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OTOroku Releases

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

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

Members of psychedelic Russian / Israeli collective Staraya Derevnya rarely get to perform live together, so it's with huge pleasure that we are uploading this one. After spending a week holed out in our Project Space, the group emerged to present 45 minutes of curious, home-brewed folk psych wonk made with objects, percussion, vocals and homemade instruments.  Live animated projection makes a large impact on each of their improvisations so be sure to check out the video of the night too."They play a kind of psychedelic folk with wind-up toys, shouting, buzzy sounds and with live animated drawings – out of some foggy scribble emerges a head, then a bug thing grows tentacles and sucks ectoplasm out of the head, then stuff starts spinning around and then a phoenix rises." - Lee Fisher, NARC magazine "Staraya Derevnya make bewitching music that seems impossible to place in terms of direction and intention, like climbing into a cab only to realise its not a cab at all." - TUSK --- Amos Ungar / dulcimer, sampler Danil Gertman / digital drawing Gosha Hniu / percussion, toys, cries and whispers Grundik Kasyansky / feedback synthesizer, objects Maya Pik / synthesizer, rocking chair, melodica Ran Nahmias / silent cello, theremin --- Lyrics by Arthur Molev. Mixed and mastered by Gosha Hniu from the original recording made by Shaun Crook. Filmed by Heliana Trovato, Sam Way,  Filippo Mira and Patrick Farrell. Video edited by Heliana Trovato. Huge thanks to Tsip Nahmias and to the wonderful people at Cafe OTO and Tusk Festival - this wouldn't have happened without you! http://www.starayaderevnya.co.uk

Staraya Derevnya - 13.10.17

Eleven songs for voice and lute by the Swiss singer and composer Marianne Schuppe. Schuppe is part of the Wandelweiser collective and is known for her interpretation of works by Morton Feldman. Using the voice and sustained e-bow, Schuppe presents her first Wandelweiser solo record - eleven ‘songs’ which deconstruct melody, diction, duration and timbre. Engaged in an element of drone, ‘slow songs’ is part folk, part chant, part landscape - a stand out record in the Wandelweiser catalogue.  "The richness and detail that other artists appearing on Wandelweiser achieve with complex harmony is here achieved with a single note. This can clearly be heard by comparing the two versions of the songs ‘key’ and ‘pretty ride’: while the two versions are in different keys, the insides of the notes are also a whole different story." - Fluid Radio --- I see a deerI see a deer in a shield behind the trees in my sighthe is simplynot to be here with my kindwondering to bejust betweenon his shoulder he carries some lightwith an openingI haven't seenhim for long on his chairon his Hochsitzeven though it ispouring away some rain towipe out the writings in timecables go throughno rare earth to lure himsome batteries are with some risksome gazellas are with shieldsas one colouris amendedhe is standing kind ofhungry  --- Marianne Schuppe / voice, lute --- Recorded: August 26-28th, 2015, Le Puid, France by Willy Daum. e-bows by Peter Vittali. Mixed and mastered by Willy Daum. Special thanks to Peter Vittali and Antoine Beuger

Marianne Schuppe - Slow Songs

Three works - two for large ensembles of performers on sax, guitar, clarinet, voice, percussion, horn, flute, vibes, and objects that belie the size of the group in its fragile presences, with a shorter trio of Frey, Greg Stuart and Erik Carlson transitioning the large pieces; compositions conceived as both short presences within abundant orchestration.  We tend to connect the aspect of structure with safety and stability;the ephemeral, in contrast, in something uncertain and fleeting, something not easy to grasp. thus structure and ephemerality seem to be opposites. in a musical work, though, the can coexist equivalently.one on the one hand, the sum of constructive processes and clear formal decisions leads to a clear architecture.consistently taking it into spheres of lightness and evanescence.the persuasive, coercing power immanent to structure must be avoided. structure then becomes fragile and permeable, allowing the ephemeral to unfold its presence, and, in this presence, to evoke a gleam of permanence.a substantial part of my work takes place in this intermediate zone.a structure hardly touched gives rise to a music that simply wants sensation. a breeze, light and shadow,spaces of colour, a glimpse, a landscape. - Jürg Frey, sketchbook, 2007. ---  University Of South Carolina Emperimental Music Workshop Ensemble are: Jürg Frey / clarinetPhilip Snyder / fluteRachel Whelan / flute, pianoJames Easteppe / guitarJohn Kammerer / hornBailey Seabury / percussionBrian Bethea / saxophoneGreg Stuart / vibraphone, percussionErik Carlson / violinNikil Sairam / violinLogan McLean / voiceMichael Halbrook / objectsAJ Karp / objectsBrooke Rosenberg / objectsChris Ruggiero / objectsDrake Strobel / objectsEric Dennis / objectsJessica Russell / objectsKallam Ashmore / objectsLauren Phillips / objectsMichael Halbrook / objectsNeil Thomas / objectsOlivia Smithson / objects --- Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jeff Francis at Columbia, SC, April 2016. Made possible by a grant from SC honours college through generous support of jeannette and marshall winn ’74.

Jürg Frey ‎– Ephemeral Constructions

The King is Chaines’ commanding return to Slip: a claustrophobic, dank book of abstracted torch songs, festering in an uneasy grandeur. The LP collects work diligently amassed in the 3 years since the British composer/producer’s Slip debut ‘OST’, which housed contributions from ‘cellist Oliver Coates and artist Mary Stark within melancholic, uncannily tactile productions. The intervening period has seen Chaines collaborate extensively with the London Contemporary Orchestra, with commissions performed at The Roundhouse, Union Chapel, Printworks, and Tate Modern. The King sees Chaines’ eccentric, singular language grasp a fresh immediacy and emotive potency. Chaines’ voice is more present than ever – creepy, seductive and pained on the Scott-Walker-does-ASMR of “Eraserhead”, and diva-ghost of “Population 5120” – and their arrangements dissolve the symphonic into freakish forms – “Carpathia” and “Knockturning” spike pastoral organs and flutes with industrial menace and convulsing beatwork. "Three years ago, Chaines’s debut OST, featuring Oliver Coates on cello and the voice of Mary Stark, was an early jewel in the crown of the imprint. The King represents the sum of Manchester based composer/producer Cee Haines’s work since. And what a piece of work it is. Heaving and shimmering with the strings and winds of The London Contemporary Orchestra, slaphappy with its own electronic convolutions and twisted rhythmatics, vast in scope, rich in execution. The King could stand its own in any royal rumble." - The Wire

Chaines - The King

OST [SLP017], the staggering solo debut from British musician Caroline Haines, AKA Chaines, gathers studio realisations of three commissions completed since 2013’s SPLIT, with Tom Rose. Though written for specific occasions, the pieces are united by a sense of uneasy melodrama, and hallucinogenic flow. Lead cut ‘OST’ is a 20-minute epic written in collaboration with visual artist Mary Stark (vocals) where cartoonish, Rammstein-style aggression, plaintive guitar lines, and clunking glitch form an impish portrait of the UK’s north-eastern industry. But ‘OST’ is also a sincere love-letter to analogue film, with plush orchestral samples, and Stark’s disembodied voice tenderly blooming from the rubble.  'OST'’s remaining works frame its centrepiece. ‘Here’ - written for Laurie Tompkins’ 2013 Handy tour - is a whistled ode to twilight inebriation, accompanied by faint keys, revving cars, and Badalamenti synths.  On ‘I Found This’, Chaines’ warbled melodies merge with Oliver Coates’ muted cello, offset by tickling percussion and recorder chorales. Though OST operates in a place entirely its own, it is perhaps best compared with the work of similarly iconoclastic contemporaries such as Elysia Crampton, Mica Levi, and Dean Blunt. --- Tracklisting: 1. Here - 5:052. OST1 - 7:243. OST2 - 3:154. OST3 - 10:045. I Found This - 5:44 --- Mastered by Rupert Clervaux

