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Please note that whilst postage costs are included in the price of these items, 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.

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

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Double CD documenting the magic meeting of one of the all-time great rhythm sections in jazz: percussionist Hamid Drake and bassist William Parker, with London’s brilliant Black Top (Orphy Robinson and Pat Thomas) and Elaine Mitchener. Across two sets the quintet are infectiously energetic and inspired, striding from synchronised heavy groove to star bright solos, whilst incorporating dub effects, guimbri and sumptuous blues piano playing.  Formed by Orphy Robinson and Pat Thomas but always realised with an ever changing number of invited musicians, Black Top's blend of lo-fi samples, dub effects and experimental electronics has been daring free improvisation since 2011. Their virtuoso performances draw on their Afro-Caribbean roots with delicious spontienty and humour; the histories of Ridley Road Market, the LIO and Islamic West Africa are sounded out side by side on iPad, marimba and vibraphone. Having met in 2006, Black Top played with bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake as part of their residency at Cafe OTO in 2016; forming a quartet grounded in transatlantic kinship but which looked outward to the Carribean, calypso music and Saharan gnawa rhythms. When Parker and Drake returned to OTO in 2019 Black Top reformed again, but this time with the brilliant addition of vocalist Elaine Mitchener.  Over the last few years the clarity with which Mitchener has explored vocal expression in the global Black Avant Garde has been stunning, but here the range in her influences is manifest, moving effortlessly between phonetic and poetic experimentation and spoken word, all the while at ease with soul soaked jazz and dissonant free fall. A hand drum duet with Hamid Drake astonishes before being laced perfectly with cosmic theremin and Parker’s fantastic acid shehnai.  --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Sunday 28th July 2019 by Paul Skinner and mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photos by Dawid Laskowski and artwork by Oliver Pitt. 

Black Top Presents: Hamid Drake / Elaine Mitchener / William Parker / Orphy Robinson / Pat Thomas – Some Good News

Takuroku

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

how do i get / from a to b / from a to base /from a to u / a to be / a to base / a to aide /aide to base / base to brr / base to / br /base to breath / hh / arbours / arbr / hh /another great / unhoming From A to B Sonoscura’s slow, immersive soundtrack of voices, landscapes, and spoken text is organised into five connecting and echoing parts. The meandering energy creates inner repose and sharpened awareness. It was conceived and created in response to the eerie and brutal global confinement of Spring 2020. One of the pieces reframes Caroline Bergvall’s online public writing event Night & Refuge between five UK-based poets, live on zoom and twitter across five timezones, 20 May 2020, 6.00PM- 9.00PM BST. Sonoscura was also developed as a film-poem, filmed by Andrew Delaney and commissioned by Planet P berlin: lockdown version 21. poesiefestival berlin. Premiered online, 9 June 2020. -- Written, created, performed, recorded, edited, and produced during the Spring 2020 lockdown.Mixed and mastered by Jamie Hamilton. Produced by Caroline Bergvall. Cover image: Andrew Delaney, video-still from film-poem Sonoscura. Thank you to the poets and all the voices for their contributions. Special thanks: Jamie Hamilton, Andrew Delaney, Matthias Kniep, Michaela Freeman, Harriet Cook, Angharad Cooper, Erin Moure, Fielding Hope. Caroline Bergvall 2020A Sonic Atlas Project

Caroline Bergvall – SONOSCURA

OTOROKU

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

Pat Thomas is one of the most extraordinary pianists of our time. In a first time duo with saxophonist Matana Roberts, the lyricism of his distinctly dexterous and curious approach to the piano paints pathways for Robert’s poignantly vocal saxophone. Together the two speak; locked grooves and neat switchbacks on the keys form dialogue with long deliberate lines on the alto, punctuated by Roberts’ ecstatic vocalisations.  The trio of improvised pieces which make up the record’s first side are rich phrases, pitched at each end of the piano and stretched and pulled by Pat. His simple, repetitive cycles yield space and colour for Robert’s song, then let sounds build to a flourish; an armed run on the keys and some wonderfully soft landings.    The second side, a whole part in itself, goes deeper - hammered armfuls of piano and torn top breath blasting from Roberts fall in a flutter of delicate keystrokes. Call and response halves collide in a wonderful thunder before finding the edge of another line to hang onto. There is a remarkable sense of purpose, precision and restraint at play, as well as a peaceful milieu, which no doubt stems from the two players' fierce individual intelligence, creativity and curiosity.  The record arrives housed in a screen printed Kraftboard sleeve, die cut to reveal photographs taken by Dawid Laskowski and Fabio Luguro. Mastered by Giuessepe Ielesi who also mastered Pat Thomas’ The Elephant Clock of Al Jazari, we pressed this on 180g black vinyl. You can’t press a work called ‘The Truth’ on much less, can you? --- Pat Thomas / piano Matana Roberts / saxophone --- Recorded by James Dunn live at Cafe OTO on the 8th December 2018. Mixed by James Dunn and mastered by Guiseppe Ielasi. Photographs by Dawid Laskowski and Fabio Lugaro. Design and layout by Maja Larrson. 

The Truth – Matana Roberts & Pat Thomas

Originally recorded and released in 1980, "Six of One" beautifully captures the detail in Evan Parker's high frequency split tones for which he is now perhaps better known. Five years on from "Saxophone Solos" and with circular breathing and polyphonics well worn into his live performances, Parker's experimentations here produce sustained passages of brilliant flight. Set into the echoes and resonances of a St Judes On The Hill church, the results are stunning.  "The recital commences with a split tone line of twining sine waves that expand and contract in telepathic collusion. Pitch dynamics narrow and redefine themselves more emphatically on the second piece where sliding legato rivulets born of Parker’s compartmentalized tonguing create the sonic semblance of up to three separate voices emanating from the single reed speech center. It’s a feat he’s accomplished innumerable times since, but every fresh hearing never fails to open an aperture into a style of improvisatory expression that is at once wholly alien and intensely mesmerizing. There’s also something strangely subterranean about the flood of sounds, like the rush percolating water through an underground aquifer system enroute to unknown tributaries. The third piece trades tightly braided tones for leaner and more linear phrases, but a vaporous trail of phantom notes still clings to the central line. And so it goes, with the illusion of repetition guiding the momentum, though Parker never explicitly repeats himself." - Derek Taylor, All About Jazz Transferred from the original master tapes and released in an edition of 500. 

