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

Originally from Inner Mongolia, Deng Boyu has been active in the Chinese music underground since the late 1990s. His work spans numerous genres, as a drummer, solo electronics artist, improviser and collaborator to many musicians both in and out of China, including Mamer, Lao Dan, Lee Ranaldo, Marc Ribot, Akira Sakata, Theresa Wong and Federico Casagrande. Having hosted two of his releases on our site through the Old Heaven and Dusty Ballz labels, we're delighted to present《Inertion》on our in-house OTOroku imprint. Opening with the thrumming, pulsing hum of ‘Her Eyes Lost Their Luster’, Boyu hints at reverie but wastes no time in pulling the rug out, the lulling bass drone being intermittently disrupted with static bursts and fragmentary synth stabs before the two sonic factions coalesce in an increasingly dizzying scree of chirping electronics. Just as you think the palette has settled, Boyu abruptly changes tack once again, laying down a sparsely propulsive rhythm over which a stadium-sized guitar suddenly erupts, whose initial incongruity is instantly washed away in a surge of giddy euphoria; Boyu not so much setting fire to his guitar as the whole damn stage. Second track, ‘Like Blade of Grass’ doesn’t let up, with fuzz-drenched tones dancing around each other in percussive patterns that skitter and churn in a freewheeling clatter that constantly threatens to unravel whilst always keeping just ahead of itself. The titular closer, ‘Inertion’, piles on the Industrial Lynchian dread, beginning with a funereal march over which a digital analogue appears to be arguing with itself. All is resolved, however, as Boyu’s layered guitars unashamedly crash back in, releasing all the built-up tension in an all-too-brief rush of power-chord endorphins. There is an almost dizzying restlessness here, covering more ground in 20 minutes than most would manage in a triple LP. The result is anything but scattershot, however. Instead, Boyu crafts a collagic density consisting of myriad reference points all competing for space. There can be no neat outcome - these are not clues to decipher. Instead, Boyu builds around these competing approaches; tongue-in-cheek modern jesterisms versus considered sincerity; minimalist arrangements brushing up against maximalist sound; structured craft and tonal dissonance - not coming down on one side or the other but revelling in the clash. You might not have time to get comfortable but it’s a compelling and compulsive place to be.

《Inertion》 – Deng Boyu

Danielle Price is a tuba player whose work explores the range of creative possibilities of the instrument, both in her own compositions as well as her extensive list of collaborations ranging from artists as diverse as Ashley Paul, Bill Wells, Oxbow, Ntshuks Bonga and Mats Gustafsson. After the Allotments sees this expansive approach in full flow, blending improvised and structured forms in delightfully unexpected ways. Across the five tracks, Price crafts an enviable parallel universe where singer-songwriters have traded their ubiquitous acoustic guitars for tubas. Opener, Seeking, sees Price’s breath gradually expanding into soft evocations under which a tentative tuba line deliberately draws out resonances both wistful and reflective, before Room In a Shared Apartment Looking For a Soul snaps back into focus, building a sparse, propulsive rhythm where utterances from both voice and tuba blend and unfurl in one fluid line that contorts and loops back on itself. Price’s brass melodies extend further on each new time around before splitting off from its rhythmic underpinnings and soaring upwards and outwards. Square Peg takes a sudden about turn, dialling the smokey jazz atmosphere up to 11 as a playful tuba walks the bass and almost audibly clicks its fingers along to Price’s yearning, soulful vocal, evoking Sofia Jernberg’s stellar work with Fire! Orchestra. Track four, I’ll Tell You That, pushes this interplay further, as voice and tuba exhort each other into ever more untethered contortions in an increasingly raucous call and response. After the minimalist palette of the first four tracks, the plaintive opening piano notes of the titular closing piece ring out like a bell. Price deftly glides across the keys, weaving a tremendous sense of calm like the freshness following a downpour, as her understated spoken vocal conjures up a deceptively everyday yet far-reaching scene that in a few short sentences seemingly captures a life.

After the Allotments – Danielle Price

“[This] collection of 14 live improvisations is a masterpiece in spontaneous strangeness… Time Trout’s album is a product of incredible musical intelligence.” – Louise Gray, The WIRE OTOroku is thrilled to present the debut album from Time Trout, comprising fourteen tracks improvised in real time. Seemingly summoned out of the ether, these songs arrive fully-formed, with an awkward, jagged personality that moves, all knees and elbows, with a bristling, roiling, unstoppable momentum. It’s a constant high-wire performance, with all four participants looking relentlessly forward lest a glimpse below causes the whole thing to drop. Thankfully, the balance is never in doubt. From the off, drummer Stephen Moses and bass guitarist Dave Mandl create a series of hypnotic locked grooves, that simultaneously draw you in and subtly pull the rug out from underneath you all at once; like repeatedly stumbling down the last couple of steps to the dance floor. Over this hypnotic ouroboros of a rhythm section, Marcus Cummins’ saxophone deftly feints and weaves between the cracks, running the gamut from tentative, staccato stabs to giddily whirling lyricism. The three instrumentalists constantly trade emphases in such an assured way that you quickly stop trying to focus in on one part and give yourself over to the single, intricate whole; running through which, like a bright red thread through the labyrinth, is Viv Corringham’s astonishing spoken word vocal performance. A restless stream of consciousness that seems to have the primal urgency of a message delivered in a dream, Corringham mixes Delphic abstractions with bracingly lucid implorations, the whole performance delivered with such seamlessness that it’s hard to tell whether the lyrics are channeling the music or vice versa. The answer, of course, is both. -- - Viv Corringham / voice- Marcus Cummins / soprano and alto saxophones, ocarina, bells, shruti box- Dave Mandl / bass guitar- Stephen Moses / drums, percussion -- Recorded by George Taylor at Collect Pond Studio, New YorkMixed by Mario Viele at Excello Recording, BrooklynMastered by Oli Barrett in The Shrubbery, Somerset Thanks to: Aaron Moore, Michael Evans, George Taylor, Dann Baker / Hugh Pool / Mario Viele (Excello), David Watson, Ed Baxter.