Chaines - OST

'Ample Profanity' is composer Laurie Tompkins and cellist Oliver Coates' collaborative debut: coagulated gristle surfacing from a Beal, Brooklyn-brown, Ray V, Bangs, GAN, Rugs and Works acid bath. The EP collects 5 pieces composed by Laurie and then co-edited and performed with Olly. The former plays keys, tape player, and samples, the latter cello with effects. Both sing.  Here is grazed, contorted classicism, here post-binge hallucinations, here gunky funk.  "I met [Laurie] when I was 16, at school. I don’t know where along the way he’s found that he can make a piece out of flower pots and shouting, and it can be genuinely moving. With Laurie, there’s this thing with Netflix culture and tropes in the promotion of electronic dance music. Like, “you must all listen to footwork now” because they market that at you. Ample Profanity is all about awkward juxtapositions: bits of music from House Of Cards coupled with RP Boo. That’s the headspace he’s in and he’s trying to articulate these as cello rhythms. I find that really satisfying. It looks really spidery and architectural on the page. You’ve got to repeat it 17 times and then shout the next thing, so it’s absurdly difficult to play. To play it physically, the energy of playing it, that’s why I do it." - Oliver Coates, The Wire, September 2018. --- Laurie Tompkins / vocals, keys, tape player, samples Oliver Coates / vocals, cello, effects --- Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Artwork by Laurie Tompkins and Suze Whaites.

Laurie & Olly - Ample Profanity

After a successful tour supporting The Hour of the Star, the group's remarkable 2011 debut for Leo Records, Perelman decided to explore his relationship with each member of the unit in more intimate settings. Having worked with Matt Shipp and Gerald Cleaver on Family Ties (LR 630) Ivo Perelman continues to explore his relationship with each member of his quartet in a slightly different setting.  "This is more free than the previous album; yes, I agree with that. I think because Matthew is such a wonderful musician, and he has this antenna; and because Gerald can go any way the music goes...Since the piano is a harmonic instrument you would think it would limit the choices, but with Matthew it does not. And when I do venture out of tonal Western music, into noises and microtones, this doesn't scare him; he takes it as an opportunity to expand the music." - Ivo Perelman "The Foreign Legion is Perelman's eighth record named in honor of one of Clarice Lispector's novels. Emboldened by the stellar contributions of his empathetic sidemen, the leader's cathartic performances transpose the Brazilian author's emotionally charged narratives into pure sonic expression, continuing his fertile exploration of a vibrant new tradition." All About Jazz --- Ivo Perelman / tenor sax Matt Shipp / piano Gerald Cleaver / drums --- Recorded, mixed and mastered at Park West studios, Brooklyn, NY, December 2011.

Perelman / Shipp / Cleaver - The Foreign Legion

"Oxley and Bailey first played together in 1963. Although they come from the same city and share the same kind of background their meeting was, in a way, coincidental. Bailey - 10 years older than Oxley - after some years working away from their hometown, returned for what was initially intended to be a brief family visit. The musical situation he found there persuaded him to stay. Oxley and Bailey then worked together, continuously and intensively, for the next three years and developed, with Gavin Bryars who was then a bass player, their own particular approach to free improvisation. Since 1966, their working relationship, although intermittent, has continued in a multitude of different playing situations. Initially, during the late 60's and early 70's, much of it was in the context of Tony Oxley's small groups - quartet, quintet and sextet. From the late 70's on, it would sometimes be within Derek Bailey's improvisor's ensemble, Company. Throughout, and increasingly in the 1990's, they have played in duo. These recordings, a London studio recording made in 1977, and a concert recorded in New York 1995, are testament to the remarkable richness and sustained variety of their musical relationship." - Simon Kelly --- Derek Bailey / electric & acoustic guitars Tony Oxley / acoustic & electric percussion, violin --- Tracks 1-4: Recorded in Soho, London in February 1977 by Kevin Spencer. Tracks 5-10: Recorded at the Knitting Factory, NYC in September 1995 by James Mclean. PPhotographs of Derek Bailey &  Tony Oxley in concert (France, May, 1997) by Franz-Heinrich Busch. Post Production & design by Karen Brookman.

Derek Bailey & Tony Oxley - Soho Suites

Two concerts of experimental improvisation from Eddie Prevost and Christian Wolff, two giants of conceptual improvisation and composition, recorded at Ikletick in London in 2015 and at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire in 2016; with superb pacing and brilliant execution, these dialogs between keyboard and percussive instruments explore unique sound worlds with depth, inquisitiveness, and a sense of wonder. "The set documents two concerts - 1, recorded at Iklectik in London in September 2015, is in two parts, 37 and 18 minutes in length; 2, recorded at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, in July 2016 is a singular 50-minute piece. Each musician restricts himself to a relative narrow palate. Prévost uses a bass drum as both drum and resonator and explores bowing and scraping cymbals for sustained metallic sounds, with very rare eruptions of multiple sounds. Wolff plays piano with even greater delicacy, from isolated sustained tones, alternated intervals, subtle use of plucked strings and minimal preparation and an occasional brief melodic figure. A keyboard wind instrument, perhaps a melodica, arises brieflyin both concerts." - Free Jazz Collective --- Eddie Prévost / percussion Christian Wollf /piano --- Artwork by Myah Chun Grierson. Edited and mastered by Giovani La Rovere and Rupert Clervaux. Recorded by Giovani La Rovere and Sangwook Nam. 

Christian Wolff & Eddie Prévost - Uncertain Outcomes

Complete audio recordings of Evan Parker, John Edwards and Eddie Prévost's May 2013 residency at Cafe OTO.  --- Evan Parker / tenor saxophone John Edwards / double bass Edwin (Eddie) Prévost / drums Alexander von Schlippenbach / piano Christof Thewes / trombone --- "Given the different line-ups and the inclusion of both sets from each of three nights, the listener is presented with the chance to hear the music exposed and developing in many dimensions. Not only can each player be heard by himself and in shifting combinations - duet, trio or quartet - with the others, but the progression in mood and approach across an entire evening can be clearly appreciated. This is particularly marked on the second disc, where the careful exploration of the first set is succeded by the all-in surge of the second, which begins as if the four are resuming an interruped conversation. From the first night to the last, the music played over these three nights is of the highest quality. What can't be captured in the discs, but should never be underestimated, is the presence of listeners whose attentiveness cleared and charged the space in which the performers could do their work of creating a music as delicate in its inner workings as it is robust in its insistance on building for itself, night after night, a world without walls." - Richard Williams. --- Audio recorded by Giovanni LaRovere. Mastered by Rupert Clervaux. 

3 Nights at Cafe OTO

"Alan Wilkinson’s best known for his work with the high-energy Hession-Wilkinson-Fell trio. His discography includes just two duets, both with guitar players, but anyone who can stand up to both Derek Bailey and Stefan Jaworzyn comes out of a large and resource-rich bag. He is by far the most energy-oriented player to join Prévost in this particular ring, but the latter’s overriding determination to play exactly what the music of the moment requires serves him well here. Despite what I said a moment, ago, don’t get the idea that there’s any sparring going on here; while Wilkinson hits hard on both alto and baritone sax, this is a record where the two men work together, not against each other. Each is respectful of the other’s individuality and ability. Wilkinson does contribute some feral blowing; his unbridled snorts and whinnies on the title track are positively Ayleresque in their dimensions. But Prévost’s contributions take the music to a different place, unstable yet completely assured. His work in AMM has labeled him a percussionist, and rightly so, but listen to “Supa, Supa;” with its shuffling high-hat and dancing brushes – this is idiomatically aware jazz drumming of a very high order. Some of the best music occurs when they bring things down. On the lengthy and languorous “For Marlene,” baritone first sings quietly and then bubbles while toms rumble; a melody winds and twists whilst discovering itself in empty space. Exquisite." - Bill Meyer, Dusted Magazine --- Eddie Prévost / drums Alan Wilkinson / alto & baritone saxophones --- Recorded at Barefoot Studios, London, on 10th January 2006, by Mark Richie. Front cover by Gina Southgate.