Evan Parker – Six of One

OTOROKU is proud to reissue Evan Parker's first solo LP "Saxophone Solos". Recorded by Martin Davidson in 1975 at the Unity Theatre in London, at that time the preferred concert venue of the Musicians' Co-operative, Parker's densely woven and often cyclical style has yet to form; instead throaty murmurs appear under rough hewn whistles and calls - the wildly energetic beginnings of an extraordinary career.  Reissued with liner notes from Seymour Wright in an edition of 500.  --- "The four pieces across the two sides of Saxophone Solos – Aerobatics 1 to 4 – are testing, pressured, bronchial spectaculars of innovation and invention and determination. Evan tells four stories of exploration and imagination without much obvious precedent. Abstract Beckettian cliff-hanging detection/logic/magic/mystery. The conic vessel of the soprano saxophone here recorded contains the ur-protagonists: seeds, characters, settings, forces, conflicts, motions, for new ideas, to delve, to tap and to draw from it story after story as he has on solo record after record for 45 years. ‘Aerobatics 1-3’ were recorded on 17 June 1975, by Martin Davidson at Parker’s first solo performance. This took place at London’s Unity Theatre in Camden. ‘Aerobatics 4’ was recorded on 9 September the same year, by Jost Gebers in the then FMP studio in Charlottenburg, Berlin. Music of balance and gravity, fulcra, effort, poise and enquiry. Sounds thrown and shaken into and out of air, metal and wood. It is – as the titles suggest – spectacular." - Seymour Wright, 2020.

Evan Parker – Saxophone Solos

Vi Är Alla Guds Slavar is the latest missive from the long-running duo pairing of Mats Gustafsson (The Thing, Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, etc) and Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth, Chelsea Light Moving, Dream/Aktion Unit, etc). Thurston had first come across Mats' playing on a duo disc with Barry Guy and had assumed he was one of those older beardy European improv guys - Remember this was before the internet and everyone knew everything. Their first actual meeting goes back to the early 90s at Blue Tower Records in Stockholm (now Andra Jazz - arguably the greatest jazz record store in the world) on one of Thurston's frequent soundcheck-skipping discaholic binges. The young guy behind the counter was blowing his mind with side after side of crazy rare jazz, test pressings, acetates and more. Running late, he offered Thurston a lift to the gig and en route asked if there was any particular records he was looking for. "There is this sax player - Mats Gustafsson - I'm looking for some of his stuff" "That's me" says the young guy - and there started an intense friendship that has manifested intself in music through their discaholics anonymous trio (with Jim O'Rourke), Gustafsson's large scale HIDROS 3 composition for Sonic Youth and much more besides… You can watch a video interview with Thurston where he tells the story of their first meeting here:

Mats Gustafsson & Thurston Moore – Vi Är Alla Guds Slavar

It makes less sense to say that Maths Balance Volumes formed in 2002 than to say that, since that year, they have been collapsing into something, again and again. Just as the three members fell together with no plan or allegiance to any style or genre, each track falls together as the broken pieces of songs and sounds meet to make a temporary and frightening whole. Things make their way into a Maths Balance Volumes song when they don’t or won’t work anymore, when they have escaped their owner, or hidden away where nobody is supposed to find them. When things fall together—when the wooden creaks and radio hisses gather for a minute alongside bass lines and melancholy voice—there is a beauty that sounds like it was made by nobody and for nobody. The city of Mankato, Minnesota has been the steady gathering point for the band since its beginnings. Mankato had always provided an ominous backdrop: built on stolen Dakota land, the city was the site of the largest mass execution in US history, when 38 Dakota prisoners were hanged on in 1862 in a straightforward act of genocide. But in their music of the past twelve years, Maths Balance Volumes has made music in and of a hometown overshadowed and unsettled by its history, music for a world in which things have never been okay. Traditional American folk genres seep in at times, but never as the incarnation of a living popular culture—only as ghosts or unliving effigies. A Year Closer tells us already in its title what its theme is: approaching death, time ticking away and getting closer with each track of the record. We are told in the first song that our protective mask isn’t working, warned by the storm clouds and a ticking bedroom clock in “Dark Skies.” We hear fears of death approaching in the sad words exchanged by lovers who see they will run out of time, or already have, as in “We Had Time” or the romantic lament of “When I Drink.” In “Work Last Monday,” all of life passes with cold automatism in an “office apartment,” as a narrator broods over early onset dementia, remembers the details of rituals for respecting the dead, and thinks of how a hole is opening up in reality itself. The singer of “Over the Hill” isn’t apparently afraid of growing older and becoming a “man,” but only leaks a few disjointed details of his plans for disappearing, collapsing, turning into a tree, and finding a home. “Angel of Mercy” tries to resurrect the Christian promise of a life after death, anxiously asking if anyone is up there waiting for us after the oblivion of this world. But these are just the moments when A Year Closer speaks in words clear and audible enough to be understood. The giddy, agitated voice of “The Price” speaks only to itself in a private language, hidden away in a tin can somewhere. Musically, A Year Closer is a series of pieces that make symphonies out of separate processes of decay and disappearance: unidentified cracking and creaking objects, broken equipment, and lost melodies that seem to have escaped other songs and wandered into the room looking for a place to hide. These are the moments that the listener of Maths Balance Volumes always knows are coming, waits for, and settles in temporarily for a moment of repose. Maybe this is the meaning of A Year Closer: while waiting for the worst, things come together, a “we” with no name but with a rhythm, a tenuous but definite harmony to share as the clock ticks. Even if, when the lights are turned on, it turns out nobody was there. – Paul Buchholz

