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Blood Blood is a connective tissue. It nourishes. Cleanses. Regulates. Only a living being can create it. Attempts to engineer synthetic blood have not been successful, to date. Thus, either we "produce" it ourselves, or there will be none... Blood is always in motion. It travels throughout our bodies. In each of us, there are an estimated 96,000 kilometers of blood vessels, that pump our blood. If blood is not in motion, it clots within a few minutes. It begins to die... od is not in mi Every minute someone needs blood. One in ten patients is a recipient. One unit (450ml) is capable of saving three lives. On the other hand, in cases of severe burns, up to twenty units are needed for one patient. In Poland, 2.4% of the population donates blood, while in European Union countries the average is about 8%. "For the life of the flesh is in the blood." (Leviticus 17:11). For centuries, in all cultures, religions and beliefs, blood has held the same significance. It has been synonymous with life. In ancient Mesopotamia it was believed that the first humans were created from the blood of a slain deity. In Egypt, blood was removed from the body before mummification, to prepare it for eternal life. In the Old Testament, consuming blood was forbidden. This is still the case in Judaic teachings. It contains the life force. Upon death, this force should return to God. Blood saves. "And they shall take the blood of the lamb, and sprinkle it on the doorframes and on the thresholds of the house where they shall eat it. [....] The blood shall serve you to mark the houses, in which you shall dwell. When I see the blood, I will pass by, and there shall not be a destructive plague, among you when I punish the land of Egypt." (Exodus 12:7-13). The God of the Old Covenant will spare the lives of those, whose house is marked with the blood of the Passover lamb. By doing so, a person will make the passage (pesach - literally to pass over, leap over) and be free, just as the Chosen People were liberated from the rule of Egypt. Blood cleanses and justifies. "Then one of the elders addressed me: 'These in white robes,' he asked, 'who are they, and where have they come from?' And I said to him: 'Lord, you know! And he said to me: 'These are those who come, from the great tribulation, and have rinsed their robes, and in the blood of the Lamb have whitened them. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and in His temple they worship Him day and night. And the One seated on the throne shall spread a tent over them." (Revelation 7:13-15) What does blood mean to you? Blood is life and holiness. In the Christian tradition, it is a symbol of eternal life. Blood of Christ gives life and is life, because it is Christ's body. In art, blood is a symbol of emotions. A blood brotherhood, blood pact, or a document signed in blood, are eternally binding. Blood is a bond, a fellowship - this is why in Polish we say related-by-blood and blood-relatives. If you donate blood - someone becomes your relative… The concept for this record began in February, 2023. It is an audio-portrait of the Regional Centre of Blood Donation and Treatment the name of prof. dr hab. Tadeusz Dorobisz in Wroclaw, enriched by the music of Piotr Damasiewicz and Jakub Wójcik. It is not background music. It is music that requires attention and focus. Detachment and meditation. An immersion into its depths. "Blood" is an invitation to experience a journey. A journey of living fully, through stopping, to rebirth and a new existence. "Blood" is YOU and your interpretation of the world and its hues.

Krew – by Piotr Damasiewicz, / Kuba Wójcik

After the album Calques recorded live during a concert, Novembre returns with Encore, a double studio album,the result of a long maturation in terms of form, composition and playing. As they have been doing for more than ten years, Romain Clerc Renaud and Antonin Tri Hoang have constructed a complex poetic form, made up of multiple back-and forths between simple and gentle themes (Encore, Petit Matelot) or very fast ones (LetCo, Klaxon); between very short pieces (Miniatures) and large developments (Continuum). Everything is arranged by the play of contrasts and resonances: a piece is interrupted to be continued later (Please wait), a motif is metamorphosed by dint of repetition (Encore), a piece is played again, but as quickly as possible (Letco Flash). The second CD of the album illustrates another side of the art of montage. Marc Baron recorded Novembre while they were working on Encore, using the most varied materials and techniques (tape recorder, hydrophone, boom box, spring, tape loops). With this harvest he has constructed an electroacoustic piece that diverts, amplifies and transforms the music of Novembre. --- CD1 Compositions by Romain Clerc-Renaud and Antonin- Tri HoangRecording: Antony - July 2021Engineering and mixing: Erwan BoulayMastering: Pierre Luzy, Music Unit CD2Electro-acoustic piece by Marc Baron, produced in the studio in the summer 2018 from recordings of the band Novembre.Design: Galilée Al Rifai

Encore – Novembre

OTOROKU

In house label for Cafe OTO which documents the venue's programme of experimental and new music, alongside re-issuing crucial archival releases.

"With Clippy EM272 mics clipped on my backpack, I commuted and recorded in various locations to capture what's bluntly obvious to all of us here, I'm certain of. It is about what's been passed down, the pedigree of our people, hastily constructed to pick up the phase of the west, that I've known for my entire life and a part of my life. No good or bad, but just the way it is. I see much beauty here in my city's streets, when the unfavored sides are seen in the same scope. They are inseparable." – Suk Hong Otoroku is delighted to present this enrapturing, multifaceted release from South Korean sound artist, Suk Hong 홍석민, recorded in and around Seoul. At first the rapid procession of sounds in Pedigree's four parts - both found and performed, worldly and domestic - can seem bewildering; streetscapes merge with dissonant organ sounds, snatches of conversation blend with the hum and rattle of transport, electronic tones trade space with grunting pigs and homely rituals. The sound worlds seem to flit from one headspace to the next, giving the listener just enough time to acclimatise to each sonic environment before changing up the scenery again. But give yourself over to the restless momentum and the true expanse of the composition becomes clear, ultimately revealing itself to be something both transportive and profound. With each listen, more is disclosed. The effect is akin to looking at reflections upon the surface of a body of water and then letting your eyes readjust to the world beneath, teeming with life. Pedigree seems to exist in this moment of tension between the surface and the depths, favouring neither but revelling in a state of endlessly unfolding transition. -- - All tracks by Suk Hong- Mastered by Oli Barrett- Cover photo by (stephan) – image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Pedigree – Suk Hong