Eddie Prévost / Alan Wilkinson - So Are We, So Are We

"Below a shuffling cabasa-like rhythm, a pair of taut drum patterns is punctuated by swirling electronic crackle and a deep bass drop. Slowly and almost imperceptibly, layers of spongy beats accumulate until they’re wiped out dub-style by an echoing sonar moan that suspends the track in a dark and undulating aquatic reverie, a lull broken by jittery bass tones and reverberant knocks that surge into an intricate percussive maelstrom. Jake Meginsky’s music is distinctly low end and percussive. While nodding to minimal house, dub, and noise, Meginsky’s electronica bears ample evidence of his apprenticeship with fiery avant-jazz percussionist Milford Graves and his training in West African djun djun and djembe. There’s nothing rigid or mechanical here. On the contrary, Meginsky’s rhythmic sensibility is supple and flexible – rumbling, fluttering, and bouncing in elastic configurations of enchanting complexity. All rhythm and squall, the pieces on Vandals can’t be called “songs”; but they’re too non-linear to be called “tracks” and too structurally unpredictable to be “compositions.” Rather, Meginsky builds little electronic ecosystems that seem to breed sounds in all their timbral and textural diversity, and to observe what results as they ally and skirmish with one another." - Christoph Cox --- Jake Meginsky / electronics --- Recorded April 2015 . Additional mixing at sonelab by Justin Pizzoferrato. Mastered by Carl Saff. 

Jake Meginsky - Vandals

"Debut LP from Meginsky. Subterranean, nearly-inaudible restraint and a rushing, stuttering throb rule the night on this record. Its electric moods are so resolutely alien they suggest worlds unknown rather than create them. Irregular heartbeat thumps are set against high end atmospheres explored in microscopic detail. Haunting overlays of tones fluctuate and tremble, and not one moment feels forced. The music is meticulously constructed and consistently surprising. The electronics spin away, shooting off into bizarre and unexpected territory, and all the while Meginsky guides them with a benevolent, confident, endlessly fascinating hand. To hear him tell it, the record is 'a document of me looking for the experience I have not yet had, and maybe will never have. This is where the title comes from. The pull of the void.' Natural phenomena, like fog or mist, tend to render the environment and one's ability to see it nearly impossible, and if you tilt your head back like you have a nosebleed there is always the fear that the sun might set sooner. When you stop in a secret place there is no need to talk. These are streets full of sullen languid violence and grey phantoms." -- Matt Krefting Holyoke, MA May 2014 "By its closing track the album is in a state of malfunction, with rhythms splintering and disintegrating, peppered with fizzing tonal clusters and static blasts which sound more like Voice Crack than anything you’d expect to hear on a dancefloor." The Wire "All electronics, almost all smooth and clean sounds chosen, it references beat-driven styles with seemingly regular rhythms, but they're overlaid in non-obvious patterns and use very different textures, resulting in a fine sense of space where the relative absence of grit and inexactitude don't bother me nearly as much as is often the case in work I've heard that's tangentially related" Brian Olewnick --- Jake Meginsky / electronics --- Artwork by Bill Nace. Mastered by Mark Allen Miller. 

Jake Meginsky - L'Appel du Vide

Gates And Variations rounds out a loose trilogy of records by Jake Meginsky for Open Mouth. Not an intended trilogy on Jakes part but it has become one to my mind. It has come to be how I listen to them and experience them, all informing each other, echoing and challenging each other and growing into each other's space and light like a garden of plants that would never actually coexist anywhere in reality. Jake is always tirelessly reaching for something new yet I'd avoid using the word progression here. It instead feels to me like the last piece of a puzzle, or of a world created by some Jack Kirby demigod. Something has been completed and now all the pieces are interchangeable. The first can go last. The middle can be first. The whole thing becoming a universe looping in on itself with a multitude of entry points and not a lot of exits. These are dense environments where sections can move from microscopic to macroscopic, day to night and back again, so effortlessly that it's hard to tell if it's intended or if something imperceptible within you shifted the locus of your perception. But it is all very intentional, something carefully carved to give the feeling of something, though unfamiliar and strange, organic and grown. There's a sense of danger here like warning transmissions, concussive roiling rhythms and jagged disturbances. Yet also clear straight lines giving way to enveloping curve and staggering beauty. Supplant the beginning with the end with the beginning." --Bill Nace, Philadelphia, PA, September 2017.

Jake Meginsky - Gates & Variations

Grip, Denzler and Johansson, respectively in their early thirties, early fifties and early seventies, found each other through the intertwining scenes between Paris and Berlin. When taking a look at their previous musical activities you will get an exquisite account of the contemporary history of experimental improvised musics (yes, plural!) in Europe. It is a dense heritage in service of forming a new model for a creative process. Emerged through the questioning of methods, Neuköllner Modelle combine bipolar procedures in creating something which could be likened with a retarding ballad of the insistent up-tempo murmur accelerating in the backdrop-world of today. "Neuköllner Modelle is a gathering of musical ideas which function really good together. Our instruments and unique way of handling them formed the model serving the creation of Neuköllner Modelle. First there was an idea of the music, then there was the band. Our language is individually different and slowly changing, therefore we have something to say when we play. We are common in being different. A common thought is sometimes more reducing than a dissident. Anyway, without tension or friction, no music. In my music these opposing elements are of great importance. "Sektion 1-2" is an ambitious production in the sense that we have made (and make) our best to make it reflect the first idea we had. The questions of our age-differencies are not so interesting for me. It is more of an obvious and natural fact. What is more sad, maybe, is that not so many musicians today work across the invisible generational borders.'' Joel Grip, interviewed on the Free Jazz Blog "Pairing Denzler, a musician with an astute approach to minimalist saxophone (check out Tenor (Potlatch, 2012)), with Grip, a collocating musician who ties many disparate European improvisational forms together, and Johansson, the Swiss army knife (although he is Swedish) of drummers, is a genius amalgam of musicians." - All About Jazz --- Bertrand Denzler / saxophone Joel Grip / double bassSven-Åke Johansson / drums --- Recorded by Andrew Levine at Sowieso, Berlin, November 2015. Mastered by Werner Dafeldecker. Cover design by Teresa Iten. Notes by Bastian Zimmermann. Produced with the support from The Swedish Art Council.

