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Thursday 19 March 2020, 8.30pm

CAFE OTO FUNDRAISER: Charles Hayward + Rie Nakajima + Merlin Nova + Alexis Taylor

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For our fourth fundraiser night, the great drummer, singer, composer and founding member of This Heat, Charles Hayward performs a rare solo set; O Yama O's Rie Nakajima and Keiko Yamamoto are joined by violinist Billy Steiger and percussionist Marie Roux in entrancing deconstructions of Japanese folk music; and we welcome back Merlin Nova, who collages voice, synthesizer, violin, field recording and other instruments into an intoxicating music that encompasses abrasion and reverie and everything in between.

"Suddenly we are closer to music being made than we have been for many years or longer even, so alarmingly close as to feel warmth and discomfort, as if studying the sole of a foot from a few centimetres away or holding a private whisper within an enclosed hand and feeling its trembling desire to be free; but also so far away distant as to feel each vibrant, pungent ingredient within its box or jar or bowl or packet or bottle or air-tight translucent container or brown paper bag painstakingly stirred, shaken, scattered, poured into the heated cauldron of what we call recording, its imaginary rooms and its production, though my better self prefers not to speak about or analyse the notion of ‘the studio’, this being a working up of spaces that are social, a vision of something beyond us but not quite beyond us because its existence as a listening object is real enough to make us pause and question how it was lost or never found." - David Toop on O Yama O


For over a decade OTO has been presenting a back-to-back seven-day a week programme of some of the most exciting music being presented today. A vast number of musicians and audiences have come through our doors over that time.

In the first few years of Cafe OTO we scraped by on equipment we had begged and borrowed. Musicians showed extraordinary generosity in donating bits of equipment and we brought bits and pieces as and when we could. There has always remained a huge discrepancy between the ambition and scale of our programme and the equipment we have to present it.

We recently tried to redress this imbalance by applying to Arts Council England for a capital grant and where extremely grateful to them for supporting us and awarding the grant. This has already made a huge difference to the venue, but as part of that agreement we have to raise an additional £21,200 ourselves.

Charles Hayward

Charles Hayward is an English drummer/singer/composer and was a founding member of the experimental rock groups This Heat and Camberwell Now. He also played with early European improv group Mal Dean's Amazing Band and gigged and recorded with Phil Manzanera in Quiet Sun as well as a short stint with Gong. Since the late 80's he has concentrated on solo projects and collaborations, including Massacre (with Bill Laswell and Fred Frith), Monkey Puzzle Trio and Albert Newton (with Pat Thomas and John Edwards). The project This Is Not This Heat has recently completed a 3 year series of performances in UK, Europe, US and Japan.

Throughout a nearly 50 year career Charles has developed idiosyncratic attitudes and insights into a wide range of soundwork, spanning improvisation, song, sound as sound, using order and chaos as creative energies. He curates a six monthly series of performances, workshops and installation called Charles Hayward Presents on behalf of Lewisham Arthouse for Albany Theatre. Recent releases include ‘Objects of Desire’ cassette on Blank Editions and the piano centred song cycle ‘Begin Anywhere’ on Klanggalerie & God Unknown Records.

“As impassioned and animated offstage as behind his massive drumkit, Charles Hayward radiates a genuine intensity. He first came to wide attention as drummer with the highly influential This Heat as the embers of Post-Punk simmered off into wilder experimental tangents. He has released a dozen solo and colaborative albums, and puts on rare solo live shows which pull the raw muscular percussion at the heart of Rock into new shapes with devastatingly powerful results.” – Freq

"Telepathic magic……. Hayward is one of the most life-affirming people who stalks this dark globe." - SOUND PROJECTOR

Rie Nakajima

Rie Nakajima is a Japanese artist working with installations and performances that produce sound, often using a combination of kinetic devices and found objects. She has exhibited and performed widely both in the UK and overseas and has produced ‘Sculpture’ with David Toop since 2013. She also has a collaborative project ‘Dead Plants/Living Objects’ with Pierre Berthet, and recently released the CD ‘Dethick’ with Angharad Davies and Alice Purton.

Photo: Fabio Lugaro

Merlin Nova

Merlin Nova is sound, song and movement. Ecstatic energy blast. Clear-cut. Quick fix. Immediate. Set scene sound. Landscape, temperature and feeling. Here with you, together.

Her live set evolved out of a weekly radio show broadcasted on Subcity Radio that she hosted and made soundscapes for. Her debut EP ‘Protect Your Flame’ was released on Blank Editions in March 2018. Recently her practice has evolved into working closely with movement and dance practitioners for whom she improvises music.


Photo by Sophie le Roux

Alexis Taylor

Alexis Taylor is a singer, musician, producer and writer, best known for his work with Hot Chip who recently released their 7th album ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’ on Domino. He has released 4 solo albums, and one in collaboration with artists such as David Pajo (Slint, Aerial M), Jennifer Herrema (Royal Trux, Black Bananas) and Brian DeGraw (Gang Gang Dance), which could be played simultaneously with his own ‘Piano’ album.
Alexis also has worked at the intersection of improvised music and song, with About Group (Charles Hayward, John Coxon, Pat Thomas, and latterly Susumu Mukai and Rupert Clervaux). He also DJs frequently internationally, as well as co-hosting a monthly Soho Radio program with John Coxon about musical instruments.

Other collaborators through the years, with and without Hot Chip include Fimber Bravo, Justus Köhncke, Robert Wyatt, David Byrne, Wiley and Peter Gabriel. His production credits include the James Yorkston record ‘CRAWS’, and upcoming work with Matthew Falloon and Doug Shaw.