Totally beautiful and rare piano performance from Loren Connors, joined on guitar by long time collaborator Alan Licht.  Celebrating thirty years of collaboration, Loren Connors and Alan Licht performed for two nights at OTO on May 5 and 6th, 2023. On the second night, with the stage lit in blue, Connors took up a seat on the piano stool whilst Licht picked up the guitar. What followed was the duo’s first ever set with Connors on piano - one of only a few times Connors has played piano live at all - here captured and issued as The Blue Hour. Its spacious warmth came as a total surprise live, but makes complete sense for a duo whose dedicated expressionism takes inspiration from a vast spectrum of emotion. Both opening with single notes to start, it doesn't take long before a surface rises and begins to shimmer. A run up the keys, the drop of a feedback layer on a sustained and bent note. The two begin to exchange notes in tandem and brief touches of melody and chord hover. After a while, Connors picks up the guitar, stands it in his lap and sweeps a wash of colour across Licht’s guitar. Sharp, glassy edges begin to form, open strings and barred frets darkening the space. When his two pedals begin to merge, Licht finds a dramatic organ-like feedback and it’s hard not to imagine Rothko’s Chapel, its varying shades of blue black ascending and descending in the room. When Connors goes back to the piano for the second side, the pair quickly lock into a refrain and light pours in. It’s a kind of sound that Licht says reminds him of what he and Connors would do when the duo first started playing together 30 years ago. It’s certainly more melodic than some of their more recent shows, and the atonal shards of At The Top of the Stairs seem to totally dissolve. What is always remarkable about Licht is that his enormous frame of reference doesn't seem to weigh him down, and instead here he is able to delicately place fractures of a Jackson C Frank song (“Just Like Anything”,) amongst the vast sea of Connors’ blues. Perhaps it's the pleasure of playing two nights in a row together, or the nature of Connor’s piano playing combined with Licht’s careful listening, but the improvisation on The Blue Hour feels remarkably calm and unafraid. There’s nothing to prove and no agenda except the joy of sounding colour together. Totally beautiful.  --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Saturday 6th May 2023 by Billy SteigerMixed by Oli BarrettMastered by Sean McCannArtwork by Loren Connors Layout by Oli BarrettScreenprint by Tartaruga Manufactured in the UK by Vinyl Press.  Edition of 300 standard LPs, 100 LPs with screenprinted artwork by Loren Connors printed as inserts. Also available on a limted run of 200 CDs. 

Loren Connors & Alan Licht – The Blue Hour

First solo release from vocalist, movement artist and composer Elaine Mitchener, whose work encompasses improvisation, contemporary music theatre and performance art. Solo Throat draws on the work of African-American and African-Caribbean poets Kamau Brathwaite, Aimé Césaire, Una Marson and N. H. Pritchard as source material for twelve new vocal compositions Elaine Mitchener is a veteran of vocal expression in the global Black Avant Garde, traversing free improvisation, cross-disciplinary music theatre and contemporary composition with clarity and joy. Most recently, Mitchener has been improvising and composing with the written word as source material - challenging classical ensembles with her piece (“the/e so/ou/nd be/t/ween”), and commissioning composers Matana Roberts, Jason Yarde and George Lewis to respond to the work of Sylvia Wynter (“On Being Human as Praxis”, Donaueschinger Musiktage, 2020). Her performance of Umbra poet N.H Pritchard’s text FR/OG at OTO in 2021 was a revelation - a solo vocal recasting of the powerful visual-material form that Pritchard uses to disrupt semantic ‘sense’. Building on this performance, Solo Throat takes the work of Pritchard alongside poets Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Aimé Césaire and Una Marson as its source material. Its compositions are a loose translation - a carrying from text to voice which holds multiplicity and celebrates the transformative power of literary possibility. Surrendered to the spacing and repetition of consonants and vowels, Michener’s exceptional phonetic freedom gives rise to a sensuous experience which intensifies the roles of rhythm, timbre and breath in expressing meaning. Solo Throat comes together as much through difference as similarity. Mitchener’s own solo improvisations sit alongside the work of Brathwaite, Césaire, Marson and Pritchard, forming a constellation of unlikely alignments which make no aesthetic conclusion. Instead, Solo Throat is a site of encounter, a plural de-composition of words into an assemblage of sounds and impulses, emphasising what Anthony Reed calls, “the play on and the surplus of margins of lyrical translation to resituate other pathways of expression”. Just as the poets cited use white space to complicate our act of reading, so Mitchener utilises silence and multiphonics to complicate the act of voicing and the way we listen. — Elaine Mitchener is a British Afro-Caribbean vocalist, movement artist and composer working between contemporary/experimental new music, free improvisation and visual art. She is currently a Wigmore Hall Associate Artist; was a DAAD Artist-in-Berlin Fellow (2022) and was an exhibiting artist in the British Art Show 9 (2021-22). In February 2022 Mitchener was awarded an MBE for Services to Music. Her regular collaborators include: composers George E Lewis, Jennifer Walshe, and Tansy Davies; visual artists Sonia Boyce, Christian Marclay and The Otolith Group; chamber ensembles Apartment House, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble MAM, Ensemble Klang, and Klangforum Wien; choreographer Dam van Huynh’s company; and experimental musicians such as Moor Mother, Loré Lixenberg, Pat Thomas, Jason Yarde, Neil Charles and David Toop. — Recorded and engineered by Sean Woodlock at Hackney Road StudiosMastered by Sean McCannLayout by Jeroen WilleAll music and artwork by Elaine Mitchener

Elaine Mitchener – Solo Throat

Charles Gayle is a saxophonist, pianist, sometimes a clown and radical musical performer wrapped into the body of a humble person living in Downtown Manhattan since the 1960s. As this set attests to, It is sometimes hard to predict what he will do on stage... In all his musical (and personal) life Charles Gayle has remained outside of any form of mainstream, carving his own singular path. There is no player on the scene today with the emotional wallop of Charles Gayle. John Edwards is a true virtuoso whose staggering range of techniques and boundless musical imagination have redefined the possibility of the double bass and dramatically expanded its role, whether playing solo or with others. Perpetually in demand, he has played with  Sunny Murray, Derek Bailey, Joe McPhee, Peter Brötzmann, Mulatu Astatke and many others. Ubiquitous, diverse and constantly creative, drummer Mark Sanders has worked with a host of renowned musicians including Derek Bailey, Henry Grimes, Mathew Shipp, Roswell Rudd, in duo and quartets with Wadada Leo Smith and trios with Sirone and William Parker. Here we present a 2CD set documenting the two very special sets delivered on the 15th of November, 2017 at Cafe Oto, Dalston, London. In classic ecstatic fashion one would expect from these three stalwarts of blazing transcendence these 2 sets swerve from the sublime to the this is an exquisite document of one of the most exciting trios operating today, Limited to 500 copies packaged in mini gatefold sleeve.