Maths Balance Volumes – A Year Closer

Fantôme Phonographique present a reissue of Speech After The Removal Of The Larynx, originally released by Smithsonian Folkways in 1964. The larynx or voice box is a small organ located towards the top of the neck in humans and some other animals. Constructed largely of cartilage, it houses the vocal folds that allow for the manipulation of pitch and volume, which are essential for the phonation of spoken speech. It is also involved in bringing air to the lungs when you breathe and it protects the windpipe when you swallow. However, those unfortunate to experience the potentially fatal malignant tumors of laryngeal cancer will have their larynx removed, resulting in a traumatic loss of speech; thankfully, as this rare record issued by Smithsonian Folkways in 1964 demonstrates, removal of the larynx does not necessarily spell the end of speech for such blighted individuals. Instead, through developments in artificial voice creation, patients could learn to employ modes of vocal communication again. The album was recorded by physician Harm A. Drost at the Phonetic Laboratory of the Ear, Nose, and Throat Dept. of the University Hospital, Leiden, in the Netherlands, working under the direction of Professor H. A. E. van Dishoeck. As the advances were fairly new and surprisingly varied, Drost felt a phonograph album demonstrating the techniques would be useful for those in the field. The album thus features a narrator explaining aspects of several different techniques, followed by examples of patients employing them. Buccal speech (limited to certain consonants), parabuccal speech (collecting air in a space between the upper jaw and the cheek), glosso-pharyngeal speech (a method deemed obsolete where air is forced between the tongue and the palate), esophageal voice (made by reconditioning one's esophagus via swallowing, suction, or injection), various injection techniques and devices such as the larynxophone, pipa di tichioni, and "western electric" are all explored here, along with other aspects of the larynx and its absence. Speech After The Removal Of The Larynx is definitely one of the strangest albums ever given a commercial release

V/A – Speech After The Removal Of The Larynx

Following his first record on Rekem (Fullness of Harmony... Rekem 08), Panos Charalambous returns with a double vinyl collection that compiles a wide amount of sound and material within its four sides of vinyl. On top of recordings of his performances -where existing records are brought alive using objects from nature as cartridges- this album collects field recordings, performance and installation documentations. In addition, Charalambous has included a number of contributions from other artists, which he uses to compliment and contrast his own material and actions. Bringing together –amongst others- Mike Cooper & Tasos Stamou’s London Taximi, midnight recordings of jackals captured on Greece’s Mount Athos, Aggelos Krallis’ raw take on Misirlou, a rhythmic dance on glass cups under the distant sounds of a country festival, as well as voice-o-graph records containing voices and immigrant stories from the 50s, Charalambous pieces together a rich and manifold sound mosaic, reinstating neglected or unknown voices from the Balkan peninsula. Focusing both on content and sonic atmosphere, he manages once more to bring together the disparate and distant elements of the land, and to draw out a parallel ethnography and rapprochement of the local aural tradition. Building upon this aspect, the physical edition includes, amongst others, a pamphlet featuring an essay by Thanasis Moutsopoulos on the secret post-war history of folk music in Greece.

Panos Charalambous – An Eagle Was Standing

Back in the early 2000s, after locating those first Moondog 78s, and adding them to the mix at Honest Jons, assembling the compilation that became The Viking of Sixth Avenue, was a kind of musical cloud nine - a voyage of discovery, attempting to chart the worlds that Moondog had created. Now it's Spring again - as winter encroaches - and Mississippi expose us to some never before heard material. It's killer grade, recorded by yet another genius, Tony Schwartz, the pioneering Folkways field recordist, the first man to record Louis Hardin, aka Moondog, who in the 1950s also recorded a day in the life of a dog [canine variety] and a New York cab driver, among many others.Behold! A survey of Moondog’s earliest recorded works - many of them unreleased until now - through a collaboration by Mississippi Records and Lucia Records. From 1954 - 1962 field recordist Tony Schwartz frequently checked in with Moondog, his favorite street musician. Tony Schwartz made recordings of Moondog’s earliest compositions as they were coming into focus. Sometimes these recordings were made right on the street as Moondog busked, sometimes they were made in Schwartz’s studio, and sometimes they were made on NYC rooftops. The resulting recordings, many of which had never been released, were deposited at the Library Of Congress as part of the Tony Schwartz Collection in 2006 when Schwartz passed away, and this record was culled straight from these original tapes.Side one kicks off with an unreleased version of Moondog’s classic composition “Why Spend The Dark Night With You?” followed by the first ever complete recording of his “Nocturne Suite,” a beautiful piece of classical music performed with members of the Royal Philharmonic. The side ends with the complete “On The Streets Of New York” 7” EP, which was released on Mars records in 1955 and subsequently re-released by Honest Jon’s Records in 2004 on their excellent Moondog anthology. Side B features sketches of Moondog compositions never released, many with the man himself howling and chanting over his homemade percussion set.Moondog’s music is as universal as it gets - part classical music, part Native American, part European folk, and part something completely unique. Moondog is one of the towering figures of 20th century music. This record comes with liner notes featuring never before released interviews with Moodog by Tony Schwartz and is housed in an old school “tip on” cover. All tracks fully licensed from the Library of Congress.