Stuck Like Jane Austen – Time Trout

Captivating and deeply felt new audio work by Blanc Sceol, aka the duo of Stephen Shiell and Hannah White. Originally commissioned for broadcast on the deep sea 'Radio Amnion' sound project, the piece is written for and performed on the bespoke, one-of-a-kind Orbit instrument, designed and made by Stephen and Hannah in collaboration with master luthier Kai Tönjes. Over the course of thirty minutes the piece drifts and unfurls in an entrancing, enveloping flow, utilising the instrument's unique sonic qualities to create something truly special. This recording is Blanc Sceol's response to a commission from Jol Thoms to create a new audio work for the June edition of his deep sea sound project 'Radio Amnion', where, each month at the time of the full moon, the abyssal waters of Cascadia Basin resonate with the deep frequencies and voices of invited artists, relayed in the sea through a submerged neutrino telescope experiment’s calibration system. Through the duo's sound and ecology work with Surge Cooperative on the Channelsea river they have found connection to Abbey Mills pumping station, Joseph Bazalgette’s Victorian ‘cathedral of sewage’, his overground homage to the underground network of pipes, an operational site that still moves water and humanure beneath the city today. This audio work captures the spinning frequencies of the Orbit, recorded in the chambers of the sewer substation, to be played out to the depths of the deep sea, creating a poetic resonance between these sounds and spaces, a spell of connection between the clear, linear, progressive features of our engineered water networks and the dark, wet, yielding, cyclical unknowns of the deep sea, where the sub station searches for neutrinos and on the full moon translates human-made frequencies into light and vibration for the seafloor. The words in the piece are a series of ‘one word poems’ created by participants from Blanc Sceol's ‘Sonic Meditations with the Full Moon’ sessions over the last year. Working with moon time through our deep listening practice, and the tidal phases of the Channelsea river, Orbit coordinates these cyclical flows in celebration of the fullness of the cosmic body that holds the tension between the earth and its inhabitants, and gives us all rhythm. Orbit the instrument:The Orbit consists of a red cedar decagon body, the resonating chamber, which is spun by one set of hands, bringing rhythm and flow with the changing pace of the orbit, as the other hands hold a bow to the ten strings, seeking out the varying chords and harmonic frequencies. As the two work together so the orbit begins to sing and soar, a myriad of changing, whirling pitch shifting drones. In 2017 Stephen created a prototype instrument, inspired by Uakti’s ‘torre’ and Walter Smetak’s ‘Ronda’, a plastic barrel strung with ten strings and played by two people - one who turns the barrel, and one who holds a bow to the strings. Many years and many tweaks later, in early 2023 we finally collaborated with master luthier Kai Tönjes to create an upgraded version, and ‘Orbit’ was born. -- Mixed and mastered by Ian ThompsonCover design by Oli Barrett from photos by Joe Thoms Originally commissioned by and broadcast on Radio Anion:

Orbit – Blanc Sceol


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

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, an irreducibly plural de-composition of words into a heterogeneous 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

Solo Throat – Elaine Mitchener

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. 


Delighted to present a series of solo double bass improvisations and compositions from London-based musician, Caius Williams, recorded in March 2023. Across Gwannach's eight tracks Williams' playing spans a wide range of texture and tactility, that at times seems to conjure forth every bit of weight and heft of the instrument’s body and at other times barely seems to graze the strings. Williams gives the impression of being fully present in every aspect of the performance, with the recordings capturing each hiss and rasp of bow on string, each shift and knock of palm on (wooden) body; embracing all of these aspects as being just as much of the whole as the resultant vibration of the strings. There’s an undeniable abundance of technical prowess on display here, but this is no dry academic exercise, and the medium is never the totality of the message. Each of these tracks encompasses a broad swathe of approaches, from gritty fuzz and burr to harmonic-inflected lyricism, and an almost playful curiosity in approach that never feels forced. Above all you get the sense of a fully embodied performance, with each track being given just the right amount of space and depth that it requires. The 'weakness' of the album's title can, at times, stand in stark contrast to the physicality of the performances, but perhaps we shouldn't take this too literally. After all, the relative strength of a single strand of horsehair may not withstand much, but it can still bring forth as much beauty as can be found here. -- All music by Caius WilliamsSession engineered by William LydonMixed by Caius WilliamsMastered by Oli BarrettArtwork by Kit Derbyshire Thanks to Theo, Tara, and Noah for their advice, to Kit for the artwork, and a huge thanks to Abby Thomas, Oli Barrett, and OTOROKU. Special thanks to Tom Challenger for the support.