Charles Gayle / John Edwards / Mark Sanders – Seasons Changing

Musician, writer and filmmaker, Sunik Kim follows up ‘The Bent Bow Must Wait to Be Released’ (Takuroku 2021) with their second LP - a deadly serious dismantling of the limits of contemporary computer music, delivered with playful dexterity and a touch of slapstick humour, a la Henry Cow.  Enlisting General MIDI to create frenetic, vital patterns of dis-organisation made up of gleeful synthetic trumpets, wry orchestral sweeps and brutal key clusters, Sunik Kim explodes a kind of simplistic sound into complex, beautifully uncertain structures. Rather than attempting to overwhelm or stun the listener into subjectivity, ‘Potential’ is ever shifting; regularly breaking form and unfolding, discreetly nibbling at the concept of the Spectacle and un-doing fatally closed systems of cyclic music.  On first listens we recalled Cecil Taylor’s Unit Structures, Stockhausen’s Gruppen, and even those weirdo attempts at making music from inside the world of Animal Crossing, Lil Jürg Frey. The overflowing ideas of Henry Cow (to which Kim dedicated a fantastically blended mix for the Wire in 2021) never drift too far from view, but contemporary counterparts lay few except for Yorkshire's most eminent polyceleratrix, Gretchen Aury, who we asked to write the liners. Gretchen’s words are unsurprisingly as extraordinary as the record itself, so we’ll close out the call to elicit a Media response to possibly the wildest OTOROKU yet with their words: “Potential reads as a rare honest response to the disaster capitalist era of the apparent nearing end of the anthropocene, a cyborg music which is not hopelessly psychotic like so much contemporary and especially computer-requiring music, but lucidly possessed with rapture, pain, madness, empathy, ecstasy, torment, fragility; all those vital feelings and incentives which our atrociously depressing times seem engineered to quash and bleed out of us. This sound is a blistering Electro Magnetic Pulse wave of revolutionary hope, exclaiming defiantly that History is not over, that the future is not ‘history,’ that there is still a vast multitude of ideas and identities burning brightly and resiliently, despite the fact that they are inconceivable to the tyrannical Hegemonic axis of global capitalist tech-culture. I ask of you, listener, if you truly wish to plunge beyond The Known, give yourself over in full to this record.” — Artwork by Sunik Kim Layout and design by Jeroen Wille  Liner notes by Vymethoxy Redspiders Mastered by Anotine Nouel at Sound Love Studios Track 1 edited by John Wall —

Potential – Sunik Kim

We're thrilled to present two longform pieces from Yorkshire-based sound artist, Sophie Cooper. Composed during a week-long residency in the OTO Project Space in February 2022, Lean In was originally written for an 8-speaker surround set-up, here distilled into an equally expansive stereo version. Over 25 minutes, Cooper weaves fragments of on-site found radio sounds, processed trombone, electronics and voice to explore themes of broken family structures and the unspoken estrangement issue. We release this alongside the newly remastered companion piece, Intact, commissioned by hcmf// in 2019 and for which Cooper was nominated for an Ivor Novello Composer Award in 2020. Together, the pieces build upon each other in a way that uncovers new insights with each listen, revealing a multi-faceted work at once intimate and far-reaching in its emotional and sonic impact. "This release is a double A side of accompanying pieces both written during residencies for spatial audio systems namely the HISS (Huddersfield Immersive Sound System) for hcmf// and the set up at Café Oto project space. These versions have been designed to be listened to on stereo set ups. Both of the pieces deal with the topic of family estrangement using verbatim sourced with permission and support from a UK based charity called Stand Alone who support adults in this situation. Intact was the first piece made of the two in 2019 and Lean In was written in early 2022 so you’ll hear references to how people’s lock down experiences impacted on their estrangements in the second piece. It was really interesting to come back to this topic after a break and reflect on changes between the texts in both years." – Sophie Cooper, February 2023 -- Enormous thanks to: Everyone involved with the HISS, hcmf//, Cafe Oto, Arts Council England, Kathy Hinde and Matthew Olden for the support with these pieces. -- Cover photography by Maryanne RoyleMastered by Oli Barrett

Lean In / Intact – Sophie Cooper

HoP warmly welcomes Belgian chantress Annelies Monseré back to the fold. Annelies’s Mares LP (hop17) sold-out last year and was featured on end-of-year lists from The Wire, Boomkat, The Quietus, and Tone Glow to name a few. Recent live shows at Café OTO, Roadburn Festival and supporting HTRK in Brussels prove there’s no sign of her slowing down. Recorded at home in Gent between 2016 and 2023, I Sigh, I Resign retains the intimacy of Mares with it’s close-mic’d keyboards and vocals that capture every breath. Folk and early music are at the core of her sound but the palette of piano, organ, bass guitar, cello, synth and drum machine make it very much a document of the here and now. The cover features Annelies’s sketches referencing female artists from the Dutch Golden Age who, highly revered at the time, now serve as mere footnotes to Rembrandt, Vermeer et al. The cover sets the tone for the music within which deals with power structures, toxic environments, and questioning (his)tories. Standout tracks include the pounding rhythm and choir-like voices on Salt as well as the tense folk/post-rock of Simple Fractures (co-written with her Luster bandmates). The album’s most tender moment is a cover of Jean Ritchie’s Appalachian ballad One I Love played and sung by Annelies and her ten year old son. I Sigh, I Resign is an intimate piece of work that explores personal and general themes which, having played-out for centuries, are still depressingly relevant. Despite the suggestion of defeat in the title, I Sigh, I Resign is an affirming and defiant manifesto for growth and liberation. 