Moondog – On The Streets Of New York

OTO wishes you all a great time over the festive period. To celebrate People Like Us have treated us to this special Holiday Mix. Available for free download. Enjoy! Tracklisting: Matthijs Vlot - HelloLionel Richie on HeliumPeople Like Us and Wobbly - HelloThe Evolution Control Committee - HelloAnimals Within Animals - HelloAE - Tape Cuts HelloKen Nordine - HelloThe Evolution Control Committee - HelloCurd Duca - Cassettedʳᶤᵖ⁻₁₃₃ - ·•● flexButtress O’Kneel - The Britney Spears RecordsButtress O’Kneel - RhapsodyWΔll Flowers - Subliminal RomanceNew Dreams Ltd Initiation Tape - PSR41Limahl - The NeverEnding Story (Indecorum Vaporized)Buttress O’Kneel - NeverendingButtress O’Kneel - Rhapsodybd594 - Bohemian RhapsodyButtress O’Kneel - Martian RhapsodyLes Baxter - Lunar RhapsodyThe Evolution Control Committee - Spandau FiletErgo Phizmiz - Welcome AudioOtomo Yoshihide - TEACGwilly Edmondez - Break Up The PieceRoy Smeck - Waltz Of YesteryearBBC Radiophonic Workshop - Christmas CommercialAelters - Pal-Xmas Cheap GiftDJ BC - Jesu Joy Of Man's DesiringSvein Tuba Johannessen - Oh. What A MealStimmhorn - SchneeGeorge Winston - Skating (Remastered 1996)Unknown - ChariotsAdam Bohman - At HomeVoicedude - Santa Benz Rank Sinatra - Last ChristmasGoulburn Poultry Fanciers Society - Last ChristmasAdam Bohman - At HomeVince Guaraldi - SkatingAntzz - CrimboThe Kleptones - A Night At The Hip Hopera (excerpt)Blood Brothers - Under PressurePeople Like Us & Gwilly Edmondez & Hearty White & Caterina Robertson - BoxesPeople Like Us - ForeverL'Atome - The Air Beneath My MaskLuiz Henrique - Mas Que NadaDirt Bike Boy - Dolce Vita Felicity Glitch MixMatmos - SchwittUrsGwilly Edmondez - Grevious Bodily CharmChristo Graham - Muppet Christ Superstar

People Like Us – Holiday Mix

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The sound of the violin is a product of tension and release; the hair of the bow pulls back the violin’s string over and over again and, when the tension gets too great, it releases. The resulting vibration disturbs the air around it which travels in waves, exciting our ear drums and becoming sound. This confrontation of energy with air—the alternation of potential and kinetic energy—occurs over and over again in microcosm: catching, holding, tensing, and releasing. As listeners, however, we only perceive glorious sound. If there’s an efficient way of summing up Samara Lubelski, it’s these two words: glorious and sound. But, in a deeper sense, her music also amplifies the micro-process of the sounding process of the violin: the specific joys of tension, release, and every possible gradation between the two. The tension contained in each sound on Partial Infinite Sequence is not disturbing or stressed. That kind of sound is satisfying but too easy. Instead, it feels like that split second after you trip on the sidewalk. Your body could go in any direction, and every outcome is possible. Your pulse quickens. If you were able to freeze that moment in time and live in it the elation of the unknown would be overwhelming. Samara makes that split-second feeling exist for two sides of an LP. And yet, this music also brings comfort. The tense feeling of elation lives distinctly side-by-side with a knowledge that this music is correct and fits that gap in your world that has been carved out exactly for it. It’s satisfying. It’s the feeling after you trip, the moment that you realize you’re safe, and that you found some grace in stumbling. There are few recordings that have struck me as having this particular quality of having this level of profound tension, stasis, and release mixed, but not diluted by linear cause and effect. Ellen Fullman’s The Long String Instrument is one, as is Charles Curtis playing Naldjorlak I. These are special recordings—examples of a sensitive human being coming to a deep understanding of what they want to say with an instrument while exposing that instrument’s essence in sound. It’s a life event to find a record like that, and I’m happy that I’ve found another. --Nate Wooley NYC 2020 -- Samara Lubelski - violin -- Bill Nace - cover art Layout - Bill Nace & Rosali Middleman

Samara Lubelski – Partial Infinite Sequence

Bill Nace and Graham Lambkin first played together in Fall 2018, in Kentucky, behind plastic. In that performance, they sometimes played the same instrument at the same time. Time passed, then they recorded this album in Fall 2019, in London. I was told that an acoustic guitar, a cymbal and tapes were used in the recording and I have no reason to doubt that. There are also voices, birds, a room, the outside world...; a bow is used. Bill & Graham both deal in different kinds of tension & discomfort and while this album is both like & unlike what I've heard from either of them, it is somewhat remarkably laid-back. Though there are separate and distinct tracks, they flow into each other organically. Not without some jagged interruptions - in fact, many of the tracks *announce* themselves with a sudden cough, squeak or scrape - but the field recording aspects (passing cars, a siren, some banter) act as a leitmotif holding things together, adding a casual ambiance that *almost* invites a casual listen. But it is deceptive in that way. It is not a hermetic recording. As much as it doesn't exclude the sounds of the outside world, it also lies open to interpretation. Themes recur just enough to create a connective tissue that frames some of the more seemingly disparate elements. Brief fragments of conversation invite the mind to try to understand and create its own narrative; a pizzicato, modal folksong played on guitar, then played back on tape at the end of Side A has a reprise midway through Side B; hints of ancient music are bowed or chanted... This is not a tapestry without thread, but you've also got to bring some of your own. -- Greg Kelley Somerville MA 2020 -- Recorded / Mixed at LHSH London, England 2019 Photo by Folding Image Profile Ltd Layout by Rosali Middleman & Bill nace 2020Opem Motuh Records 2020 OM67