Caius Williams – Gwannach

First vinyl re-issue of Evan Parker’s duo with George Lewis. Transferred from the original masters, we discovered that the original Incus LP was cut at the wrong speed - and so, we present the first vinyl issue of the correct masters, or ‘mastas’ as Adam Skeaping, legendary engineer who is also responsible for Six of One and Compatibles, fondly calls them.  Skeaping, always working with the latest in recording technology for the time, has a knack for gaining access to remarkable spaces. Good spaces that were cheap because no one else had discovered them. The Art Workers Guild is a Georgian Hall in Bloomsbury, London, with lofty ceilings and hard wooden floors. It’s the perfect room to exercise an instrument to its full length, to ‘run the full length of the staircase’ in Parker's words. Two bells to ring off the floor and remain in dextrous, airy resonance. Recorded at 30ips on enormous reels, the recording captures all the fine filigree detail so celebrated on Parker’s later ‘Six of One’, though here we are treated to tenor as well as soprano, plus, of course, George Lewis’ trombone. Parker and Lewis first met at Moers festival, Lewis having just played excerpts of Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’ with Anthony Braxton. Living in Paris, it wasn’t so hard for a young Parker to invite him for a session on his new imprint, Incus. Though having been part of the AACM, toured with Count Basie and made records for Black Saint, this would be Lewis’ first foray into British improv, excited by the idea the Bailey and Parker were attempting to open up the notion of improvisation to include “the freshness of the immediate encounter”.  Lewis had not long recorded his solo LP, which mixes lively hints of Ellington and tender lyricism with total experimentation in three part overdubbed trombone. From Saxophone to Trombone veers towards his wilder end of technicality, and features some of Lewis’ rarer, starker improv - all avant garde burbles and bubbles, breath control and scalar flights. It’s a recording of two young masters, documented beautifully, and released for the first time on vinyl at its intended speed.  

Evan Parker and George Lewis – From Saxophone and Trombone

LP reissue of Collective Calls, the first duo LP from Evan Parker and percussionist Paul Lytton. Mythically alluded to as ‘An Improvised Urban Psychodrama In Eight Parts”, Collective Calls utilises electronics, pre-records and homemade instruments to wryly in/act self investigation. Having just recorded the cliff jumping Music Improvisation Company with Derek Bailey, Christine Jeffrey, Hugh Davies and Jamie Muir, Parker was at the point where [he] was thinking, ‘what’s the next thing?’ On Collective Calls, only the 5th release to appear on the newly minted Incus label, percussionist Paul Lytton arrives with an arsenal of sound making sources to push Parker into ever new territory. Recorded in the loft of The Standard Essenco Co on Southwark Street by Bob Woolford (Topography of the Lungs, AMM The Crypt), Collective Calls has more in common with noise or music concrete than with jazz; sitting comfortably alongside Italian messrs Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza or the husband-wife duo of Anima Sound. According to Martin Davidson, it was a Folkways record called Sounds of the Junkyard that Lytton was obsessed with around the time of this release - its track titles like “Steel Saw Cutting Channel Iron in Two Places” working to give you a good idea of the atmosphere of Collective Calls. Paul Lytton had encountered the use of electronics in music in 1968 when he was invited to play drums on the recording of An Electric Storm by White Noise (along with David Vorhaus, Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson). He had seen Hugh Davies using contact mics in the Music Improvisation Company, and soon set about assembling a Dexion frame akin to drummer John Stevens’, except that his own was armed with several single-coil electric guitar pickups, long wires and strings with connected foot-pedals to modulate pitch. Influenced as much by Stockhausen, Cage and David Tudor as he was by Max Roach and Milford Graves, Lytton’s percussion is abstract, expressionist and at times totally mutant. Sometimes rolling extremely fast, then screeching almost backwards over feedback, Lytton gives Parker room to play some of his weirdest work. Parker is listed as performing both saxophones, his own homemade contraptions, and cassette recorder - regularly thickening the already murky brew by playing back previous recordings of the duo. Imagining their set up in a 70s loft, it’s an assemblage more akin to what today's free ears might see at a Sholto Dobie show, spread out on the floor of the Hundred Years Gallery, the shadow of Penultimate Press lurking in a corner. It’s a testament to Parker’s shape shifting sound - the ever present link to birdsong being at its most warped here - terrifically free and unfussy, wild and loose from any of the dogma that might come in later Brit-prov years.

Collective Calls (Urban) (Two Microphones) – Evan Parker and Paul Lytton

Sholto Dobie puts forth ‘23’ on Infant Tree, his debut solo LP. A wildly accomplished document of practice. After many years spent working with pipes and air, ‘23’ offers us his current developments. Recorded in a year in which the artist worked in Lithuania, Vietnam and Sweden, the record distills a broad approach to sound, using a wide net to gather recordings from performances, gatherings, walks and personal life. Sholto carefully leads the listener between distinct environments and the intimately documented network of compressed air, tubes, reeds, flutes and timers which he works with. In these recordings, life is welcomed in, interiors are heard and felt, obscured voices, insects, forests drift in and out of focus, as we are transported through an unfamiliar landscape.Sholto Dobie was born in Edinburgh and lives in Vilnius, he performs with self-constructed wind instruments, using a frankenstein-like set up which has evolved over many years. An air pump is attached to a series of reeded and metal pipes from various sources - organs, bagpipes and khene - which are brought to life by an interrelated system of timer modules, valves and swinging microphones. ‘23’ captures the rich world of pulses, beatings and breaths that have emerged from Sholto’s performance settings, whilst weaving them into a distinct and unique audio work.For anyone more familiar with Sholto’s work you will no doubt be warmed by recognisably delicate and evocative styles reminiscent of previous solo recordings such as ‘Nevery’ and ‘The Ringer’ as well as influences from friends and collaborators such as Judith Hamann, Malvern Brume, Ahti & Ahti, Rie Nakajima and Shakeeb Abu Hamdan.The 12” LP comes with beautifully matched artwork by Zoë Annesley and printed on reverse board, pressed by Monotype Pressing. Limited to 300 copies. 