Neuköllner Modelle - Sektion 1 - 2

The 14 musicians of UMLAUT BIG BAND, mostly from the new jazz guard (Un Poco Loco, ONJ, Duke Orchestra) and European improvisation (Hochstapler, Peeping Tom, Bribes 4, White Desert Orchestra, ONCEIM), have been celebrating together since 2011 the golden age of swing in the tradition of big band orchestras, whether mythical or unfairly forgotten. In EURO SWING VOL. 2 , the Umlaut Big Band documents another history of jazz in Europe between 1925 and 1940: that of American smugglers. While a first part, "Euro Swing" (Umlaut Records, 2015), was interested in European composers and arrangers, this new opus focuses on the work of American musicians on the old continent. The aim is to shed light on the role of smugglers such as Benny Carter, Duke Ellington, Sam Wooding, Willie Lewis and Fud Livingston, who have been able to play across Europe. Always in search of a surprising and sharp repertoire of music, the Umlaut Big Band exhumes again beautiful treasures forgotten. --- The Umlaut Big Band are: Pierre-Antoine Badaroux / direction and saxophone alto Antonin-Tri Hoang / saxophone alto, clarinet Geoffroy Gesser / saxophone tenor and clarinet Jean Dousteyssier / saxophone tenor and clarinet Benjamin Dousteyssier / saxophone alto and baryton  Brice Pichard, Louis Laurain, Emil Strandberg / trumpet Fidel Fourneyron, Michaël Ballue, Nicolas Grymonprez / trombone Romain Vuillemin / guitarBruno Ruder / piano Sébastien Beliah / bass Antonin Gerbal / drums --- Recorded 23-27.02.2015, at the Luisant, Germigny-L'Exempt by Ken Yoshida. 

Umlaut Big Band - Euro Swing Vol 2

One of the best records of 2017 for sure. 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. --- Joel Grip / bass Antonin Gerbal / drums Pat Thomas / piano Seymour Wright / saxophone --- Recorded live at Hagenfesten in Dala-Floda, Sweden, August 6, 2016 by Arve Birkeland. Mixed at Studio206.de by Patrick Petzold Photography and design by Sven-Åke Johansson. Produced by Joel Grip and Seymour Wright. Sleeve notes by Robert Levin. 

أحمد Ahmed - New Jazz Imagination

After meticulous historical research and recording transcriptions, Pierre-Antoine Badaroux and his orchestra built a new repertoire based on the work of European musicians who discovered and took over jazz - specifically between (1925-1940). These tracks give us a take on the story of the birth of jazz in this new territory at a very special time, and brings to life a music that made history. "Compositions from USSR, Spain or Tchekoslovakia are to be discovered! And maybe, among many others, you will re- discover the swing touch from the British pianist Jack Hylton, the Belgian saxophonist Fud Candrix or Léo Vauchant the French and then Californian trombonist." "The talented and festive 14 musicians of UMLAUT BIG BAND, coming from the new jazz scene (ONJ) and/or from the European improvisation avant-garde (Peeping Tom, Zoor), gathered in 2011 to celebrate with its ecstatic audience the energy of the good ol’ swing bands." --- The Umlaut Big Band are: Pierre-Antoine Badaroux / direction and saxophone alto  Antonin-Tri Hoang / saxophone alto, clarinet Geoffroy Gesser / saxophone tenor and clarinet Jean Dousteyssier / saxophone tenor and clarinet Benjamin Dousteyssier / saxophone alto and baryton  Brice Pichard, Louis Laurain, Emil Strandberg / trumpet Fidel Fourneyron, Michaël Ballue, Nicolas Grymonprez / trombone Romain Vuillemin / guitarBruno Ruder / piano Sébastien Beliah / bass Antonin Gerbal / drums --- Recorded on the 23-27 February, 2015 at Le Luisant, Germigny-L’Exempt. Mixed and mastered by Ken Yoshida. Design by Sven-Åke Johansson et Dominique Hamot.

Umlaut Big Band - Euroswing No. 1

Debut of the now classic duo of Corsano & McPhee, recorded at Les Instants Chavirés. “With a career now spanning over 40 years and more than 100 recordings, Joe McPhee has shown that emotional content and theoretical underpinnings are thoroughly compatible — and in fact, a critically important pairing — in the world of creative improvised music. Since recording The Hated Music with Paul Flaherty in 2000, Chris Corsano has been hyper-active in far-reaching corners of the free improvised world. Under A Double Moon, recorded live in Paris during a spring 2010 tour of Europe, is their first album together (and, given how phenomenally simpatico a partnership they’ve forged, we hope it’s not the last).” “Both Corsano and McPhee share an autodidactic approach to jazz, using anything from thriftstore miscellany to customised electronics to explain the white heat of their creativity. Both have almost unquantifiable discographies that extend well beyond the confines of ‘jazz’; McPhee studied Deep Listening techniques with Pauline Oliveros and Corsano has sparred with everyone from Jim O’Rourke to Björk. Both have lived in Europe, enjoying the hospitality extended to innumerable US free jazz expats that had eluded them in their native terrain. Most impressively, both are lavishly gifted musicians. If McPhee’s 1969 album, Underground Railroad, represented a watershed in high velocity, second generation free blowing, then Corsano’s debut with Paul Flaherty, The Hated Music, saw the drummer pick up the baton, skewer a bouncing ball with it and rub it against a cymbal until it sang like a sea lion. Suffice to say Under A Double Moon goes beyond the scorched-earth Fire Music you might expect. The two long tracks that comprise side one, “Dark Matter: Parts 1 And 2”, shows Corsano at his most flexible as he switches from gamelan-inflected tuned percussion to subtle brushwork to omnivorous hard bop, providing a multiplicity of textures for McPhee’s assorted reeds. McPhee is dominant in the mix, which can obscure the sheer multi-dimensionality of Corsano’s drumming, but both players leave ample room for the other to solo. In fact, both use silence like a weapon – loading the pauses with dramatic intent before unleashing another blizzard of ideas. “For Giuseppe Logan” is an exuberant tribute to the underrated ESP-Disk alto player and is probably the most melodically engaging piece, while album closer “In Lieu Of Flowers” is a beautifully ponderous, starspangled soprano workout that shows yet another dimension to their repertoire. This is an intricately detailed set by two titanic players, spanning two generations. The fire ain’t out yet, baby.” – Alex Neilson, The Wire

Joe McPhee & Chris Corsano - Under A Double Moon

Paul Metzger continues to pile up the plaudits from critics and peers alike for his virtuosic string-slinging, gaining notice through his CD on Chairkickers and his split LP with Ben Chasny and Chris Corsano on Roaratorio. Metzger’s modified banjo is tricked out with additional sympathetic raga strings, although the compositions onGedanken Splitter are informed by much more than Eastern drone music alone. Recorded in the same period as 2007’s Deliverance on Locust Music, this is a more jagged and aggressive (although no less accessible) affair. Metzger winds these improvisations around thornier threads than on his previous releases, and while never turning completely abstract, Gedanken Splittermoves even further away from anything resembling typical banjo fare. This is mesmerizing and singular playing.“Gedanken Splitter is ferocious, frantic, yet entirely on-course — easily Metzger’s most aggressive waxing yet.” – Bill Meyer, Signal To Noise “Metzger’s furious banjo virtuoso returns for another perplexing, yet rewarding set of avant-tantrums. Taking on percussive qualities as well as sounding like a mutation of sitar, steel acoustic, and banjo just, he’s restrung and modified his instrument to take on tasks it was never designed for, so his composition accounts for what he’s allowed himself to do as much as where his head is to bring it across. Since nobody else has ever written for this variation of the instrument before, a lot of what you hear on Metzger’s recordings takes this innovation into account, tempering clawhammer playing styles with what he’s been able to create outside of it, applying an atonal, clashing chord structure across prickly rhythmic playing. Use of space seems to be frowned upon, and few notes are allowed to ring out as Metzger thrashes away at his monstrosity, playing in uncharted territory and shaking up the audience in the process. Engaging but quite uneasy.” – Doug Mosurock, Dusted “If Paul Metzger’s last album Deliverance evinced his yearning to free the banjo from the shackles of convention, Gedanken Splitter shows what comes after the chains hit the earth… Metzger’s attack is unmatched in the new American Primitive camp.” – Bill Meyer, The Wire “His music can remind you of a raga with its long introductory sections and spiraling modal fretwork, or suggest a careening detuned front porch blues, but it’s often hard to relate what he’s doing to any familiar musical style.” – Clifford Allen, Signal To Noise “A stellar little record” – Patrick Marley, Bixobal --- Paul Metzger / banjo, guitar --- Recorded by Dave Onnen. 