Bill Nace & Graham Lambkin – The Dishwashers - download

Fragile strength is what i've been Radiant resilience Changing before your very eyes Though often unseen- (from 'Trilogy') As Takuroku hits the milestone of 100 releases over the past 6 months, we couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than a debut solo release (yes, the first ever!) by Maggie Nicols. Maggie has been a familiar name around OTO over our 13 year history, lending her voice and talents to a series of unforgettable performances, including a session with Joëlle Leandre and Roger Turner, which remains one of our favourite archived live performances to this day. While she might be best known as an improviser, most notably in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Feminist Improvising Group and more recently with the likes of 'Les Diaboliques', her talents stretch into song, dance, poetry, performance and composition. This release, modestly recorded on her computer after teaching herself how to use Garageband during lock-down, brings forth her doubts, anxieties, loves and desires in a 13-part musical journey. Webbed through piano ballads, playful improvised ditties, stories, poetry and multi-layered vocal arrangements, 'Creative Contradiction' feels like a long-overdue catch up with a close friend. There's reminiscing, there's laughter, there's tears, there's chatter that floats on and off topic, there's things shared you don't feel comfortable sharing with others. When the world around us makes these sorts of relationships difficult or rendered void, intimacy through art can feel like an act of generosity: a hand outstretched in the darkness. Thank you Maggie for gifting us just that. --  Maggie Nicols:  voice, piano, electric keyboard and ceremonial drum    -- Recorded at home in 2020Mastered by Oliver Barrett Photo from a workshop a ‘Learning, Transformation and Technique weekend at ‘Hecate’s Haven' What needs Nourishing’ guided by Portia Wintersduring Additional musicians on Track 8:  Katerina Koblizek - voice & Olitar (guitar made out of a Palestinian Olive oil can by cellist and guitarist Steve Moyes)  Ludek Salac - guitar

Maggie Nicols – Creative Contradiction: Poetry, Story, Song & Sound

Silvia Tarozzi, inspired by the poet Alda Merini and her studies with composer Garret List, worked with intimate personal history to write songs of love, motherhood, and the mystery hidden behind the curtain of everyday life. Over the course of nearly a decade, Tarozzi practiced setting the poetry of Alda Merini to music and then replacing it with her own to reflect her own life experiences. As a result, ‘Mi specchio e rifletto’ feels both poetic and earnestly autobiographical.A longtime collaborator of Eliane Radigue and a talented free improvisor, Tarozzi inspires as sensitive awareness while echoing progressive music forebearers. Past masterpieces reverberate throughout: the gentle chamber explorations of Penguin Cafe Orchestra, the science fiction of Franco Battiato’s 'Fetus', the abstract free jazz flourishes of Maria Monti’s 'Il Bestiario', the sweetness of Caterina Caselli’s 'Primavera'.As a solo performer, Tarozzi has collaborated with composers Eliane Radigue, Pascale Criton, Cassandra Miller and Martin Arnold. In duo with Deborah Walker, and as a member of Ensemble Dedalus, she has worked with Christian Wolff, Jürg Frey, Michael Pisaro, Catherine Lamb, Sébastien Roux, and many others. She previously released Philip Corner 'Extreemizms: early & late' on Unseen Worlds in 2018.  --- Silvia Tarozzi, voice, violin, keyboards, piano, casio sk-8, midi keyboards, slide guitars, accordion, field recordingsEdoardo Marraffa, tenor and sopranino saxDomenico Caliri, electric and acoustic guitarDeborah Walker, celloEnrico Lazzarini, double-bassVincenzo Vasi, electric bassCaterina Romano, flute, piccoloJessica Colarelli, clarinetTiziano Popoli, pianoValentina Malanot, voiceMusic and lyrics by Silvia TarozziRecorded and pre-mixed by Enzo Cimino between December 2015 and February 2016 at Vignola (home studio) and Bologna (SoundLab studio) and by Tiziano Popoli in January 2019 at Vignola (Popoli home studio), Italy.Mixed and mastered by Bob Drake between June 2016 and October 2019 at Studio Midi-Pyrénées, La Borde Basse (Caudeval), France.“Mi specchio e rifletto” and “Anna”, mixed by Silvia Tarozzi in April 2019.