I Sigh, I Resign – Annelies Monseré

'If I don't make it, I love u’ is Still House Plants’ third LP and the fullest embodiment of their sound to date. Where ‘Fast Edit’ formed with quick attachment and jump cuts, ‘If I don't make it’ is shaped by persistence - a commitment to the songs that makes the music solid, warmer and accepted. Marking the trio’s decade of friendship, this is the first record written whilst all live in the same city since 2017's ‘Assemblages’. The band rehearsed it relentlessly, playing for nobody except themselves, consistently building support for one another and growing the way they play. Jess’ voice is deeper. Fin’s guitar is full size, richer. David drums harder. Focused on one point together, everyone gets bigger and nothing falls apart. The guitar and the drums blend, raise the voice, make room for what is being said, what is felt. When able to finally record, production allowed layers, gave elasticity, a chance to fully stretch. Playing with length and connections, the band brought in analogue techniques - a Lesley cabinet on ‘Headlight’, sidechaining the snare with the guitar, pushing vocals through cheap DJ software - each process an attempt to bring one instrument closer to another, to give bass, body, backup. ‘If I don't make it, I love u’ seeks beauty, holds feeling maximum and builds surety with its sound. The most generous SHP record to date, the music is wide open, demands less. Play it again, it will come clear. --- Finlay Clark / guitarJess Hickie-Kallenbach / vocalsDavid Kennedy / drums

Still House Plants – If I don’t make it, I love u

Takuroku

Our new in house label, releasing music recorded in lockdown.

False Self* works are electronic music compositions that explore identity, authorship and the delineation between self and other. The series so far, comprises of three albums: False Self plays music for six pianos (2021) A false memory of a sports party (2018) False Self (2016) The first two albums were created in collaboration, and sometimes antagonization, with a self authored SuperCollider algorithm — that I named False Self. I envision this algorithm as a fractured version of myself. False Self plays music for six pianos was composed whilst undertaking lessons with Jim Denizen Simm. Jim kindly indoctrinated me into his own working methods and some of the methods of his friends, many of whom are ex-Scratch Orchestra members; such as Michael Parsons, John White, Christopher Hobbs and Howard Skempton. These lessons led me to abandon SuperCollider in favour of working with more flexible, and to my mind, more interesting systems designed on paper. The compositions are experimental, system based works for six pianos. They deploy integer tables to arrange cells of slow, jazzy piano music. Each piano has eight cells of music and one silent cell. The cells mobilize as hypnotic cyclones of repetition, that move in and out of sync, to create complexity from simplicity. As the compositions progress, the cells extinguish themselves in a languid, stuttering fashion — before the process begins anew. Rudi Arapahoe 2021 Composed, recorded and mixed by Rudi ArapahoePerformed by False SelfProduced by Jim Denizen Simm Artwork by Oli Barrett *The term False Self is lifted from the psychiatrist Ronald David Laing's writing. I use the term to imply that there is another self working on the compositions with me.

Rudi Arapahoe – False Self plays music for six pianos

A feature length film, directed by Tori Kudo (Mahar Shalal Hash Baz) This film is made by digital images from the early 00s to 2019, when I started taking pictures with cellular phones. You can see that upgrades in resolution have drastically changed "l'imaginaire" , as we move to smartphones. Most of the images are taken by myself, but my portraits are taken by others. I can't name all of them exactly. But if I had to name who, among them, are working as photographers in their honor, it would be Seiichi Sugita and Maki Abe.- Tori Kudo -- The cover of this release was selected from one of six images sent to us by Tori of a sculpture incorporating layered photographs made by his mother. Tori wrote to us saying: "These six photographs are almost like my mother’s posthumous work. The photographs show a Mobius ring of sheet iron onto which she sticked old photographs on top of each other. My mother’s father, my grandfather, was a painter who lived in Paris before the war. His style of painting was that he would layer paint very thickly. Georges Rouault scraped off layers of paint so he could create flat paintings. My grandfather’s paintings have 1cm thickness but they seemed more like 3D works rather than the perspective paintings. My mother piles up photographs on top of each other. So in a way her style resembles my grandfather’s technique from that point of view. It is quite interesting that I was doing something similar to my mother with the film I made for TakuRoku during lockdown. However in my case I displayed my photos side by side not on top of each other. All is shown, no layering, nothing hidden underneath. It may mean that I still have an attachment to this life. Archiving seems to be a theme of this time. The thing is what do we archive from history. “You could see the movement of power in the erased history “- I think Jacques Derrida was talking about something like that… Freud on the other hand, hated the idea of archiving…he said “it’s the end of one’s life once one started making their own autobiographical anthology.. that kind of wrapping up one’s life while you are still alive.” Yet recently I had an idea of looking into archiving from the perspective of a dead person looking back at their life. And this could fit into this time of pandemic as everyone is facing more or less this issue so I made this film. The first half of this year since the lock down I had done nothing as I received a state grant but the offer from TakuRoku label encouraged me to finish this work. It has been a good practice for me." -- Tori Kudo - film & direction -- Kota Takeuchi - Font for the title at the endhttp://kota-takeuchi.net/ Tori Kudo - The song "archive" that plays in the end roll. Recorded in March 2020. Oliver Barrett - artwork design