Sholto Dobie – 23

Michael Atherton is a writer, composer and educator from Sydney, Australia. Originally born in Liverpool, England, to Welsh-Irish and German parents, his family later migrated to Australia in 1965. Moving to the suburbs in La Perouse, he grew up in a mixed, multicultural community, where he fostered friendships with existing indigenous members and Iberian migrants. His formative migrant experience and his curiosity about vernacular, as well as notated music, led him to study music formally where he was attracted to ethnomusicology. From a self-taught guitarist to an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Michael’s recorded output spans many different genres and styles – he was a member of the Renaissance Players, an early music group; Sirocco, a pioneering cross-cultural folk group; and Southern Crossings, an innovative ethno-classical ensemble. By 1990, he had moved beyond his earlier musical endeavours, and away from Australia, with ‘Windshift’ seeing him draw on resources from the Asia-Pacific and Europe. With an impressive arsenal of instruments, such as the didjeridu, hurdy gurdy, kulintang, saron and jaw harp, to name but a few, Michael adds intense colour to the recordings using samplers, synths and modulating effects. Recently remastered by fellow Australian-based musician and engineer, Mikey Young, and visually re-imagined by Glasgow-based artist, Jamie Johnson, ‘Windshift’ is now presented once again by Infinite Expanse with a first-time reissue on vinyl.

Michael Atherton – Windshift

Pre-order for the forthcoming, much anticipated and absolutely killer new Still House Plants ‘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. releases April 12, 2024 Finlay Clark / guitar Jess Hickie-Kallenbach / vocals David Kennedy / drums

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

Reet’ is a lost treasure of late 1960s folk/psych-folk. The only album she ever put to tape, with clear pure voice and guitar. luckily recorded by Andres Raudsepp in 1969. Reet will be loved in the same breath as ;Sibylle Baier, Vashti Bunyan, Molly Drake & Bridget st John. Reet Hendrikson deserves wider listening and we hope this reissue will help . Reet Hendrikson was born in Estonia only months before the “great escape” into exile in 1944. Brought up and educated in Sweden, she went to study in the US in 1967 on a Fulbright scholarship, before she made her mark as an Estonian musician in Canada. While her arrangements of Estonian folksongs on the guitar reflected the styles of the sixties, her voice and choice of material sounded authentic and made a connection with ages past. When Hendrikson arrived in Canada in 1968 via the US, her Estonian was native-like because of the high quality of Estonian schools in Sweden. She was thus able to characterise the identity of young ex-patriate Estonians – especially those born in exile from Soviet occupation – in a new and meaningful way. A formal musical background allowed her to create the arrangements that accompanied her simple but pure singing voice. Having heard her under northern Muskoka pines at an Estonian summer seminar, it didn’t take Andres Raudsepp ( of raindeer records) long to bring her to a recording studio. “Reet – Estonian folksongs” appeared in 1969. Hendrikson soon found her way to the scholarly atmosphere of Boston where, as a multi-instrumentalist, she joined a group of musicians who favoured traditional folk music. Back in Sweden in the 1980ies, she was invited to join a scholarly society of Estonian young women, which she led during musical sessions. She visited Estonia as frequently as possible, trying in particular to be helpful to Estonian musicians by providing sheet music and much-needed repertoire from the Swedish National Radio Archives, where she worked for a while.. Reet Hendrikson died in Stockholm in the autumn of 2000. 

REET – Reet Hendrikson

LP / CD / Tape

Suikyō documents a first-time meeting between three Japanese improvisers: Takashi Masubuchi on guitar and harmonica; Ayami Suzuki on voice and electronics; and Tomo on hurdy-gurdy. Recorded at Permian on the 29th of January, 2023, it’s a stunning, forty-minute long improvisation of rare artistic sympathy. Notably, it was the first time the trio had performed together, though Masubuchi and Suzuki have prior form as a duo; on the evening itself, the trio performance was preceded by solo sets from Suzuki and Tomo, which served as a kind of introduction, of sorts, to the broader aesthetic visions of two of the musicians on Suikyō. Masubuchi, Suzuki and Tomo make for a fascinating trio, not only due to the shared musical sympathy that’s clear from their performance, but also due to their histories, and the way these dovetail on the music you hear on Suikyō. Masubuchi has recorded a number of stunning solo albums for guitar and has also improvised with a number of musicians: you can hear his responsiveness and thoughtful playing on albums alongside Suzuki, Taku Sugimoto, Straytone, Shizuo Uchida, Takahiro Kawaguchi, and more. Suzuki’s work for voice has been documented on several solo cassette releases, and in consort with Tetuzi Akiyama, Rob Noyes, Leo Okagawa, Aidan Baker and Tobias Humble. And Tomo’s music can be heard on a small clutch of solo CDs, as a member of Tetragrammaton and Archeus, and in collaboration with Junzo Suzuki. The way their instrumental voices meld together on Suikyō, though, is evidence of a capacity both to draw from these histories, and to take these collective knowledges to new places. And sometimes, unexpectedly old places: Masubuchi notes that his guitar on this set took him back to the rock and blues he used to play, perhaps in earlier groups like Pelktopia, which he suggests contributes to “the psychedelic mood” of Suikyō. Tomo’s hurdy gurdy matches this by pulling drones out of the air or allowing melodies to slowly morph and envelop the listener – their development, at times, reminds me of troubadour music from Occitanie. Suzuki’s presence is equally compelling and curious. Her voice is an eternally flexible instrument, and whether it sits unadorned within the soundworld magic’d into space by Masubuchi and Tomo, or slips between the cracks thanks to subtle use of electronic effects, it has a quality about it that is both otherworldly – at times, the voice soars and pirouettes – and thoroughly, deeply grounded, of this earth, a most human and intimate encounter. There is a lovely consort between Suzuki and Tomo, the voice and hurdy-gurdy shadowing each other: as Tomo notes, “the hurdy gurdy has been an instrument played to accompany singing since the Middle Ages.” For Suzuki, the performance was “psychedelic and hedonistic in a good way,” but it wasn’t simply given in to that experience: “we were at the same time looking at it from an objective point of view.” That feels like the right way to approach Suikyō: as a performance that both sets the mind and ears spinning, but with a careful, thoughtful, and considerate objectivity to its moment-by-moment development. It’s also incredibly gorgeous. As a first encounter, it’s surprising in both its comfort and its challenge: and as Masubuchi says, the playing together feels just the way it had to be: “instinctive, unintentional, and inevitable.” 