Silvia Tarozzi – Mi specchio e rifletto

Ballads of a troubadour from Gobi Desert in Central Asia. Wang Xiao was born in Karamay, Xinjiang in 1966. His parents are oil exploration workers. From childhood, he followed his parents to live and grow up in the wilderness of Gobi Desert. In 1989 he quit his oil field job and started traveling as a troubadour. He has lived in Tibet for 10 years and now resides in Yunnan. “In my memory, there is no ‘home’ concept, just keep moving from place to place”. The album is clearly not “indie city folk”, nor is it “world music”. However, after years of immersion in the vein of Central Asian culture, the influence of traditional music from various Central Asian regions is obvious. The whole album is dark and deep, like the rocks in the desert. The occasional overtone singing plays well with the dombra tone, the musician is seeking the divine nature of the universe. “Folk singers in the past were poets and sorcerers themselves. They could only sing after divination and sacrifice, or by helping people to predict diseases, fortunes, planting and family affairs. Folk singers should be the ones who atone for the lives.”The symbolic and poetic lyrics are also an important part for the album. With Lu (Heartless/Vergissmeinnicht/Mandarava), Edward Sanderson and Josh Feola's help, we included the full Chinese lyrics with English translation, it will help the listener to have a better understanding of Wang Xiao’s music.The album was recorded in the winter of 2007 in Beijing. “At that time, it was just me, Wu Junde and Wu Tun to do this recording. They bought me some wine, we drank them and recorded the album (dombra and vocal) for only two hours, then I went back to Tibet right after.” Wu Junde and Obul added tanbur, mouth harp, more vocals and percussions afterward. “We didn’t feel it’s a very good album at first. The tempo is not always right because we didn’t use a metronome, but as you listened to it for a long time, it was great. It's a record that can't be repeated, because it's made at one go, and it's very straight.”Previously self-published as CDr in 2010, now we reissue this album as a Ten Year Anniversary Edition, with new graphic design and a bonus track “Refugee of Faith on the Ancient River Bank” recorded in 2016. All tracks are carefully remastered by our friend Cyril Meysson.“Black Horse River, for me, is my real motherland.” – Wang Xiao“His voice is original, it’s a blend of a shaman and the characteristics of the nomadic people. His way to play dombra is unusual, not with the finger but a plectrum, that makes the music fiercer and more rhythmic. Wang Xiao spent many years in Lhasa, he also put the rhythm of the monks chanting into his music, all these make his works dialoguing with the sun and the earth, it contains the essence from the land and the passing time.” - Zhang Zhi 張智(旅行者樂隊)“I came up with the nickname ‘Folk shaman’. I met Wang Xiao back in 2002-2003, when he was still a rock-n-roll young guy in Shenzhen, but his mental state was like channeling with a shaman or a minstrel. It may have something to do with his life experience, mysterious and unique.” - Wu Junde --- Music/Lyrics/Vocals: Wang Xiao(Except "Wild Geese" Lyrics by Sa Dao & Wang Xiao, "Cover Song" Original singer Li Shirong, Music/Lyrics by Lei Zhenbang, rearranged by Wang Xiao)Dombra: Wang Xiao (Track 1-10)Guitar: Wu Junde (Track 1)Mouth Harp: Wu Junde (Track 5)Chorus: Wu Junde (Track 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10)Tanbur: Wu Junde (Track 4,8)Percussions: Obul (Track 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10)Recorded by Wu Weiyi in Beijing, China, winter 2007, previously self-released in 2010(Except bonus track “Refugee of Faith on the Ancient River Bank” recorded in 2016)Remastered by Cyril Meysson in Saint-Étienne, France, January 2019English lyrics translated by Lu (Heartless/Vergissmeinnicht/Mandarava)Proofread by Edward Sanderson & Josh FeolaCover art: Wang Yuanqing, Photography: Li Ming, Design & Layout: ruò tánSpecial thanks to Wu Tun & Wu Junde

Wang Xiao – The Son of Black Horse River (Ten Year Anniversary Edition)

Chinese free improvisation saxophonist / flutist 老丹 Lao Dan's debut saxophone solo album (previously released in cassette format, sold-out) reissue in 6-panel Digipak CD format, with new artwork. These recordings are from Qinglongdong Tunnel in Hangzhou, China. All natural cave reverbs, the free improvisation of Lao Dan's alto saxophone and the sound of the passengers and the cars were recorded, as every functioning individual."Lao Dan is a monster improviser. I'd never heard of him and I was completely swept away by his powerful playing and concept.""I have this feeling Lao is a soldier that cannot be silenced."Lao Dan is a freelance musician and wind instrument player, who started learning sax at the age of 8 and later turned to Dizi.During 2002 to 2006, he studied dizi in Beijing. In 2007, he was admitted with the highest score to Shenyang Conservatory of Music (SYCM), majoring in Dizi. During college, he served as the principal Dizi player of Youth Chinese Orchestra of SYCM.From 2012, he started his research on wind instruments from all over the world, including Jew's harp, Didgeridoo, Bansuri, Bamboo Sax, Duduk, etc. Lao Dan blends his own thoughts into the traditional way of playing Dizi, in which he pays a lot of attention on details of freedom, mood, thought and space. With plenty of performing and recording experience, Lao Dan has been experimenting more on his music since 2014. Based on Dizi and sax, adding various wind instruments and with new elements such as experiment, noise and improvisation, his music has been improved to a more substantial and creative level. He has also been actively cooperating with artists worldwide, including the legendary Japanese drummer Sabu Toyozumi.In 2013, he formed the music group Red Scarf with Deng Boyu and Li Xing, covering a variety of music genres including progressive rock, thrash metal, avant-garde jazz, funk metal and punk rock, and released their eponymous debut album in 2016.In May 2017, Lao Dan finishde recording his first Dizi solo album “Zhui Yun Zhu Meng (追云逐梦)” and it was ready to be released under Modern Sky World Music. In June, he joined a four-country avant-garde saxophone project raised by Japanese label Armageddon Nova, where his own composition “Self-destructive Machine (自毁机器)” is issued.  --- Lao Dan / alto saxophone, chinese flute --- Recorded by 老丹 at Qinglongdong Tunnel, Hangzhou, China23 August & 25 December 2017Mastered by Cyril Meysson in Saint-Étienne, France, January 2018Photography by 饒依爾 Rao Eer & 若潭 ruò tánTranslation by 呂立揚 Li-YangLayout by 若潭 ruò tán

Lao Dan – Functioning Anomie

Black Truffle’s documentation of the prolific recent work of legendary American composer Alvin Lucier continues with Works for the Ever Present Orchestra. This is a very special release for the composer as it presents pieces written for the thirteen-member Ever Present Orchestra, formed in 2016 exclusively to perform Lucier’s works. At the heart of the ensemble are four electric guitars, an instrument Lucier began composing for in 2013 with Criss-Cross (recorded by two core members of the Ever Present Orchestra, Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley, for whom it was composed, on Black Truffle 033). Through the use of e-bows, the guitars take on a role akin to the slow sweep pure wave oscillators heard in many of Lucier’s works since the early 1980s, but with added harmonic richness. Like much of Lucier’s instrumental music, the pieces recorded here focus on acoustic phenomena, especially beating patterns, produced by the interference between closely tuned pitches. The work presented here is some of the richest and most inviting that Lucier has composed. Though all of the pieces clearly belong to the same continuing exploration of the behaviour of sound in physical space and make use of related compositional devices, each takes on a strikingly different character. Titled Arc, for the full ensemble of four guitars, four saxophones, four violins, piano and bowed glockenspiel inhabits a world of sliding, uneasy tones, punctuated by a single piano note. Where Double Helix, for four guitars, rests on a pillow of warm, low hum, EPO-5, for two guitars, saxophone, violin, and glockenspiel possess a limpid, crystalline quality. Accompanying the four new compositions are two adaptations of existing pieces for radically different instrumentation, demonstrating Lucier’s excitement about the new possibilities suggested by this dedicated ensemble. Works for the Ever Present Orchestra is an essential document of the current state of Lucier’s continuing exploration, as well as offering a seductive entry-point for anyone who might yet be unacquainted with his singular body of work.2CD release presented in a deluxe 4-panel digipak with cover artwork and liner notes from Alvin Lucier plus a 16-page booklet with live photos. Disc 2 of this release includes the bonus Adaptions for the Ever Present Orchestra featuring two pieces (“Two Circles” and “Braid”) that are not included on the vinyl version. Mastered by Rashad Becker. Design by Lasse Marhaug.