Tori Kudo – Archive

"Having brought together two entirely independent solo improvisations like this, one from near the start of the lockdown and the other very recent, and finding that they fit together so well that I must have been  following the same pattern albeit on two very different instruments, what does that tell me? Have I merely folded time on itself without any corresponding fold in space and thereby gone precisely nowhere? Have those intervening months vanished in the attempt? And what can I call the fruits of that attempt? An imaginary duo between present me and early-lockdown me, made real by a stray thought taken too far (because I hadn't intended to put the two together when I recorded them). Have I learned nothing? By themselves, each is both an attempt to reach beyond time in itself, by touching the infinite variability of the reality beyond illusion and, by that very variability (and unpredictability) a blow struck against the homogenising forces of consumerism, a wrench thrown in the gears of the satanic mill. But when combined, then, the variability is multiplied. Not by dialogue (since each was blind to the other) but the stark fact of their separation in time and the events that they book-end. 50,000 dead, give or take. Have we learned nothing? Must the same battles be fought over and over again every single time? Will we still follow the same pattern, when this is all over?" - Massimo Magee, London, 11 May 2020 Cover image: '144 Pills' by MiHee Kim Magee

Wormhole to Nowhere – Massimo Magee

‘Karnofsky’s Score’ is the imagined soundtrack of a film yet to exist and of lives dealing with existence itself. Inspired by the Karnofsky Performance Scale, a scoring system widely used in medical oncology where 100 equals ‘normal’ and 0 equals ‘dead’, artist Teresa Cos undertakes a journey where numbers are shuffled and time is stretched. Part of a body of work that includes visual scores and a forthcoming film sharing the album’s narration, ‘Karnofsky’s Score’ may indeed be guided by the ghost of David A. Karnofsky himself, the pioneer oncologist of the 1950s and 60s who had earlier conducted experiments with the US Army Chemical Warfare Service. He died of cancer aged 55, becoming subject to the system he created.Recorded and mixed while on artist residencies across Europe, the album is built from a composition of guitar improvisations running through a four-track looping recorder, delay, and pitch-shifting pedals, with additional harmonica on the last twin tracks. The left/right monitoring that persists throughout the composition echoes a wavering between the extreme poles of the 0/100 scale, but is contradicted by a whole palette of emotions, at times scattered, at times doomed, at times joyfully playful. Minimal and lyrical, the atmosphere is haunting, occasionally eerie.Nothing lasts too long. The play of ‘Karnofsky’s Score’ is in the interval between two octaves in music, the extremes of a scale which in the abstraction of western notation run upwards and downwards to infinity, in reality until the limits of embodied perception are met. 

Karnofsky​’​s Score – Teresa Cos

The Story of Rêverie Luca and Markus began playing together in 2005, when Markus formed an international ensemble to play at the Suoni delle Dolomiti festival. One year later they performed as a quintet in St. Maternus in Cologne, Germany, where they recorded a live album, which initiated the project called “Flowers of Now”. (Intuitive Music in Cologne, Horus Label, 2008). Later on Markus played on two tracks of Luca’s Tacet (Extreme Records, 2008) and on the double album Songs/Signs of Luca’s project Flos with Stefano Castagna (Ritmo&Blu, 2018). More live performances followed. On July 9th, 2021 Markus visited Luca while traveling to some concerts in central Italy. They set up in Luca’s studio and recorded a fully improvised set, where nothing was previously arranged or agreed. The full set is captured on this album: four takes without any overdubs. The music reflects the meeting of two different musical stories, each musician reacting to the other in a continuous flow of inspiration, tension and release. Their dedication to listening to each other is tangible and yet they still maintain their personal presence - to call or answer and to move together into unknown territories. You can almost grasp the musicians’ wonder at the evolving and unpredictable sonic landscape. Acoustic sounds interweave with electronic parts in constant exploration with the spontaneity of intuitive composition. A deep sense of space and dreamlike atmospheres emerge from the music, the dimensions of width, depth and time seem to expand.” 

Reverie – Markus Stockhausen/Luca Formentini

Flower Travellin' Band, 50 motorcycles and others - Beam Penetration and Mad Computer, plus the Minimal Sound of Motorcycles =Regular Edition= 10-inch LP & CD Expo 70, held in Osaka, was a pivotal event for the Japanese people and their relationship with the rest of the world, demonstrating both the nation’s ongoing economic recovery from World War Two and the creative spirit of Japanese society and its artists. The event gained international acclaim for its adventurous architectural design, visual art and electronic music. Some of Japan’s most renowned composers were involved, but also present were the now-legendary rockers, the Flower Travellin' Band. A series of performances, billed as “Night Events” were held at the Expo; the most radical of these was "Beam Penetration and Mad Computer, plus the Minimal Sound of Motorcycles”, but its anti-establishment feel and general madness took the Expo organizers by surprise and it was cancelled after only one night, despite being scheduled for a longer run. An air of myth developed around the event, but a recording of the event has been discovered and this release is the result. And what an event it was: a night-time sound-bomb with a fabled band, electronic sound and 50 motorcycles with horns blaring, spotlights, electronic billboards and a robot ― all flashing, roaring and howling at the night sky. This release comprises a CD, a 10-inch record with fold-out sleeve and large obi, plus fascinating notes in Japanese and English by Kenichi Yasuda, an expert on Japanese rock music, and Koji Kawasaki, a renowned researcher of Japanese electronic music, as well as rare photos. No download code/ticket available. TRACKS: CD “Beam Penetration” (full-length) [45:49] 10-inch (excerpts) Side A “Beam Penetration” [14:52] Side B “Beam Penetration”

“Beam Penetration and Mad Computer, plus the Minimal Sound of Motorcycles” – Flower Travellin' Band