水鏡 Suikyō – Takashi Masubuchi – Ayami Suzuki - TOMO


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.

False Self plays music for six pianos – Rudi Arapahoe

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 end 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

Massimo Magee – Wormhole to Nowhere

Monumental and blistering X5 CD box via Fönstret - the publishing arm of John Chantler’s, Stockholm based Edition festival - capturin  أحمد [Ahmed] - the (not so) best kept secret in the landscape of contemporary free improvistation, over the course of five consecutive nights during the summer of 2022. [Ahmed] is the quartet of Pat Thomas (piano), Joel Grip (double bass), Antonin Gerbal (drums) and Seymour Wright (alto saxophone). Together, the group re-arrange and re-imagine in real time the music of composer, bassist and oud player Ahmed Abdul-Malik (1927-1993). Listening, learning. In the summer of 2022 they played five nights in a row at the fifth edition festival for other music. Fylkingen sweltering under a rare Stockholm heatwave. A different tune each night. Nights on Saturn Oud Blues African Bossa Nova Rooh (The Soul) El Haris (Anxious) Five discs in a big box. Giant Beauty. Wrapped in excavated photographic detail from Stockholm’s legendary Golden Circle club. “Every night the quartet brings a new song, takes it apart, puts it back together again, follows the music on unknown paths, sometimes back, sometimes not, but always remains in motion, flowing like a river in flood.” — Silvia Tarozzi [Ahmed] have played some of the tunes on Giant Beauty multiple times before, and revisit them here, ‘versioning’. Antonin Gerbal kicks things straight into high gear with the propulsive snap of Nights on Saturn’s opening beat (a then recent, now out of print LP on Astral Spirits) and they close out on the fifth day with El Haris (Anxious), the tune they played and recorded at their first public performance in a rural Swedish barn for Joel Grip’s Hagen-fest in 2016 (and later released as the now out of print LP New Jazz Imagination on Umlaut). The second night they played Oud Blues. A tune they’d done just the one time before but under radically different circumstances — a heaving, 600 strong dancefloor for Glasgow’s spirited Counterflows festival. That recording is also coming out now on a double LP via Astral Spirits as Wood Blues — but here they trade the raucous, ragged energy there for something more chiselled and focussed. Traces linger (a perfume) of the spare concentration in Éliane Radigue and Magnus Granberg’s music heard earlier that night. We also hear two new tunes that appear on record for the first time — the vibrant swing of African Bossa Nova giving way to the zoned in drone of Rooh (The Soul) the following night. Rooh opens with Joel Grip’s bass channelling cellist Abdul Wadud who died the same week and the performance is dedicated to him. No discussion. No plan. No solos. The end goal for [Ahmed] is an open, ongoing learning. An ongoing excavation of the past and re-imagination of a future music. It’s jazz but also not (only) jazz, forged through a deep commitment to a variety of musical methods and an appreciation of how the context of the music’s making informs, shapes and becomes what it is. It always comes back to time and space. The five-night residency as idea, history and lived reality provides further cause for investigation, food for thought and prompts for action. You can read Seymour Wright talking through these implications in the extended interview with Edition festival director John Chantler in the accompanying book. The images that appear on the outer covers of the box, discs and book are details of photographs taken at the Golden Circle, Stockholm in the mid 1960s: the outer cover by Christer Landergren, and the others by Leif Wigh during a Dexter Gordon residency in 1965. Looking back into these images of Stockholm-space that the music [Ahmed] made at Fylkingen seemed rooted or seeded in, we discovered that, fascinatingly, plants — rubber (Ficus elastica) and Swiss-cheese (Monstera deliciosa) — were resident in the Golden Circle’s very modern concrete-curtained-glass-and-metal space. They lived on-stage and in-audience as the music took place and grew across nights, days and weeks around, and about them. This unusual and unexpected (to us) organic, holistic musical, architectural, botanical, volatile balance seems to resonate with something that Abdul-Malik told Bill Coss in a 1963 interview for Downbeat: Really, a musician should be in excellent condition, physically, mentally, professionally and scientifically […] I have studied all the elements: animals, insects, plants, space - the universe - old and new jazz but most importantly the Creator. How can you play beauty without knowing what beauty is, what it really is? Understanding the Creator leads to understanding the creations, and better understanding of what you play comes from this. How can you understand fully without knowing the start, the continuation, and the ending? 

Giant Beauty – أحمد [Ahmed]

Beginning in 1974, based in New Zealand, the sound-performance group From Scratch used an evolving array of percussion instruments to create a distinctive rhythmic music, texturally rich and tonally sumptuous, making use of found and repurposed objects as well as custom-made percussion instruments. And while the music has a sophisticated, fluid and intelligent polyrhythmic drive, pitched percussion features prominently, using microtunings and just intonation in tightly structured pieces which evolve and mutate, making use of intricate interlocking of melodic and rhythmic elements. Given their Pacific identity, one can find similarities with a number of Asian Pacific musics; their music will appeal to open-eared listeners interested in such musics, and it will also intrigue admirers of the early work of Steve Reich and Terry Riley. Formed by Phil Dadson on his return to New Zealand following his late-60s involvement in the U.K. with Cornelius Cardew's Scratch Orchestra, Auckland's From Scratch embraced an egalitarian ethic, focusing on co-operation, integration, and the union of opposites. These principles are clearly heard in the music here, with all the players interlocking, with the music exploring and exploding the polarities of melody/rhythm, local/global, group/individual, minimal/maximal. These four tracks, ranging from 1974 to 1982 are propulsive and yet serene, percussive and yet sweetly tonal, and toe-tappingly alert, an immersive and distinctive soundworld. All tracks here are newly remastered from the original master tapes; "Passage" was their first recording and is previously unissued.

