Compact Disc

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Compact Disc

Two totally infectious sets from Decoy - the trio of John Edwards, Steve Noble and Alexander Hawkins - reunited with pocket trumpet and saxophone player Joe McPhee on the closing night of his four day residency at Cafe OTO. In the eight years between the recordings which make up ‘AC/DC’ and their last release ‘Spontaneous Combustion’, Decoy and each of its members have been practicing individually at the very top of their form. Coming together again in such celebratory circumstances and in the good company of a fantastic crowd set the scene for a very special night.  As they begin, Alexander Hawkins casts a needling surface between his Hammond organ and John Edwards’ loose splatters and slaps of low end bass. McPhee skitters over them with his pocket trumpet by way of introduction; Steve Noble strikes his rims in anticipation. The mood in the room is that of a rock band reformed, of a certain number of “boys” being “back in town”. The first set sees moments of frenetic free jazz peel off into weirdo soul territory and when switched to saxophone halfway through, McPhee’s romantic lyricism is utterly beautiful. When a groove sets in, Hawkins’ B3 ascension in harmony with an ever powerful Edwards-Noble rhythm section sees the room thicken and swirl to the point of giddiness. There is one unreal part at 22:22 where we’re sure you can hear Edwards’ bass vocalising.  Regrouped for a second set, Steve Noble’s metallic textures meld with detuned arco bass to create an unholy atmosphere, ripe for Hawkins to play out the eerier end of the Hammond. When McPhee sounds a sax motif the band catches it quickly and it’s soon wickedly morphed and stretched by each player, recurring to absurdity in a stoned out funk free for all.  The whole recording bleeds enthusiasm and joyful imagination and is a brilliant document of an unforgettable evening. Decoy are a limitless band who play nowhere near enough. We cannot attest to them any more: Book them, buy this, go and see them if you can.   --- John Edwards / bass Alexander Hawkins / hammond b3 Joe McPhee / pocket trumpet, alto sax, voice Steve Noble / drums --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on Friday 10th May, 2019. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Artwork and layout by Oliver Pitt. Photos by Dawid Laskowski. Printed in an edition of 1000. OTOROKU023CD. 

Decoy with Joe McPhee – AC/DC

"Atlantis is an exhilarating listen, equally thanks to its fierce free jazz and brightly textural abstraction" Antonio Poscic, The WIRE, Feb 2020---Following closely on the heels of his ravishing solo album Tomorrow is Too Late, Stockholm-based synthesist and improviser John Chantler switches gears to unleash the stunning second album by his trio with saxophonist Seymour Wright and drummer Steve Noble, Atlantis. Chantler is well-known for his solo electronic work, which frequently explodes richly layered ambient soundscapes into visceral explosions and thrilling physicality, to say nothing of his imaginative experimentation with the organ, heard in radically transformed mode on the recent solo recording. But Chantler is equally invested in real-time improvisation and he’s developed a dazzling rapport and sound world with Wright and Noble, two of England’s most distinctive, active, and turbulent figures in spontaneous music over the last couple of decades. The pair has worked together in numerous contexts over the years, but it took Chantler to create an ongoing context for them, and since forming in 2017 the trio’s rigour and level of communication have steadily expanded.“My fantasy idea in the beginning when I wanted to do this trio was thinking about taking Derek Bailey’s role in the Topography of the Lungs trio,” he says, referring to the classic 1970 album with Evan Parker and Han Bennink. “That’s not what happened, but that was my way of imagining how I could make the synthesizer have the kind of range and ability to both comment on stuff and guide and push in certain ways, like Derek did in that group. That remains a kind of ambition even if aesthetically it doesn’t feel very close to that, but that’s how I first thought about what my role would be.” Indeed, Chantler serves as a pesky interrogator, his serrated tones and viscous globules cutting through the kinetic din dished out by Wright and Noble, and on the new album his integration is more fully realised to the point where it’s often impossible to decipher where the output of one musician ends—the sibilant bowed cymbals of Noble or the feedback-laced lines of Wright—and the pushback of another begins.The album was cut and mixed in a single day with in-house engineer Janne Hansson at Stockholm’s legendary Atlantis Studio, a facility made famous by the chart-topping albums recorded there by Abba in the 1970s, when the place was known as Metronome. Prior to entering the studio the trio spent an exhausting, all-in week rehearsing at the arts space Fylkingen—where they also played a show—in addition to playing a handful of gigs in Norway. Locked in, they discovered much different acoustic qualities at Atlantis from what they’d previously encountered. “There’s a very specific sound at the studio, and we’d been playing for a week together at Fylkingen, so we started to develop a thing that really works in that room, and then you move somewhere else, and the drums in particular sounded really different, and in some ways they had a bit more of a rock ‘n’ roll kind of feeling.” explains Chantler. Responding to that radically different, reverb-soaked ambience, he and Wright took advantage of a pair of matching Fender tube amps, charging their individual signals to match the booming, resonant sprawl of Noble’s pinpoint clatter.Compared to the group’s debut album Front and Above—a live recording of the trio’s very first performance at London’s Café Oto—which Chantler edited to emphasise the sparser expanses of the raucous, performance, the new album reveals a more open-ended spectrum, from delicate to crushing. Noble’s beautifully metallic rustling and throbbing snare bombs hang pregnantly in the air, and Chantler and Wright thicken the atmosphere with twinned abstractions, alternately ethereal and punishing. The transitions between calm and chaos are sometimes seamless, sometimes abrupt, but the full landscape transports the listener to another realm regardless of how ferocious or gentle the attack may be. As strong as the trio’s first album was, Atlantis marks a massive step forward. “The more you play together the more it starts to cohere into some kind of specific language,” says Chantler. “You start to understand the point of what a particular constellation might be.” With Atlantis there’s little doubt these three improvisers know exactly what the point of it all is, which thrillingly means that many new paths in the future have opened up.  --- John Chantler / synthesiser Steve Noble / drums Seymour Wright / alto saxophone --- RECORDED AND MIXED AT ATLANTIS GRAMMOFON AB, STOCKHOLM 24 JANUARY 2018ENGINEER: JANNE HANSSONMASTERING: STEPHAN MATHIEUPAINTINGS: LESTER WRIGHT RECORDING SESSION MADE POSSIBLE WITH SUPPORT FROM THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS

John Chantler / Steve Noble / Seymour Wright – ATLANTIS

DUCTUS is the latest solo project by Paul Abbott, featuring 51 minutes of audio, across 12 tracks, and a 42 page booklet featuring new writing. DUCTUS was written and recorded in Edinburgh and Porto in 2019.DUCTUS presents a playful weave of collapsing time through a number of speculative elements and fictional characters. Abbott feels his way through learning drums, rhythm and writing as fleshy research technologies. DUCTUS is the latest stage in a process considering sound, the body, imagination, and language through music. This features as part of ongoing investigations using real and imaginary drums, synthetic sounds, performance and writing.DUCTUS is an organic environment, a comedy of vibrations and signs, featuring the fictional characters DETECTIVE ENGINEER, QOSEL, and STRIKE.Moving (dancing) through DUCTUS, DETECTIVE ENGINEER and QOSEL work (play) together to attempt to learn about pulse (the wobble edge). DETECTIVE ENGINEER takes measurements, while QOSEL responds intuitively. They make 12 journeys at different angles. They listen and read, recording each journey in soot marks on fish glue (glass paper) sheets. Their notes are reproduced inside the accompanying booklet. STRIKE attempts to inscribe a single event of non-contact: a stick falling from a hand to a drum head.* Recorded 16-18 January 2019 using: Bass Drum: Yamaha Custom Absolute Maple (Blue Sparkle); Batter Head: (unknown, clear); [resonant head removed]; Dampening Foam—Snare Drum: Yamaha Custom Absolute Maple 14”x5”; Batter Head: Remo (unknown, coated); [resonant head removed]—Hi Hat Cymbals: Sabian XS 14”— &—Bass Drum: Sakae PAC-D 14” Cherry/Mahogany; Batter Head: Sakae (unknown, standard coated); [resonant head removed]; Snare Drum: Sakae 12”x5 1⁄2” Cherry/ Mahogany; Batter Head: Sakae Standard (unknown, standard coated); [resonant head removed]—Roland SPD1W; Nord Drum 2; MOTU Ultralite mk3; JHS Kill Switch; Sensory Percussion; Live, Max4L; PureData ‘Orbit Pulse Generator’; **‘3D Snare’ code by Alberto Torin; Recorded with—Microphones: DPA 4060, EV RE20, Neuman KM140, Senheisser MD421, DPA 4060, Neuman KM140, Fishman V100, Radial PZ-DI; Monitor Speaker: Genelec 1031A.•"Paul Abbott's Ductus is intelligent, complex, ludic and stern. 
As with his earlier solos - Vagus [201x] and Sphuzo [201x] - Ductus continues a study of the natural, speculative and synthetic worlds qua real and imaginary drums. Its drum ducts are durable, mysterious and revealing. Prone, the drumkit is sessile in quintessence, fixed around the drummer-on-stool-sat, increasingly stickily stuck, as music and the world (have) move(d) around it. Paul offers a possible solution through several lines of simultaneous enquiry – a gripping detection of rhythmic fact and fiction. A sleuth of several instruments, the Paul/drum/tech-kit times, beats and grows the skin and frames and stands and symbols and stuffs that stretch and swing between these facts and fictions. 
 He stories our imaginations and senses toward a progressive independence: back (in time (history near and far)); forward (in time (futures more and less speculative)); somatic (insides and on-skin) and prosthetic reach (stick, strike, spike). This pursuit and construction of events in time, through fact and fiction, realizes fictional fact. At its heart beats a new time for new times. 
 — Seymour Wright, London 2019 