Paul Metzger - Gedanken Splitter

The Al Maslakh label (translation: The Slaughterhouse) has been documenting far-thinking sounds from the small but vital Lebanese scene since 2005. The “A” Trio’s first release, Music To Our Ears, was one of the most startling debuts of 2011; now, Roaratorio is proud to present their second album (and first vinyl release): Live In Nickelsdorf, recorded at the Konfrontationen Festival in 2012. While far from the first to employ extended techniques on their respective instruments, Mazen Kerbaj (trumpet), Sharif Sehnaoui (acoustic guitar), and Raed Yassin (doublebass) create a music that bears little relation to others who traffic in the same outer realms. Heavily textural, frequently perplexing, sometimes unsettling but always suffused with a provocative intelligence, this is the sound of a collective ur-mind that favors the long gesture over pointillistic strokes. Their capacity for generating aural illusions – one would be hard-pressed to identify the instrumentation as three acoustic instruments, with no electronics or overdubs whatsoever – is astounding, but it’s their skill at harnessing these uncanny tones into a consistently engaging and powerful sound-world that elevates the “A” Trio into the front rank of contemporary improvisational groups.  “Having taken their exploration of acoustic extended techniques even further on again from their 2010 debut, so little remains of the traditional sound of trumpet, guitar and double bass that it feels like the relevant traditions have been passed through a mincing machine. It’s so oppressive and frequently unnerving in its insistent and uncompromising intensity that when traditional instrument sounds do poke their heads up through the subterranean grittiness, they serve as a reminder of how remarkable the trio’s unedited, overdub-free approach really is.” – Richard Pinnell, The Wire --- Sharif Sehnaoui / acoustic gutarRaed Yassin / double bassMazen Kerbaj / trumpet --- Recorded live at the Jazzgalerie Nickelsdorf on Saturday 21st of July 2012 during the 33rd Konfrontationen Festival. Photography by Tanya Traboulsi. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Michael W. Huon.

"A" Trio - Live In Nickelsdorf

In 1976, Joe McPhee recorded the landmark album Tenor, kicking off a solo period of finding and refining the distinctive voice that continues to inform his music to this day. Solos : The Lost Tapes (1980 – 1981 – 1984) is a collection of material from McPhee’s personal archives that shines new light on the legendary multi-instrumentalist’s work during this time. “Wind Cycles,” for tenor saxophone, explores the permutations of breath on reed and brass, from quiet whispers to full-throated cries and back again. With “The Redwood Rag,” McPhee takes a jaunty melody and gives it a swinging workout with Steve Lacy-like precision. The free-blowing alto excursion “Ice Blu” is, in McPhee’s words, “a sound which evokes an image, which asks a question ‘What is that?’ and the answer is, a sound which evokes an image which asks a question.” “Voices,” one of his signature compositions, gets a particularly haunting treatment here on soprano, with McPhee incorporating various electronics to mesmerizing effect. All together, Solos : The Lost Tapes (1980 – 1981 – 1984) is the distilled essence of one of the most important creative improvising musicians of our time. “Whether it’s amplifying keypad pops or finding harmonics that split his notes into a mass of complex, unfurling tones, he gets you with a feeling as well as a sound… Although McPhee’s music is without compromise, he’s always struck me an excellent gateway figure for people trying to get a handle on free improvisation because the connections between his confrontational and approachable sides is never too hard to find.” – Bill Meyer, Still Single --- Joe McPhee / saxophones, electronics --- Artwork by Judith Lindbloom 

Joe McPhee - Solo : The Lost Tapes (1980 - 1981 - 1984)

"These rehearsal tapes are anything but demo recordings. They are the building blocks for live performances, extended arranged samples. Sun Ra's constant rehearsals were more than just practice. The music here is meditative, soul nurturing medicine." - Mark Corroto, All About Jazz One might think, with a discography as extensive as the one Sun Ra boasts, that the scope of his work has been fully apprehended by this point, but The Intergalactic Thing demonstrates its seemingly bottomless depths. This is not a complete surprise: anyone who saw Ra and the Arkestra perform will remember the sight of the band quickly shuffling through an imposingly thick stack of sheet music, when Sunny would call the next tune on the program with an encrypted hint on his keyboard. Band members tell stories of spending long hours practicing a newly-written composition, only to never play it again. Here, we have a taste of what’s been hidden: drawn from rehearsals at the Sun Ra house in Philadelphia from 1969, The Intergalactic Thing introduces a dozen never-before-heard pieces from Ra’s songbook – tunes that may have never even made it to the bandstand, let alone the recording studio – along with a handful of reworkings of such Ra classics as “Spontaneous Simplicity” and “The Exotic Forest.” Without a doubt, this is one of the most important augmentations to the Sun Ra catalog in many a moon.  --- Danny Davis / saxophone, flute, percussionMarshall Allen / saxophone, oboe, flute, percussionDanny Ray Thompson / saxophone, percussionAlex Blake / bassKeno Speller / congasRashid Salim IV / congasLex Humphries / drumsNimrod Hunt / drumsSun Ra / organ, clavinetJames Jacson / percussionCharles Stephens / trombone, percussionAkh Tal Ebah / percussion, trumpet, mellophone --- Recorded August - November 1969, Sun Studios, Philadelphia, PA

Sun Ra & His Astro-Ihnfinity Arkestra - The Intergalactic Thing

Roaratorio’s survey of the unheard Sun Ra continues with Sun Embassy. Consisting of recordings from Sun Studios (aka Ra’s house in Philadelphia) from 1968-1969, the album features nine tracks : six compositions which have never been heard before in any form, plus fresh coats of paint on such 1950s classics as “Sunology” and “Ancient Aiethiopia,” and an early rendition of “Why Go To The Moon?”. Essential listening for Sun Ra devotees. --- Danny Davis / alto saxophone (tracks: A1, A3, A4, B2, B4, B5) flute (tracks: B1, B2)Marshall Allen / alto saxophone (tracks: A1, A3, A4, B2-B5) flute (tracks: A1, A4, B1, B2) piccolo flute (tracks: B4, B5)Ronnie Boykins / bassDanny Ray Thompson / bongos, flute (tracks: B1)John Gilmore / clarinet, tenor saxophone (tracks: A3, A4, B2-B5)Sun Ra / clavinet (tracks: A2, A4) organ (tracks: A3, B1, B3-B5) space master (tracks: B2)Carl Malone aka Nimrod Hunt / congas (tracks: B1)Lex Humphries / drums (tracks: A1, A3, B4, B5) Charles Stevens / trombone (tracks: A4)Walter Miller / trumpet (tracks: B2) --- "The Stranger" recorded 1968-05-14."Dance of Fire" and "Cosmic Strut" recorded 1968-06-21."Why Go To The Moon?" and "Ancient Aethiopia" recorded 1968-08-08."Walk Around Saturn" recorded 1969-06-28."My Reality Is Real," "Sun Embassy," and "Sunology" recorded 1969-10-21. Produced by Michael D. Anderson. Artwork by Emily Kaplan. Recorded at Sun Studios 1968-69)

Sun Ra & His Astro-Ihnfinity Arkestra - Sun Embassy

Still Light, Outside is the fourth album by John Chantler, and one which marks his departure from London and his relocation to Sweden. Over the four month period leading up to his departure, Chantler made several hours of raw recordings of the pipe organ at London’s St John-at-Hackney church. These were then subject to extended processing at Stockholm’s Elektronmusikstudion EMS and combined with additional electronic parts created there. Still Light, Outside is an extended suite in four parts that combines passages of stark minimalism centred at the bodily invasive extremes of the organ’s register with striking explosions of colour; massed chords shot through with heavy distortion and electronics that operate according to their own dream logic. --- Recorded August–November 2014 at St John-at-Hackney, London & Elektronmusikstudion EMS, Stockholm. Additional recording/mixing January–March 2015. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx, Berlin. Design: John Chantler / Photography: Fabio Lugaro  --- John Chantler / pipe organ, processing --- Recorded August–November 2014 at St John-at-Hackney, London & Elektronmusikstudion EMS, Stockholm. Additional recording/mixing January–March 2015. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx, Berlin. Design: John Chantler / Photography: Fabio Lugaro. Thanks to Bradford Bailey, Lawrence English, James Hammond, Mike Harding, Carina Thorén & Kate Walters. This work was made possible with support from the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body.