Five Rhythm Works – From Scratch

Incredible X3 CD Box of archival, Angus Maclise works,  fully restored and remastered by Jim O'Rourke in 2023. The 3CD box comes with a miniature poster, a sheet of track list, and each CD comes with a paper sleeve which reproduces the original cassette sleeve artwork. Angus MacLise, the first drummer for the Velvet Underground, was a poet, composer, and a member of The Theatre of Eternal Music alongside La Monte Young. The "Tapes" 3CD Box is the first-ever reissue of a 3-cassette compilation that Pleasure Editions originally released in 2015, limited to only 100 copies. The 3CD box set comes with a miniature poster and track lists, and each CD has a paper sleeve that reproduces the original cassette card artwork. This comprehensive 3CD box set is over three hours in length and includes session recordings with Tony Conrad and William Breeze (of Coil, Current 93, and Psychic TV), mystical recordings from the filming of Ira Cohen's "The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda" (1968), shortwave experiments, and sounds of Tibetan Buddhist monks recorded by MacLise. The "Tapes" compilation features excerpts from the archives of the Angus MacLise Papers, which are held at Columbia University Library. The archives contain over 100 hours of reel-to-reel tape recordings of live improvised music, theatrical performances, and sound experiments created by MacLise and his associates during the 1960s and 1970s. MacLise produced the original recordings in his own unique style, characterized by rough and peculiar editing. The release is curated and sequenced by Will Cameron and Mark Iosifescu.

Tapes – Angus MacLise

*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.

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

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.


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'Solos for _ _ _ _ spaces' is the debut release from London-based percussionist and sound artist Regan Bowering. Her music is created by placing snare drum, amplifiers and microphones in configurations which trigger volatile yet malleable flows of sound. Across these four tracks, percussion and amplifier feedback are carved into crescendos and diminuendos where coarse textures move in intricate constellations. The album charts this process travelling through different contexts, moving from live improvisations in a large, reverberant hall to micro-edited versions on a laptop. Bowering’s interest in feedback is an extension of research into how, historically, technology (such as mics, amplification, instrumentation, and recording processes) have affected the ways improvisers approach rhythm. “I wanted to explore ways to use the drums that extended beyond typical rhythmic gestures or the need to hit the drums to generate sound,” Bowering explains. “To create a continuous texture which doesn’t need continuous input. The unpredictability of feedback is what draws me to it. It’s similar to playing with another musician. Things can happen unexpectedly, just like in a group improvisation.” To our ears, touchstones for Bowering’s use of space and feedback could be Alvin Lucier, or perhaps even Ryosuke Kiyasu’s radical approach to percussion, amplification and setting. However, there are fluctuations between frenzy and gentleness, a sensitivity to mood and affect on 'Solos for _ _ _ _ spaces' which are uniquely hers. This is far more intricate than a simple bridging of minimalism, free-improvisation and electro-acoustic techniques. This is perhaps explained by some of the musicians that Bowering mentions having a long-running impact on her practice, from percussionist Seijiro Murayama to saxophonist, composer and Art Ensemble of Chicago founder Roscoe Mitchell. While their influence may not be explicitly audible in these four tracks, their unique approaches to texture, space and improvisation are undoubtedly present. Bowering treats what might typically be cacophonous – drums and feedback – with subtlety and nuance. “I like exploring the possibilities in feedback beyond just harshness, and drums beyond being loud and rhythmically dense,” she reflects. “The detail that’s possible. The emotional intensity you can get from different sounds. The feelings that come when you move between extremes, such as from loud and abrasive to almost silent. The feedback gives me a different set of colours to work with, a different material to carve as part of my sonic and rhythmic pallet as a percussionist.” System, organism, ecosystem – there’s a litany of metaphors which could be used to describe how her music is produced. All make sense, and all feel slightly inadequate. Her music originates in processes, but its realisation comes through liveness and response. Bowering manipulates the sound by bending drum skins to change pitch, moving mics to alter intensity. Striking the snare to trigger dramatic upheavals in the circuit. But her music is a balancing act, a compromise between her own actions and the context they’re happening in. “It’s a system I improvise within, but it’s also always affected by the space I’m playing in. The acoustics, the number of people in a room and if they move. How I’m feeling at the time. These subtle dynamics all affect the sound.” This variation is highlighted throughout the album. The recordings here document performances in vastly different settings. A reverberant hall at Goldsmith’s University. An intimate gig at Avalon Café where the audience enclosed Bowering, and on track 3, an empty studio. For the final track, a DAW is used to rearrange components from the preceding three into a new composition. Here feedback and drums enter the possibilities of another space, a computer, and the different means of response it offers. More than a live album, this tape charts a consistent practice applied to inconsistent contexts, capturing in real time how the outcomes are determined by the player, the moment and the situation. credits -- Mastered by Billy SteigerAll sounds by Regan Bowering.

