the dilution of the ink. This is how these tracks felt as they emerged between April and June of extraordinary times. When the album was finished it seemed fitting to offer it to Café Oto in a gesture of support and hopefulness for the future of London’s key venues.  David Toop and Lucie Stepankova have previously played in duos at Café Oto, Iklectik and at the Jhilava documentary film festival. They have also played in trios with Yifeat Ziv at Hundred Years Gallery, Tania Caroline Chen at Iklectik and John Butcher at Hangar Bicocca, Milan." - David & Lucie   David Toop and Lucie Stepankova - composition & mixing -- Dave Hunt - mastering Oliver Barret - artwork design

David Toop & Avsluta – On White, Indigo and Lamp Black

Never released before recordings from Logos Foundation live sessions in Brussels, on May 7, 1977. Toop and Burwell's association, which ran during the seventies, was a good mixture of musical decomposition through free improvisation, bioacoustics, environmental sound, raw musics, and anthropology. “When Paul Burwell and I started playing together just after Christmas, 1969, we found ourselves wrestling with a new language of sound, listening, actions, objects and space. At first it was music. We studied in the improvisation classes given by John Stevens at Ealing College in 1971-2, also took classes in African music at London's Africa Centre. Most of the musicians lasted only one or two sessions so we resigned ourselves to being a duo and worked out an approach to free improvisation that expanded from simple structures and instrument combinations. Decomposition, we called it. We had worked intensively together, searching for techniques through which to decondition ourselves from orthodoxies, devising exercises in listening and instrument building, studying esoteric organology, bioacoustics, environmental sound, raw musics and anthropology. We were both fascinated by phenomena like diffraction, propulsion, resonance, projection, masking and heterodyning, and by shamanism, the symbolically grounded agency of shamanic drums, animal-becoming and noisy costume, the shaman's capacity to enliven quotidian space with the commotion of discarnate audible entities from the spirit world. This recording is one of the very few that conveys anything of what we were about.” David Toop --- Paul Burwell David Toop --- Recorded 1977 --- Subrosa, 2018

David Toop, Paul Burwell – Suttle Sculpture

Forthcoming events

Saturday 31 July 2021

Thurston Moore / David Toop (duo)

SOLD OUT

Sunday 26 September 2021

John Butcher / Sharon Gal / David Toop (trio)

£16 £14 Advance £8 MEMBERS

Past events