John Chantler - Still Light, Outside

A duo for saxophone and synthesizer. Johns/John lock into a series of cycles and frequency systems that while loosely in the tradition of the patterned saxophony and accompanying string drone of La Monte Young and the Theatre of Eternal Dream Music’s B Flat Dorian Blues. The pair obliterate the instrumental hierarchy that Young espouses for an altogether more unknowable intensity of experience. -- John Chantler / synthesizer Johannes Lunds / alto saxophone  --- Liner notes: Two Dreams For Endless Skies Music makes my mind drift uncontrollably. When I saw John Chantler and Johs Lunds perform at Copenhagen’s Mayhem venue I had a vision: I awake suddenly to discover that I have been sleeping on a beach. It’s a rainy early morning and I’m laying on my back in the open on the sand, the hood of my jacket blinding my peripheral vision. I have no idea how I got there and only see grey clouds above and hear the waves and wind. I stare into the sky blinking from light speckles of falling rain, my mind reeling from two dreams. I try to stem the rapid decay that dreams inherently suffer from: 01 Static I’m a child living on a west coast Canadian island and the nights I hate most are the silent ones. To fall asleep to anything other than silence is preferable – rain the best, howling wind reassuring, a violent storm just fine – it’s an emptiness broken sporadically by a creaking tree, a snapping branch and other terrifying small sounds that emanate from the encroaching forest. It’s the terrifying absence of background sounds that makes me aware of how far away from everything I am here. It makes me claustrophobic – the dark edges of the forest encroach, the only thing keeping them from closing in is the light outside the front door washing the dark green trees, ferns and rocks with a creepy dim light. Around this time, while I start to understand my fear of silence, I am given a portable radio. I spend nights slowly panning the tuning dial through the shimmering static noise of the radio spectrum, picking up the odd AM channel that somehow has made itself audible all the way out here where I am. Faint songs blend into speech into rich hisses into warbling glissandi and squeaks and pops – engrossing noises that I imagine come from orbiting satellites, distant planets and other worlds. 02 Waves In the next dream I travel with my father to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. We hike through the forests of Cape Scott Park towards the sea. It takes us all day to get there. Along the trail I listen to the relentless roar of the wind and crashing waves coming off the ocean. The coast persistently seems just over the next hill but doesn't appear – the white noise grows more wearing and the hike turns to a slog. The park we are in contains a series of overgrown fields and dilapidated farm houses. Built by late 19th century Danish colonists, they were abandoned just over a decade later when the roads and utilities the government had promised didn't materialise. The settlements have a spooky peacefulness, beautiful but mournful in the subsuming nature. Through ghost farms and fields, then some low bushes, we finally arrive at the shore. Here the white noise of wind and waves takes full hold. The white-capped sea churns out to the horizon and the pale bright sandy beach stretches to either side of us for kilometres. Far down the beach we see a number of large dark lumpen shapes plonked upon the sand. As we walk towards them the shapes slowly reveal themselves to be a colony of recently deceased sea lions. In the heat of the blaring sun some of the giant cadavers have become bloated enough to cause their boiled and steaming guts to explode out onto the beach. Dotted in constellations around the carcasses and across the shore are hundreds of brightly coloured size 10 Nike running shoes, all for the left foot. A shipping container must have fallen off a freighter during a heavy storm, breaking apart and dumping the left footed shoes into the sea, where they drifted to the shore and washed up on this beach. They look so peculiar and fake against the guts and endless nature – vibrant running shoes, floating through infinite space, bobbing across the swelling grey sea, in the brilliant rays of sunshine, or the luminous light of the moon, blown on by howling wind through the slow motion murk of my memory. A large black bear emerges from behind one of the giant sea lion carcasses and raises itself up onto its hind legs. I jump up but instead of the beach I am back in the venue and my ears are ringing. Finish There’s an idea that the essential human use of music is as a mask – that at its core music is a way to drown out all the external noises that our most inner primordial self automatically processes as a warning, setting our nerves alight. What this understanding of music might mean for, say, love songs, dance or noise music is hard to fathom, and the idea becomes too reductive to be interesting. But it is useful sometimes, inasmuch as the idea connects music directly to animals, landscape and endless cosmos – dumping us humans and our machines and activities into what was once called nature. Sound and silence drift uncontrollably, endlessly, until they find music. Music makes our minds drift uncontrollably but gives us an interface with the world. Nathaniel Budzinski 

John Chantler & Johannes Lundes - Endless Sky

Working both inside and outside the instrument's body, Pat Thomas presents a compelling vision of what the piano can do in the 21st century. At times playing with recognisable musical material and at others going deep into sonic abstraction, Pat's playing encompasses massive extremes: solidity and flow; seriousness and laughter; uproar and imperturbability. A major solo statement, Al-Khwarizmi Variations traverses the history and the physicality of the piano. Pat rules. "Thomas runs the gamut of techniques, splashing clusters, weaving contrapuntal lines and building elaborate structures from the inside out. Despite their variety, they share a fundamental quality – they truly sound like spur of the moment creations, not the final draft of ideas mulled over for weeks, if not months on end. Their impact is enhanced by one of the more effectively engineered piano sounds in recent memory, one that puts the piano right in your lap. The value of this is felt immediately, as the first variation is brimming with above-the-staves clusters that are wincingly bright. Conversely, Thomas creates china-rattling thunder when he plunges into the bass register." - Bill Shoemaker, Point of Departure  ---  Pat Thomas/ piano --- Recorded and mixed by Rick Campion at City University Music Studios on 19 June 2011. Mastered by Rupert Clervaux at Gray's Inn Road. Artwork from a 15th century Mamluk tile, adapted for print by Paul Abbott. With thanks to Trevor Brent  ---