Regan Bowering – Solos for _ _ _ _ spaces

The heavyweight trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O’Rourke and Oren Ambarchi return with their 12th and most epic release to date, the triple LP With pats on the head, just one too few is evil one too many is good that's all it is. Documenting the entirety of their final performance at the dearly departed Roppongi home of Tokyo underground institution SuperDeluxe in November 2018, the music spread across these six sides splits the difference between the guitar-bass-drums power trio moves and experiments with novel instrumentation that have defined the trio’s decade of working together. Containing some of the most delicate music the three have committed to wax since the gorgeous 12-string acoustic guitar and dulcimer tones of Only wanting to melt beautifully away is it a lack of contentment that stirs affection for those things said to be as of yet unseen (BT011), this wide-ranging release also offers up some of their most blistering free rock performances yet. The side-long opening piece finds Haino on a single snare drum in duet with O’Rourke on unamplified electric guitar, playing in the lovely post-Bailey vein heard on his classic 90s recordings with Henry Kaiser and Mats Gustafsson. Spiky dissonance and ringing harmonics interweave with flowing melodic fragments as Haino single-mindedly explores the resonance of the snare like an untutored Han Bennink. On ‘Right brain, left brain; right, left; right wing, left wing. Just how many combinations can be made from these?’, O’Rourke moves to synth and electronics, joined by Ambarchi on drums, who at first focuses on sizzle cymbals before hypnotic cycles of gentle tom rhythms combine with electronic burbles and flutters to suggest a dream collaboration between Masahiko Togashi and Jean Schwarz. Ambarchi’s percussion is then joined by Haino on wandering, overblown flute, before the man in black switches back to the snare for a bizarre, stuttering drum duet. For the first trio performance, Haino makes another new addition to his seemingly infinite catalogue of instruments, this time a homemade contraption he refers to as ‘Strings of Dubious Reputation’. Joined by O’Rourke on increasingly spaced-out electric guitar and Ambarchi on skittering percussion, Haino’s wonky, slack strings adds a definite ‘musique brut’ edge to this side-long performance, certainly one of the most enchantingly odd in the trio’s discography. When the group reconvene for the second set, spread out across the final three sides, they seem ready to breathe fire from the first instant. O’Rourke slashes distorted chords on the six-string bass, Ambarchi breaks into his signature irregular caveman thump, and Haino squeals and squawks on heavily delayed oboe before unleashing an overpowering electrical storm when he first picks up the guitar. For over half an hour, the trio pound out one of their most relentless performances, a constantly rearranging kaleidoscope of tortured fuzz guitar, insanely busy bass riffing and propulsive, tumbling drums. A hushed atmosphere initially reigns on the final long piece, given the mournful title ‘There are always things I wish to say but I can only convey them in this language August 6 August 9’. Haino’s clean guitar strumming calls up the shimmering tones of his PSF classic Affection, gradually building to a surging wall of sound, bass and drums lumbering through a roar of jet-engine guitar. Arriving in a deluxe trifold package with photos by Lasse Marhaug alongside inner sleeves with extensive live images, this epic release is perhaps the most remarkable document yet of this unique trio’s stamina and continuing inventiveness. 

With pats on the head, just one too few is evil one too many is good that's all it is - 3LP – Jim O'Rourke, Keiji Haino, Oren Ambarchi

The vocal duo of Moinuddin and Aminuddin Dagar (sometimes referred to as the ‘senior’ Dagar Brothers to distinguish them from their younger siblings, Zahiruddin and Faiyazuddin Dagar), belonged to the nineteenth generation of a family of musicians in which dhrupad tradition has been kept alive through patrilinear transmission, each generation undergoing a rigorous education of many years’ duration that can include singing up to twelve hours each day.Famed for the meditative purity of their approach to dhrupad, the Dagar Brothers helped to keep the tradition alive in the years after Indian independence in 1947, when the royal courts that had traditionally patronised dhrupad musicians were abolished. Many Western listeners were first introduced to dhrupad by the Dagar Brothers’ tour of Europe in 1964-65 and their LP in UNESCO’s ‘Musical Anthology of the Orient’ collection, both organised by pioneering musicologist and scholar of Indian culture Alain Daniélou. Documents from this tour are especially precious, as Moinuddin Dagar passed away in 1966. Berlin 1964 – The Lost Studio Recording (released alongside BT115, a newly discovered concert recording from the same trip) presents two unheard side-long performances in crystalline fidelity, recorded at the International Institute for Comparative Studies and Documentation in Berlin headed by Alain Daniélou. These stunning recordings were consigned to the archive because, as Peter Pannke explains in his liner notes, which recount his meeting with Danielou many years after these recordings were made, the tape ran out during ‘Raga Jaijaivanti’, which terminates abruptly soon after the entry of the pakhawaj.Accompanied only by Moinuddin’s wife Saiyur on tanpura and Raja Chatrapati Singh on pakhawaj (a large double-headed drum), the brothers present stunning performances of the severe, serious midnight ‘Raga Malkauns’, set to a ten beat cycle once the pakhawaj enters, and the complex early evening ‘Raga Jaijaivanti’, set to a fourteen beat cycle in its rhythmic section. True to the traditional dhrupad structure, both performances are dominated by the long free-floating alap section, where the notes of the raga are gradually introduced, slowly climbing in pitch and intensity as the two singers trade improvisations that display a stunning range of vocal tones and remarkable subtlety in mictrotonal nuance. The performance of ‘Raga Malkauns’ is divided roughly in half, with the pakhawaj and unison singing entering around thirteen minutes through; Raja Chatrapati Singh’s performance is particularly striking in its endlessly inventive metrical nuance within the overall crescendo and acceleration. On ‘Raga Jaijaivanti’, the alap lasts almost twenty minutes, with Singh joining only for a few minutes of sparse pakhawaj hits before the tape cuts off, the absence of the more active concluding section serving only to magnify the mystical calm the Dagar Brothers establish in this setting of a 16th century love poem.Illustrated with a striking full colour concert photograph, Berlin 1964 – The Lost Studio Recording is accompanied by extensive liner notes by Peter Pannke celebrating musicologist Alain Daniélou, whose study, documentation and promotion of dhrupad was so important for spreading awareness of this great musical tradition, ready to be discovered anew in this stunning recording from two of its master exponents.