Originally released in 1978, Music By William Eaton is a private-press album from the accomplished experimental stringed instrument builder. The atmospheric recording techniques, mixed with a hint of Fahey/Takoma-lineage make for a listening experience akin to the mountainscape drawing represented on the album cover. The experience may seem simple at first, but like any great trip in nature, new details consistently reveal themselves upon each listen. “When I started building instruments, playing guitar took on a whole new dimension. From the conception to the birth of each instrument, new layers of meaning unfolded. Cycles, connections and interdependencies became apparent as I contemplated the growth of trees from seed to old age, and the transformation from raw wood to the building of a musical instrument. I sought out quiet natural environments to play and listen to the “voice” of my 6 string, 12 string, 26 string (Elesion Harmonium) and double neck quadraphonic electric guitar. Deep canyons contained a beautiful resonant quality and echo. A starlit night with a full moon provided all the reflection and endless space by which to project music into the cosmos. The sound of a bubbling stream and singing birds added a natural symphonic tapestry to a melody or chord pattern. As I perceived it, everything was participating in a serendipitous dance. Everything was part of the music. During this time, I decided to record an instrumental album of music. The idea was simple; it would be a series of tone poems with no titles or any information attached, only the words ‘Music by William Eaton.’ While some of the songs evolved out of composed chord progressions, most of the songs were played spontaneously, only on the occasion of the recording. These improvised songs haven’t been played since.” -- William Eaton

Music By William Eaton – William Eaton

Mustapha Skandrani. Besides having an excellent name, this man, a luminary of Algerian music, possessed a unique musical sense, able to transcend the borders of musical cultures to create a distinctive fusion of Arabo-Andalusian and European styles. "Istikhbars and Improvisations", recorded in 1965 in Paris, is a solo piano album presenting a trans-Mediterranean crossover based on traditional Algerian vocal pieces known as Istikhbars. Playing these istikhbars (which have roots in the Islamic Arabo-Andalusian culture which flourished in Spain) on the piano, that quintessentially European instrument, Skandrani was greeted with derision by some purists. Skandrani's powerful musical vision, however, perceives the European element involved in Arabo-Andalusian musical culture, a world of exchange and co-existence, and his decision to play this music on the piano reminds us of this European influence. Skandrani's modus operandi on this release is to present each istikhbar, modal in nature, then to play an improvisation based on the istikhbar and its attendant mode. This A/B alternation continues throughout. The pellucid clarity of Skandrani's playing on this album may remind the listener of a modal Goldberg Variations, Bach and Glenn Gould transplanted to Andalucia. Other ears will hear the Arabic/Maghreb elements more strongly. Skandrani's precise touch and clear, symmetrical rhythmic sense links both worlds, assuring us that the Mediterranean is not a barrier, but a unifier, and that the differences between the cultures are not vast. This is an admirable acheivement, resulting in beautiful music of a rare charm. Mustapha Skandrani was born in Algiers in 1920, and died there in 2005. He mastered a number of instruments at an early age, and his musical prowess led him to work with the great singers and ensembles of his day, in live performances, recordings, and radio broadcasts. Later in his life, he devoted much energy to education. --- Em Records, 2021

Mustapha Skandrani – Istikhbars and Improvisations

The nineties were full of changes and new energies in Prague. Concerts were organized in galleries, people listened with interest to emerging bands and new musical directions were followed. In this period, there was a growing interest in alternative art, and Richter Band, one of the leading alternative bands operating in the borders between ambient, new age and meditative music, was in its accession. After years of modest gigging in the late 80s, interest in seeing them perform live began to increase and the band started to tour not just the Czech regions but also ventured abroad.At the same time, Jaroslav Kořán, a fiddlerophone and percussion player, left the group and began to experiment with his own music. With him, he brought a range of musical experience from playing in the alternative rock group, Vyšší Populár, and the ambient outfit, Richter Band, as well as building and playing hand-made instruments. The fidlerophone, a unique instrument assembled using aluminium pots and mounted on sprung stands, formed the characteristic sound of Richter Band when played in unison with the subtle sounds of Pavel Richter’s electric guitar, and would later inspire Jaroslav to experiment in creating his own instruments. Although he already owned a sampler and played the piano, as a drummer, he was constantly seeking new percussive instruments and sounds, ranging from water glasses and pots to porcelain plates and salad bowls. In the summer of 1990, he experimented with nails hammered into wood in Šumava, a national park in the South Bohemian regions of the Czech Republic, and the first "Šumava (or village) kalimbas" were created. Together with his brother Michal, they refined the kalimbas, trying out repetitive melodies on them, which they would then record at home and supplement with loops from a sampler and slowed-down tapes.The newly recorded material, full of rhythms, pre-recorded loops and Michal Kořán's synthesizer, was presented for the first time in public in April 1990 at the Klarisky concert hall in Bratislava. Soon after, Jaroslav met Marek Hanzlík, a guitarist from another Prague-based band, Die Archa, leading to the formation of a new musical trio named Modrá (“Blue”). This led to a fundamental musical shift, with Marek’s prepared guitar bringing subtle harmonies and an unusual sound to the rhythmic structures, complemented by Jaroslav Kořán's slowed-down pre-recorded tapes, sampled loops and voices.Over November 1990 to June 1991, Modrá made a number of recordings in Jaroslav’s home studio. For “Bohemian Blue”, the most interesting pieces from this period were selected and supplemented with two compositions recorded live at a home concert in February 1991. Although the group was only short-lived, disbanding in the second half of 1991, it represents an important period of musical experimentation and marked the dawn of the nascent Orloj Snivců (“Horologe of Dreamers”), with whom Jaroslav Kořán still performs today. Modrá - Bohemian Blue CS 2024 [Infinite Expanse]C60 with on-body printing in jewel case and printed two-sided j-cardJaroslav Kořán: zither, sampler, percussion, plates, Mačický xylophone, tapes Marek Hanzlík: prepared electric guitar Michal Kořán: percussion, sampler, Mačický xylophone, village kalimba, plates cymbalsRecorded and mixed by Jaroslav Kořán, 1990-91, Pagoda Studio, Prague Remastered by Michal Kořán, 2018, Moon Studio, Prague 2024 issue under license via Blue Lizard