Pat Thomas - Al​-​Khwarizmi Variations

Sebastian Lexer (piano+) and Steve Noble (drums and percussion) first played together in the winter of 2011 and what seemed like an unlikely, even oppositional, pairing quickly proved itself to be an extremely well-matched one. Noble's sharp vertical hits and Lexer's sustained horizontal textures echo, disrupt and enrich each other, producing music full of complex slants and intricate resonances. "They sync together immediately, entwining natural resonances of strings and cymbals, percussive attack of keys and drums, and the variegated textures of electronic processing and shuddering, abraded percussion. The two leave behind any notion of conversational give-and-take, instead diving in to the development of a constantly morphing collective voice." - Michael Rosenstein, Point of Departure "a dialect nourished by sequential superimposition and counteraction of alien, nigh impossible noises, they spawn incongruous yet mesmerizing musical patterns" - Antonio Poscic, The Free Jazz Collective "the descriptions 'drummer' and 'pianist' are barely adequate, only scratching the surface of what each of them does" - John Eyles, All About Jazz "It’s incredible what strange and beguiling music they make. As well as the tinks, plinks, taps and crashes that you might expect, here are planar whorls and laminal tones closer to electronic music than anything in orthodox pianism; and amid the stacked metal clatter, percussive emphases and taut skin and rim shots of Noble’s playing sit shimmering tones and plaintively vocal-like sounds, either scraped-up or bowed from sympathetically resonating materials. These sonics out-strange anything most percussionists ever dream of. And better yet, this is all done with as much restraint and sensitivity as animation." - Tim Owen, Dalston Sound --- Sebastian Lexer / piano+ Steve Noble / drums and percussion --- Recorded by Giovanni La Rovere at Cafe Oto, London on 25 October 2011 (1) and 18 June 2014. Mixed by Sebastian Lexer. Mastered by Rupert Clervaux at Gray’s Inn Road. Artwork/Design by James Vickery. Music by Sebastian Lexer and Steve Noble. Produced by Trevor Brent

Sebastian Lexer & Steve Noble - Muddy Ditch

About Trumpet and Saxophone brings together New York based trumpeter Nate Wooley and London based saxophonist Seymour Wright for a series of intensely material duo improvisations that inhabit the tricky overlap between these two instruments. Recorded on their second encounter, there's an intriguing balance of freshness and reflection in the music here, one that matches their deep knowledge of improvised music's various pasts as well as their commitment to experiment and discovery. "a spiky, raw collection of brief improvisations that see them pushing at each other rather than slipping into comfort zones . . . full of a palpable tension but somehow also very simple and unadorned . . . a fine set of recordings that showcase the act of improvisation in its bared boned glory." - Richard Pinnell, The Wire "Wooley and Wright have both made extraordinary solo recordings: these duets might represent their sum and difference or their square root. About Trumpet and Saxophone is eminently worthy of close listening. It might enrich or impoverish a listener in a new way." - Stuart Broomer, Point of Departure "if the history of jazz can be told via great trumpet/saxophone pairings (Bix/Tram, Diz/Bird, Chet/Gerry, Miles/Trane, Don/Ornette, Kenny/Evan...add your own favourites) separated by stylistic quantum leaps, then the pairing of Nate/Seymour might just represent the latest such leap." - John Eyles, All About Jazz — Nate Wooley / trumpet Seymour Wright / alto saxophone — Recorded by Rick Campion at City University Music Studios on 4 July 2012. Mixed and mastered by Rupert Clervaux at Gray’s Inn Road. Edited by Trevor Brent. Cover painting by Geoff Wright (Svetlana, 1968). Music by Nate Wooley & Seymour Wright

Nate Wooley & Seymour Wright - About Trumpet and Saxophone

At times barely more than breathing, at others breaking into full-throated song, A Doughnut's End is a highly concentrated sequence of solo improvisations that captures the full range of Minton's vocal powers. As he says in the accompanying notes, while there is continuity between this record and previous "doughnut" albums, this latest offering is "less optimistic than forty years ago" when he still "thought stuff would get better", an optimism diminished by the continued political dominance of "slush-spraying doughnut-scoffers". A Doughnut's End is a stark and affecting testament to one man's ongoing exploration of the potential of the human voice. "Minton has forged an alternative lexicon, one that seemingly forgoes the constraints of tradition and language. The result is a perverse, evocative set, the kind of performance that forces a reaction and demands attention be paid to it — music that has the power to cause unrest and revulsion in the listener. . . . An air of fragility lingers throughout, a reminder that even Minton’s finely honed, idiosyncratic delivery is all too susceptible to the inevitable pitfalls of existence. . . . The primal outpouring of A Doughnut’s End is all-consuming, and without language to dirty the proceedings, it is as much a personal meditation as it is a display of pure virtuosity." - Soe Jherwood, Tiny Mix Tapes "Many of the sounds on the album’s 15 short tracks are unpleasant, but they’re all the more powerful for it. This work is in no way deprived of wonder, and you have to marvel at the breadth of what Minton can do. “Breaking News” bleeds from high pitched warbling to multiphonic density, the throat pushed to the weirdest limits of its potential. “There’s A Reason” reprises this sonic field, almost electronic in texture, while “Set In Stone” takes these techniques and flirts with the operatic. “Grandish”, the album’s final track, works through a series of high pitched peeps that could come from an as yet unidentified beast." - Matt Krefting, The Wire "Things flap and billow a bit more than they used to, which Minton accentuates in the formation of starker, more striking vocal shapes – unstable vibratos, phlegmy belching baritones. What if it isn’t volume and clear articulation that renders a voice audible amongst the masses, but visceral wordless eccentricity?" - Jack Chuter, ATTN Magazine --- Phil Minton / voice --- Recorded (April & June 2013) and mixed by Rick Campion at City University Music Studios. Mastered by Rupert Clervaux at Gray’s Inn Road. Photography by Jocelyn Low. Music by Phil Minton (PRS) Produced by Trevor Brent

Phil Minton - A Doughnut's End

"it is odd to talk about a piano/bass/drums trio as a radical departure. But it is impossible to think of this meeting between bassist John Edwards, drummer Mark Sanders, and pianist John Tilbury in any other way . . . from the first notes, the three erase any notion of piano trio conventions . . . the three build tensile drama from moments of fractured intensity which break against pools of calm . . . you should jump on this one quickly" - Michael Rosensten, Point of Departure "this one-off encounter is truly an exceptional listening experience" - Burning Ambulance "London has long had a pedigree of crossbreeding improv's various styles and generations, but few have been as successful as this" - Richard Pinnell, The Wire --- In his review of Exta, the critic Brian Olewnick commented that “there's a tendency on the part of [John Tilbury's] younger companions to defer a bit to him”, adding that, in his view, this was not “necessarily a bad strategy”. In this encounter, their first as a trio, John Edwards and Mark Sanders do not defer to Tilbury at all, and it proves to be perhaps the best strategy of all. This is a vigorous music of equals, the democratic clamour of three distinct personalities committed to occupying a common space and working together to create something collective without erasing their differences in the process. There's tension, even friction, at times between Edwards and Sanders' quickness and Tilbury's more measured approach, but it's a productive tension and one that enables all three to explore areas of their playing that perhaps aren't always foregrounded: Edwards' ability to wait and patiently twist long resonant notes out of near nothingness; Sanders' sense of space and sharp delicacy with small sounds; and Tilbury's thunderous density and energetic attack. It's a startling performance and one that, like all great improvisation, exceeds, and perhaps even upsets, expectations. --- John Edwards / double bass Mark Sanders / drums and percussion John Tilbury / bird calls, piano and tape --- Recorded by Katherine Arnold at Cafe Oto on 17 June 2013. Mixed and mastered by Rupert Clervaux at Gray’s Inn Road. Title from Martha Rosler, Culture Class (Sternberg Press, 2013). Music by John Edwards, Mark Sanders and John Tilbury (PRS). Produced by Trevor Brent 