Berlin 1964 - The Lost Studio Recording – Dagar Brothers

The vocal duo of Moinuddin and Aminuddin Dagar (sometimes referred to as the ‘senior’ Dagar Brothers to distinguish them from their younger siblings, Zahiruddin and Faiyazuddin Dagar), belonged to the nineteenth generation of a family of musicians in which dhrupad tradition has been kept alive through patrilinear transmission, each generation undergoing a rigorous education of many years’ duration that can include singing up to twelve hours each day.Famed for the meditative purity of their approach to dhrupad, the Dagar Brothers helped to keep the tradition alive in the years after Indian independence in 1947, when the royal courts that had traditionally patronised dhrupad musicians were abolished. Many Western listeners were first introduced to dhrupad by the Dagar Brothers’ tour of Europe in 1964-65 and their LP in UNESCO’s ‘Musical Anthology of the Orient’ collection, both organised by pioneering musicologist and scholar of Indian culture Alain Daniélou. Documents from this tour are especially precious, as Moinuddin Dagar passed away in 1966. Unheard until now, Berlin 1964 – Live (released alongside BT114, a newly discovered studio session from the same trip) documents a concert held at the Charlottenburg Palace in September 1964.Accompanied only by Moinuddin’s wife Saiyur on tanpura and Raja Chatrapati Singh on pakhawaj (a large double-headed drum), the brothers present stunning performances of two ragas stretching out over 65 minutes, exemplifying what a journalist at the time called the ‘pristine severity’ of their style. Much of each piece is taken up by the alap, the highly improvised exposition section where the notes of the raga are gradually introduced as the singing builds in intensity. As Francesca Cassio points out in her extensive liner notes, both performances are somewhat unorthodox in beginning with the raga scale being sung in its entirety, ascending and descending; this is probably, as she suggests, a strategy to introduce the European audience to the language of the music they are about to hear. From there, both ragas settle into alaps of breathtaking beauty, with the two brothers trading long solo passages that move gradually from extended held notes at the bottom of the scale to animated melodic variations as it ascends in pitch. Within the atmosphere of meditative attention, the range of melodic, rhythmic, and timbral invention is remarkable. Especially on the opening ‘Rāga Miyān kī Todī’, the final moments of the alap find the voices at a peak of intensity, their microtonal ornamentation taking on an ecstatic, warbling quality. Only once the wordless, free-floating alap is over and the composition proper begins to the brothers sing in unison, joined by the pakhawaj for a rhythmic section that in both ragas develops gradually into a propulsive display of melodic invention and metrical nuance. Accompanied by detailed liner notes and striking archival images, Berlin 1964 – Live is a rare document of these masterful exponents of one of the world’s most profound musical traditions. 

Dagar Brothers – Berlin 1964 - Live

Black Truffle is pleased to announce its first release from celebrated London-based Canadian composer Cassandra Miller. Though her body of mature work stretches back almost twenty years, many listeners were introduced to Miller through the success of her astonishing 2015 Duet for Cello and Orchestra, which sets an imperturbable two-note cello part against a series of increasingly dense orchestrations of an Italian folk melody; in 2019, it was selected by The Guardian as one of the ‘best classical music works of the 21st century’. Traveller Song / Thanksong, the first release of her music on vinyl, presents a pair of compositions for voice and ensemble that exemplify Miller’s gently absurd, strikingly beautiful, and utterly unique work.Like many of Miller’s compositions, these pieces originate in existing music. Traveller Song (2016/2018) begins from a 1950s song of an anonymous Sicilian cart driver recorded by Alan Lomax and Diego Carpitella, which Miller recorded herself singing along to, going on to then record herself singing to her own layered voices. Miller’s untutored voice is an unsteady, wavering wail that has, in her words, ‘more in common with a quasi-shamanistic keening than anything Sicilian’. Heard sometimes alone, sometimes layered, her pre-recorded voice is accompanied by a chamber sextet drawn from London’s Plus-Minus Ensemble. In the first section, Miller’s exposed warble is set to a spare piano accompaniment, somehow both faintly preposterous and magisterial. Following the voice note for note, the piano part often makes use of almost mechanical sequences of parallel chords, reminiscent both of Satie’s Rosicrucian period and the abrupt harmonic movements of a chord organ. The orchestration then opens up to guitar, clarinet, and sliding strings, a delicate environment for Miller’s voice, which, especially when it begins to be layered, generates a powerful sense of intimacy. In its concluding minutes, the folk roots of the original melody return in the form of a glorious full ensemble setting dominated by accordion, clarinet, and strummed guitar.Thanksong begins from recordings of Miller singing along to the third movement of Beethoven’s late quartet in A minor (Op. 132), the ‘holy song of thanks’ the composer wrote to express his gratitude for (temporarily) recovering from illness. Recording herself singing along repeatedly to each of the individual parts of the quartet, Miller created an aural score where each member of the string quartet listens to their own part on headphones, playing by ear. Performed on this recording by Montreal's Quatuor Bozzini, with whom Miller has a decades-long relationship, they are joined by the British soprano Juliet Fraser, who sings material from the Beethoven quartet ‘as slowly and quietly as possible’. The atmosphere of the opening of Beethoven’s Dankgesang, of hushed reawakening and thoughtful reflection, is sustained throughout the fourteen minutes of Miller’s piece, building at points almost to sentimentality before the five individual parts again fall back into a gentle burble of unsynchronised melodic gestures. Like Traveller Song, here the use of the voice is a long way from the mannered performance of much contemporary music, reaching for a human and bodily presence more connected to the reality of the everyday, albeit suffused with wonder. Presented in a stylish sleeve adorned with photography by Lasse Marhaug and liner notes by Cassandra Miller, this is a key release from a major contemporary composer whose work challenges and dazzles in equal measure. 

Cassandra Miller – Traveller Song / Thanksong

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 if you have any queries, otherwise we will drop you a line after purchase to arrange delivery when possible.