Alvin Lucier – Works for the Ever Present Orchestra

2LP / 2CD

Continuing Black Truffle’s series of releases documenting the recent work of legendary American experimental composer Alvin Lucier, String Noise presents three major works for violin solo and duo composed between 2004 and 2019. Lucier has developed his compositions in close collaboration with many instrumentalists over the years; the three works presented here are performed by the violinists for whom they were originally written, Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim Harris, who together make up the innovative violin duo String Noise, and have premiered works by a plethora of major figures in contemporary music. The long-form compositions presented here continue Lucier’s life-long exploration of acoustic phenomena, drawing on aspects of some of his most well-known compositions and extending them into new instrumentation. Tapper (2004) extends the experiments with echolocation – gathering information about an environment by listening to the echoes of sounds produced within it – that Lucier began with his classic 1969 work Vespers, where performers explore a space equipped with hand-held pulse oscillators. Here, the same principle is put into practice for solo violin, the body of which the performer taps repeatedly with the butt end of the bow while moving around the performance space. The result is a subtly shifting web of echoes and resonances produced by the reflection of the sharp tap off the surfaces of the room (in this case, the Drawing Center in New York). In Love Song (2016), two violinists are connected by a long wire stretched between the bridges of their instruments, causing the sounds played on one violin to also be heard through the other. As the two violinists play long tones using only the open E string, they move in a circular motion around the performance space, thus changing the tension of the wire, which creates a remarkable array of variations in pitch and timbre ranging from ghostly wavering pitches reminiscent of a singing saw to near-electronic tones. In Halo (2019), one or more violinists walk slowly through the performance space in a zig-zag pattern while sustaining long tones. As in Tapper, the consistent sound production reveals the sonic properties of the environment. As the title of the piece suggests, the outcome is a shimmering halo of sound produced by the reflection of the violin’s extended tones off the walls and ceiling of the performance space (in this case, Alvin's home).  

Alvin Lucier – String Noise

Aspirations of Madness, Blank Forms’ fifth collection of archival, unpublished, or newly translated texts, takes its title from a series of interviews with Japanese free jazz pioneer Masayuki Takayangi that were published in Japanese in 1975–76 and are published here in English for the first time. The interviews provide a rare look at Takayanagi’s eccentric practice and personality, both long under-recognized by audiences outside (and often, inside) of Japan. In this respect, the interviews speak to the goals of Blank Forms’ publication enterprise, that is, to expand upon our work in performance programming, record production, and archival preservation, and to foster new dialogues on vanguard art and music from the past 50-plus years. The postwar Japanese history that Takayanagi describes also surfaces in this publication’s opening piece, a poetictribute by the writer and artist Louise Landes Levi to one of Takayanagi’s contemporaries, the poet Kazuko Shiraishi. Aspirations of Madness includes a second Levi poem as well, “A Deep River,” written while at La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela’s Dream House in 2003, while Charles Curtis was rehearsing Just Charles and Cello in the Romantic Chord, a composition by Young that Blank Forms plans to present in Spring 2020. Complementing this tradition of Japanese free improvisation and poetry is the republication of a 1977 interview with Joseph Jarman, the great composer, poet, and multi-instrumentalist. The interview took place a few months after the publication of Jarman’s book Black Case Volume I & II: Return from Exile, a collection of writings from 1960 to 1977 that Blank Forms had the honor of publishing in a new edition in Fall 2019. We also feature Charles Stein’s introduction to Being = Space x Action, a crucial supplement to another recent Blank Forms publication, Poësy Matters and Other Matters by Catherine Christer Hennix. In its specificity and rarity of focus, Stein’s text offers valuable information on a vibrant artistic network of the recent past, as well as an extended look at the evolution of Hennix’s complex practice. Further along, Aspirations of Madness features an excerpt from The Tree of Music, a cross-cultural treatise by the Russian musicologist Genrich “Henry” Orlov, the English translation of which has never been published before. The Tree of Music is a sweeping philosophical study of global music and cultures with universalist and spiritualist ambitions, excerpts of which are here selected and introduced by the composer and pianist Leo Svirsky. Aspirations of Madness closes with one of Maryanne Amacher’s final pieces of writing, “The Agreement,” from 2009. The text takes the form of a letter between Amacher and the Open Ended Group, with whom she had planned to collaborate on her final, unfinished project, Lagrange: A Four Part Mini Series. Aspirations of Madness considers the work of Masayuki Takayanagi, the poet Louise Landes Levi, musician and writer Joseph Jarman, polymath Catherine Christer Hennix and her one-time student the poet Charles Stein, Russian musicologist Henry Orlov, and Maryanne Amacher —brilliant and overlooked artists whose work Blank Forms will continue to champion in a variety of contexts. Aspirations of Madness features additional contributions by Alan Cummings, Bill Dietz, Peter Kastakis, Art Lange, Leo Svirsky, Satoru Obara, and Tomoyuki Chida, and is edited by Lawrence Kumpf with Joe Bucciero.