Edwards / Sanders / Tilbury - A Field Perpetually at The Edge of Disorder

MIE

Long out of press mighty gamelan collab from members of US drone collective Pelt, the UK's Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides and New Zealand guitarist Michael Morley aka Gate. Recorded at 2012's TUSK festival in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the huge ensemble folded up into a mid-size room in a little corner of England and tapped into the music that has long transfixed the world - but with as much raga and hillbilly influence as Indonesian. Be warned, this is not 100% holy. Soon, avain hymns give way to drones akin to those of Vibracathedral Orchestra, and low, slow tones eat at your redeeming thoughts. A one time super-group and damn were they super. Official MIE press release: "In October 2012, at the Tusk Festival at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, noise emissaries from three continents came together on a Sunday to make music for an hour or so. From the United States came Mike Gangloff, Nathan Bowles, and Patrick Best of the mighty Virginia drone collective Pelt. Representing the United Kingdom were sonic pilgrims Pascal Nichols and Kelly Jayne Jones of Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides. And from Oceania came the transcendent New Zealand guitarist Michael Morley of Gate and, of course, the legendary Dead C. This summit proceeded without words. Their chosen means of deliberation was the gamelan: an array of gangsa and saron metallaphones and singing bowls sprawled out on the patchwork oriental rugs; a rig of gongs; the flurry of hammers and mallets; a few dozen onlookers seated cross-legged or just laying prostrate on the floor. And everyone and everything was transported. - Brent S. Sirota ---  Recorded at TUSK Festival 2012 at Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Live sound by Steve Nicholson and Stosh. Recording by Sam Grant. With thanks to Henry MIE.  www.tuskfestival.com

Pelt Part Wild Gate - Hung on Sunday

Effigy is Pelt's first new batch of new recordings since 2007, and their first album since Jack Rose's death in 2009. Simultaneously frenetic and meditative, it's a raga seared in pulsating low-end piano, scorned and mournful strings and swarming harmonium.  “What separates Pelt … is the willful sonic escalation from monk chant and Appalachian bowed sitar to Blue Ridge mountain grinding ear-death. … They’ve not become giants; they’ve become the mountain.” - The Washington Post From the original MIE press release: MIE Records are unbelievably honoured to be releasing, the first album recorded since 2007 by the acoustic-only droners Pelt. Recorded live in June 2011 in an old yoga studio in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin and a decommissioned synagogue called the Gates of Heaven in nearby Madison, the band have laid down their most accomplished and fully realised work to date. Epic in every sense of the word, Effigy is a sprawling journey through their singular plan on the musical map. Layer upon layer of droning strings melt over never-ending harmoniums which threaten to engulf you whilst peals of gongs ring out to mesmerising effect. Effigy sees Pelt reaching their blissful sonic enlightenment. Effigy is a testament to the ancient animal shaped mounds called ‘effigy mounds’ which dot the landscape in and around Madison, Wisconsin. No one has yet managed to work out who built these creations. Over the centuries they have greatly reduced in size but still the largest can measure up to 400ft in length, and the outlines of birds, lizards, deers and bears are all clearly visible to the observer. Soil would have been carried from afar to construct these huge monuments with only crude implements to hand. The erection of the monuments would have surely have to have been carried out by practically an army of workers or inhabitants and taken a very long time to build indeed. --- Recorded by Pelt. Mixed by Jason Meagher. Mastered by James Plotkin. Artwork by Jake Blanchard. With thanks to Henry MIE. 'Ecstatically dedicated and indebted to eternal spirit of Jack Rose.'  

Pelt - Effigy

Blood n guts folk from the Anglo-American duo. Searing harmonies and sparse, vital instrumentation breath new life into timeless tales of love, loss and death. Originally released to critical acclaim by No-Fi Recordings and then reissued by MIE Music in 2011, Dumb Supper is by all means one of the most interesting and exciting revivalist recording of traditional songs we've heard in years. Cath and Phil believe in folk retaining its original storytelling function, so all the songs on the album are adaptations of songs they have unearthed or which have been passed on to them through family members, musical collaborators, and their own love of the original information highway - folk music. If you missed the physical, snap this up and get yourselves down to see them here this Thursday. “Dumb Supper is one of those rare modern folk albums that will find a home in both the longstanding ‘traditional’ music community and among those attracted to the form’s more experimental and lo-fi possibilities….It’s a weird looking-glass effect many folk fans will be familiar with: the straighter you play it, the stranger it gets…Shirley Collins always understood this and so do Cath & Phil Tyler.” – Frances Morgan, Plan B Magazine --- All songs traditional except: Farewell My Friends & Morning - adapted from Sacred Harp. Death of Queen Jane - Words trad. Music Tyler Yellowhammer - Tyler Dewdrop - Words trad. Music Tyler Wild Stormy Deep - by Homer Cornett Slumber Boats - by Alice Riley/Jessie Gaynor  --- Recorded at Summerhill Square, Newcastle Upon Tyne in the first half of 2007. Arranged by Cath and Phil Tyler. Artwork by Jim Oss. Produced by Andrew Hodson. 

Cath & Phil Tyler - Dumb Supper

"The Sealed Knot are one of the great free improvisation groups, comparable to the classic 1980s SME line-up of John Stevens, Nigel Coombes and Roger Smith for edge-of-your-seat attentiveness and sheer inter-group telepathy. Rhodri Davies, Mark Wastell and Burkhard Beins have been a unit since 2000, a melding of London and Berlin. Recent sightings have been rare, but they played in Berlin this May, and now Wastell's revived Confront label is releasing this live album from January 2009. The purpose of the 2009 show was to celebrate Another Timbre's release of And We Disappear, recorded live in Switzerland at a 2007 festival titled Ear We Are. That album was about the yawning gulf between Davies's high, piercing ebow work and Wastell's glacial double bass. Whereas the new record has Wastell switching to tam tam, and all three musicians employing electronics - but lo-fi mechanical electronics, rather than digital processing. So there's a pleasing, subdued industrial fury lurking beneath the music. Filigrees of rapid clicking make way for subterranean pulsing, and Beins adds the super-pure tones of bowed cymbals, to blur the electric/acoustic distinction further. Around 18 minutes the group contemplate silence, before launching into a further 13 minutes of patient exploration and metallic mystery. Wastell has grumbled that critics are "always 12 months behind the flow" when it comes to describing what musicians are up to, and here he is, helping us along by releasing a four year old recording. Never mind that the trend-buzz around Lower Case Improv, New London Silence & co has worn off; with music of this quality we're dealing with simple excellence, and any opportunity to see this group at work should be seized." (Clive Bell, The Wire) --- Burkhard Beins / percussion, electronicsRhodri Davies / harp, electronicsMark Wastell / tam-tam, electronics --- Recorded live at the 'Another Timbre' Festival, Cafe OTO, London on January 21st, 2009.

The Sealed Knot - Live at Cafe OTO

Originally released in a tiny edition of 50 copies in 2000, this recording officially marks the beginning of The Sealed Knot as a regular group. Interestingly, the liner notes that accompanied that release make mention, for the first time in print, of the terms 'the new silence' and 'Berlin reductionism' ......... although listening now, all these years later, the music sounds far from silent and/or little reduced."The music on this cd was recorded live at All Angels, West London and documents the exciting ongoing collaboration between young musicians working in London and Berlin. Although all three performers have travelled between the two capital cities since the early 1990's playing in various combinations, this is their first concerts as a trio. Beins co-runs the 2.13 Berlin improvisation club, with guitarist Michael Renkel, in conjunction with it's sister organisations in London and Athens. All three clubs are named after a stopped clock at the original London venue. Critics have dubbed Wastell and Davies' music 'the new silence' and Beins' German counterpart 'new Berlin reductionism'. Categories aside, this is improvised music concerned with space, texture and time, emphasised by the gently ticking clock at the back of All Angels as sounds fade into silence." (Original liner notes) --- Burkhard Beins / percussionRhodri Davies / harp Mark Wastell / violoncello ---Recorded live in concert by Tim Fletcher at St. Michael & All Angels Church, West London on 14 April 2000.

The Sealed Knot - All Angels