Bohemian Blue – Modrá

Amazing deadstock find of this rucial document of the late 70's / early 80s Czech avant-garde scene, privately issued by Black Point in 1991 Amalgam 1978-1981 features the recordings of a series of concerts of this project led by the Czech drummer and percussionist Vlastimil Marek, along with a variety of guests that range from renowned Czech progressive rock musicians and ethnomusicologists active in the country’s underground scene to a rare participation at that time of an international guest like Mohan Lal. The recording on the A-side of the tape stems from Amalgam’s participation at the Prague Jazz Days festival held at the Lucerna concert hall on the 19th may 1978. The occasion brought together Marek’s orientally inclined percussive music with the members of the progressive rock band Švehlík, which included Pavel Richter, Luboš Fidler and Alexandr Hajdovský along with the participation of the Indian tabla player Mohan Lal, one of the first foreign guests to play the festival. This first part depicts the inclination towards non-western musical traditions, in this case by Marek and its fusion with avant-garde rock bands like Švehlík, a style at that time already popularized in "the West" by musicians like John McLaughlin or bands like Tri Atma and Embryo for example. In a sense, such music is representative of a legacy of occidental musicians prone to experiment with oriental modes and percussion in order to escape from the constraining aspects of western music towards free and varied forms of music incorporating a clear tendency towards improvisation. The first half of the B-side was recorded at the sports hall Na Folimance in Prague a year later featuring Czech music-ethnologist and multi-instrumentalist Jiří Mazánekon on acoustic guitar and voice, and Milan Valenta on the violin. The second half was recorded at Baráčnická Rychta also in Prague and the liner notes only name Vlastimil Marek’s use of tapes and percussion along the participation of a series of unknown guests. While working on his solo percussion projects, Marek has also played with well known rock in opposition bands like MCH Band, Švehlík and Extempore, all of which have included Pavel Richter as a member. In this sense we may appreciate the diverse network of musicians of different genres which participated in the country’s underground scene, resulting in the creation of a fertile terrain for the development of non-conventional approaches towards a free music conception despite the ungoing political repression of the country at that time. The first side of this tape was released as the second half of the CD Švehlík & Amalgam – Lucerna 19. Května 1978 in 2017 by Galén, a book publisher and record label from Prague.  By Juan Vacas

Amalgam – 1978-1981

*60 copies limited edition* Infinite Expanse follows up their first two LPs with a return to the cassette format, diving deep into the world of the underground cassette network with a focus on SoundImage, a label founded by Martin Franklin and active in Slough between 1989-91. Presented is a compilation of two compilations – Premonitions (1989) and Spiritual (1990) – featuring stalwarts from the scene, including The Vitamin B12, M.Nomized, Konrad Kraft and Hybryds, as well as a host of ungoogleable artists, such as The Happy Citizen, Omega Ensemble and The Time Flies. Birthed through the space provided by the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, a UK government initiative introduced in the mid-80s which assisted unemployed people who set up their own business, SoundImage set out to uncover and present new electronic music which captured a certain sense of magic and mystery. The label operated within the cassette network, though also sought to bring the music to local audiences and stage live events. This included Omega Onsemble, a set of improvisers from Southampton, performing in a small backstreet gallery during the Windsor Fringe Festival in 1990, as well as Richard Leake’s The Butterfly Effect and Peter Appleton, a creator of sonic sculptures, combining for a live show at the Windsor Arts Centre in September 1991. The label even helped them get a feature on Southern TV and connected them with some researchers at the nearby EMI R&D lab in Hayes who recorded the performance with experimental 3D audio equipment. Distribution of SoundImage releases grew to a network of small mail order outlets and tape stalls, with duplication eventually handled by small-run commercial tape duplicators. Some of the artists who featured on releases also had their own outlets for sales, so between them they managed to form a self-contained sphere of underground production and distribution. Listening now, what distinguishes the music is that it sits at the cusp of the  DAW revolution, with the tracks made using the innovative Tascam 244, or similar 4-track cassette recorders, which had just revolutionised affordable music recording. The pumping hiss of its built-in noise reduction, in retrospect, becoming a distinctive feature of the productions. The music also pre-dates samplers, and whilst some of the music makes use of synthesisers, there is still a sense of performance and hand-made sound textures from tape loops, collages, effects and manipulated media, as well as traditional instruments. It sits at a point where abstract music still lived in our imaginations. There were no screens confining the compositions into lanes or grids, no software instruments. Instead, there were cables and cabinets, speakers and effect pedals, radio and tape….reels and reels of tape.

Premonitions: Underground Cassette Network 1989​-​90 – Various

X4 CD + DVD + Book edtion of this amazing collection! Long out of print. One copy onely The year 2007 saw one of the most remarkable findings in the long treasure-hunting history of Die Schachtel: the complete set of recordings of the early manifestation (1967-1969) of one of the most legendary improv group of all time, the Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza. Rescued by the private archives of Walter Branchi, one of the original founding members -- alongside Franco Evangelisti, Ennio Morricone, Ivan Vandor, Roland Kayn, Egisto Macchi, Mario Bertoncini, and John Heineman -- the tapes were then restored in their entirety. Only a part of them were published in a CD-only boxset in an edition of 500, titled Azioni 1967-1969, which also featured a DVD with the original film Nuova Consonanza shot by Theo Gallher during the rehearsal and concert that the group held on March 19th and 20th, 1967, at the Galleria darte Moderna in Rome. Spanning from free-jazz to total abstract noise to wild electronic sounds, their music was -- and remains -- one of the most dynamic, original, and uncompromising expression of a period defined by intense experimentation and musical bravery, anticipating experiments to come in years following. Or, to put it simple, They were utterly unique," as per the words that John Zorn, who expressively wrote for this edition. To mark the ten-year anniversary of its original release, Die Schachtel present Azioni/Reazioni 1967-1969, the complete cycle of improvisations -- which includes thirteen additional, never before published pieces -- taken from the original tapes. Remastered by Giuseppe Ielasi.