Blank Forms Journal 5: Aspirations of Madness

The sounds of late ’70s and ’80s east coast avant-garde jazz, soul, and punk rock are well documented, but in Nothing but the Music Thulani Davis gives us something beyond, delivering a collection of synesthetic, transportive documentary poems that breathe anecdotal and impressionistic life into a sonic-social history about which most can only speculate. Davis’ verse takes free flight with its muses, scatting and leaping off the page and the shoulders of the musicians, nightclubs, and choreographers she chronicles in these poems. Her odes both to recorded music and its sacred spaces of spirited encounter are at once a paean to ephemeral flashes of embodied experience and a work of preservation. Davis remembers to remember the raw feelings, smoke, dawn drunks, and impulsive energy of her moment, without forgetting its inscription into a broader political urgency. Written between 1974 and 1992, these poems are the most anthologized pieces of Davis’ work, having appeared in numerous collections of writing on black music, here finally assembled for the first time. Nothing but the Music is further proof of Davis’ place as a crucial figure, alongside poets Jayne Cortez, Sonia Sanchez, and Ntozake Shange, in the cultural landscape surrounding the Black Arts Movement. Featured musicians and dancers include Cecil Taylor, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Bad Brains, Henry Threadgill, Thelonious Monk, The Revolutionary Ensemble, The Commodores, MFSB, Dianne McIntyre, Ishmael Houston-Jones, and many more in performances at historic venues such as The Five Spot, The Village Vanguard, The Apollo, Storyville, and Club Harlem. With a foreword by Jessica Hagedorn and an introduction by Tobi Haslett. Thulani Davis (b. 1949) is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar whose work includes works of poetry, theater, journalism, history, and film. Her engagement with African American life, culture, and history is distinguished by poetic economy, passionate musicality, and an investigative concern for justice. While a student at Barnard College, the Virginia native was “schooled” for her first spoken word performance by Gylan Kain and Felipe Luciano of the Original Last Poets, jumpstarting a life of performance that would have her put words to music by Cecil Taylor, Joseph Jarman, Juju, Arthur Blythe, Miya Masaoka, David Murray, Henry Threadgill, Tania León, and others. Living in San Francisco in the ‘70s, she joined the Third World Artists Collective, collaborated with Ntozake Shange, and worked for the San Francisco Sun-Reporter, reporting on stories such as the Soledad Brothers trial and the Angela Davis case before returning to New York and continuing to incite radical political thought as a reporter and critic for the Village Voice for over a decade. This experience as a journalist blazes through her historical fiction and her other writing, breathing anecdotal life into the experiences of actors of American history who have remained unnamed as a result of bondage and other unjust erasures. Davis has collaborated with her cousin, composer Anthony Davis, writing the libretti for the operas X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X and Amistad, and wrote the scripts for the films Paid in Full and Maker of Saints, as well as several award-winning PBS documentaries. In 1993, her writing for Aretha Franklin’s Queen of Soul – The Atlantic Recordings made her the first woman to win a Grammy for liner notes, and her bibliography additionally includes My Confederate Kinfolk, novels 1959 and Maker of Saints, and several works of poetry. She is an ordained Buddhist priest in the Jodo Shinshu sect, founded the Brooklyn Buddhist Association with her husband Joseph Jarman, and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies and a Nellie Y. McKay Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. Davis continues to explore the relationship between music and language as well as the ways we define being American and deal with race with her forthcoming book The Emancipation Circuit: Black Activism Forging a Culture of Freedom (Duke University Press) and poetry collection Nothing but the Music: Documentaries from Nightclubs, Lofts, Dance Halls & A Tailor’s Shop in Dakar (Blank Forms Editions). Poet, novelist, playwright, and performer Jessica Hagedorn was born and raised in the Philippines and came to the United States in her early teens. She is the editor of numerous anthologies and author of several books including Dogeaters, winner of the American Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Award. In the seventies and early eighties, she collaborated with Thulani Davis on multimedia performance pieces presented at downtown venues such as The Public Theater and The Kitchen. Critic and essayist Tobi Haslett has written about art, film, and literature for n+1, the New Yorker, Artforum, the Village Voice, and elsewhere.  

Thulani Davis – Nothing but the Music

Screenprinted on thick, quality paper. Design by Maja Larsson. Limited poster to celebrate the two day residency by the legendary and uncompromising Patty Waters.  From original listing:  Patty Waters must be acknowledged as a vocalist who has tested the limits of the human voice’s capabilities. Since her brief recording career in the mid-6O’s – after Albert Ayler brought her to the attention of ESP Disk – and despite performing very rarely, her influence has spread far beyond the realms of avant-garde and jazz. She has received much critical acclaim for her two ESP Disk recordings - Patty Waters Sings and Patty Waters College Tour. Waters' interpretation of Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair still remains a bold testament to the power of human expression. With a repertoire ranging from hushed piano solo ballads – in which her voice can fade to a whisper, barely audible – to performances using her voice as an instrument, conveying an incredible range of emotions, Waters is a singular artist and we're delighted to host her for a very rare two-night residency alongside Burton Greene (piano) and Tjitze Vogel (bass). “One of the best fucking singers alive.” – Rolling Stone “Praised by people like Miles Davis. her range moves easily from intimacy to introspection to rage. and her evocation of “Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair” has no parallel In musical history.” – San Francisco Sentinel “Hear her voice with the ears of wolves. A sound contour never before heard in American music and poetry. It transcends virtuosi vocalizing. It is presented as Shamanic ritual. The most perfect realization of Jazz song as siren song. Compels a revisioned understanding of the lure of the sweet woman's voice as a passage to paradise.” – Village Voice

PATTY WATERS – TWO DAY RESIDENCY A2 SILKSCREENED POSTER