Azioni/Reazioni 1967-1969 – GRUPPO DI IMPROVVISAZIONE NUOVA CONSONANZA

out of stock

Cartographie de rythmes is a sound exploration guided by an imaginary map of rhythm, offering as many possible poles to navigate between. The first part of this cartography, Vitesses approchantes (Umlaut Records, 2021) for two percussionists - Sylvain Darrifourcq and Toma Gouband -, focused on the notion of phase shift through falsely repetitive motifs whose slight variations in speed generate sonic illusions. In this second part, Cardiaque, it is the relationship between text and music that constitutes a new crest line: how to listen to the language's rhythm while respecting the rhythm of the music. "Rhythm" does not mean the same thing while talking about music or text - and we would like to preserve the vitality of each field: like the beat created by two frequencies, the two rhythmic logics generate new interferences without losing their singularities. Julien Gaillard's texts are intertwined in a montage that allows us to travel from note-taking to poem. His voice mingles with that of Aurélie Maisonneuve and the tone of Fabrice Arnaud-Crémon's clarinet: together, they carry these textures made of truncated cycles, frames and breaks. The theme of the heart runs through the cycle: accelerations and phase shifts, thresholds between periodicity and arrhythmia, in the light of questions of breathing and heartbeat, take on a singularly organic dimension: the exploration of rhythm becomes an exploration of body states. --- Recorded in June 2022 at Athénor - Centre National de Création Musicale (Saint-Nazaire)Engineering and mastering / Ananda ChererDesign / atelier informationCare / Ronan Le RégentProduced by Athénor scène nomade - CNCM incollaboration with La Maison de la MusiqueContemporaine.

Karl Naegelen – Cartographie de rythmes - #2 Cardiaque

Otoroku is delighted to present an extraordinary set from harpist Rhodri Davies, an artist immersed in the worlds of improvisation, musical experimentation, composition and contemporary classical performance. He plays harp, bray harp, horse-hair harp, electric harp, and builds wind, water, ice, dry ice and fire harp installations and has released eight solo albums. In this solo harp performance, recorded at OTO in April 2024, Davies' inimitable playing style is showcased to full effect, with a sound that seems to span from Welsh harp to arched or ‘bow’ harp playing found in Sub-Saharan African traditions; Indian ragas to the circling, synthesized arpeggios of Laurie Spiegel, touching on the insistent player-piano pieces of Conlon Nancarrow along the way. Alternating between improvisations and improvisations with pre-written pieces across the set, Davies lets the distinctions between the two melt and spill over, giving space to breathe and expand. 'Gardd a Thŷ' for example (from Davies' Telyn Wrachïod release from earlier in 2024), is unfurled out to nearly twice its original album length, with Davies darting about each melody and motif like a moth around a flame. Each improvisatory section meanwhile, feels equally present and alive, with clusters of notes rising and tumbling around each other as insistent, repeated phrases ebb and flow like mantras to a rapt OTO audience. Ultimately, the overarching impression you are left with is that of Davies' intuitive and deeply felt relationship to the harp, embracing the instrument's traditions whilst constantly seeking new paths towards its future. A remarkable recording from one of the most vital artists currently working today. -- Recorded by Dan EhrlichMixed and mastered by Oli BarrettCover photo by Daryl Feehely

18.4.24 – Rhodri Davies

"I found this photo in an old scrapbook of my Granpa’s. He kept a lot over the course of his life - family photos, holidays, newspaper clippings from Lincolnshire where he grew up before moving to Nottingham (and eventually Bristol) with my Gran. This scrapbook spanned a few months of his mid-teens in the early 1930’s and included several pages of photos from a family holiday to Norfolk, including this one. Something about this photo stood out right away – the framing, the tow-rope sloping out of shot, the way my Granpa looks both as I remember him but also so youthful at the same time. I love how the angle makes him seem almost like a giant, striding across the Norfolk broads; tiny cattle seemingly unconcerned as he passes by. Then there’s the caption - Self towing “Snug” - in his slightly runic handwriting that always made me think of Tolkein, and which you can still see traces of in books I have of his from later life, when tremors in his hands made made his penwork spidery and less precise. A “snug” is a small, roofed vessel of the kind that you might spend an hour or two in upon a river or boating lake - similar to a canal boat. At least this is how I understand it from the pictures in the scrapbook – I’ve looked but can’t seem to find any reference to the term online. Maybe it’s a Norfolk colloquialism that’s fallen out of use - judging by the quotation marks it seems like it was a new term for my Granpa too. The final photo on the page is captioned “Finale: “Snug” breaks down”. Maybe the towing didn’t help, or maybe that was why the towing was required. My Granpa died when I was 11. I remember him being quiet and self-contained and I remember him taking me round all of the old oil paintings in Bristol Museum on the occasional day when he’d look after me, giving me little bits of information about each one. I didn’t appreciate that much then, but I do now. I started this album a year or so ago, and finished it up in the two weeks after my Gran died, aged 104, three decades after the death of my Granpa. This album is in loving memory of them both."

Self towing "Snug" – Oliver Barrett

Covid-19 Survival

 

Many thanks to Xper. Xr - one of the pioneers of Chinese industrial noise music in the 80's - for donating this unique object with a history! "Relic, hammer, circa 1993" "Part of an instrument used at the 1st Hong Kong International independent Music Festival. At approx.10pm on the 3rd September, 1993, Xper.Xr. and the gang were shredding the stage with an angle grinder, hammers and other utility tools, while attempting to blow up a bicycle inner tube. At a crucial moment during the set, venue staffs intervened and decided to unplug the set; commotions ensued both on and off stage and in the heat of the moment, this fateful hammer broke off the handle, missiled through the air, and went straight into the forehead of a front row audience, drawing blood. The operator of this piece was an original member of the Orphic Orchestra, a childhood friend of the artist, who has unfortunately passed away on the 8th March, 2020, at 12:44pm. Traces of blood from that evening might still be present on this object, but will require forensic tests to reveal." One of a handful of experimental musicians to emerge in musically conservative Hong Kong in the eighties, the cryptically named Xper.Xr gained a measure of notoriety as arguably the first Chinese ‘industrial noise’ musician. Please note that whilst postage costs are included in the price of this item, we may be unable to send this out until we re-open. Please email us at info@cafeoto.co.uk if you have any queries, otherwise we will drop you a line after purchase to arrange delivery when possible.

XPER. XR'S HAMMER