Paul Abbott – Ductus

John Chantler — synthesizerSteve Noble — drumsSeymour Wright — alto saxophone This recording shares music from the first time public concert of a new trio formed by John Chantler — best known for his solo synthesizer recordings and work with pipe organs — and two of the most instantly recognisable voices in the scene loosely associated with London’s Cafe OTO — drummer Steve Noble and saxophonist SeymourWright. Recorded 7 May 2017 at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook. Mix/edit by John Chantler.Mastered by Stephan Mathieu. John Chantler is a musician and organiser living in Stockholm, Sweden. Chantler’s recent recordings are characterised by headlong dives into ravishing texture and extended stretches of surface stasis that are disrupted by abrupt cuts, deft variations of density and unexpected diversions that draw on a domestic reimagining of studio based electronic music/musique concrete and 20th century minimalism and delivered with brash, revitalized energy. www.inventingzero.net Steve Noble is London's leading drummer, a fearless and constantly inventive improviser whose super-precise, ultra-propulsive and hyper-detailed playing has galvanized encounters with Peter Brötzmann, Derek Bailey, Matthew Shipp, IshmaelWadada Leo Smith, Stephen O'Malley, Joe McPhee, Alex Ward, Rhodri Davies and many, many more. In the early eighties, Noble played with the Nigerian master drummer Elkan Ogunde, Rip Rig and Panic, Brion Gysin and the Bow Gamelan Ensemble, before going on to work with the pianist Alex Maguire and with Derek Bailey (including CompanyWeeks 1987, 89 and 90). He was featured in the Bailey's excellentTV series on Improvisation for Channel 4 based on his book ‘Improvisation; its nature and practise’. He has toured and performed throughout Europe, Africa and America and leads the groups N.E.W. (with John Edwards and Alex Ward) and DECOY (with John Edwards and Alexander Hawkins). SeymourWright – saxophonist, investigator, artist – lives in London. His practice is about the saxophone – music, history and technique – actual and potential; an on-going, rigorous and exhaustive exploration of the instrument.The energy of this learning is applied to various collaborations and contexts to access/share what he has called the ‘awkward wealth of investigation’. His work is documented on two widely acclaimed self-released collections SeymourWright of Derby (2008) and SeymourWrites Back (2015). His current collaborations include lll⼈人 (with DaichiYoshikawa and Paul Abbott), GUO (with Daniel Blumberg) and XT (with Paul Abbott).

John Chantler / Steve Noble / Seymour Wright – Front and Above

Ashley Paul's Heat Source was recorded during a challenging year of transience between New York and London. During this year of impermanence Paul performed regularly and the effects of frequent performance and traveling can be heard in the intentionally pared back emptiness of Heat Source. making it an emotionally challenging and fascinatingly personal listening experience.Heat Source finds Ashley Paul working using her brilliant ears to find a zen like balance between her voice and a sparse arrangement of staccato instrumentation leaving as much open space on one song as most people would create in a lifetime. This open space isn't empty, however, but it's up to you to fill in the meaning. Heat Source is an emotionally challenging and fascinatingly personal listening experience that creates a powerful pace. Ashley Paul is a performer and composer based in Brooklyn, New York. She uses an array of instruments including saxophone, clarinet, voice, guitar, bells and percussion, mixing disparate elements to create a colorful palate of sound that works its way into her intuitive songs; free forming, introverted melodies. This blend manifests beautiful and simple musical forms against acoustic experimentation. Her solo albums have received high praise being chosen in Wire Magazine "Top 50 Releases of 2013, Pitchfork "Best Experimental sounds of 2013", first on Byron Coley and Thurston Moore's "Tongue Top Ten" in Arthur Magazine and included on NPR's All Songs Considered "Best of 2010". She has been interviewed or featured in Wire Magazine, BOMB, Gonzo (circus), Dummy, The Quietus, Ad Hoc, Spex, The Sound Projector and Foxy Digitalis.Ashley has performed or recorded with Phill Niblock, Rashad Becker, Nik Colk Void, Loren Connors, Aki Onda, C. Spencer Yeh, Anthony Coleman, Joe Maneri, Joe Morris, Seijiro Murayama, Greg Kelley, Bill Nace and Eli Keszler appearing on such labels as PAN, ESP-DISK' and Tzadik. She received a Masters of Music from New England Conservatory in 2007.

Ashley Paul – Heat Source

New CD on bison from Kumio Kurachi, whos only performance outside of Japan was here back in 2009. "After 11 albums and unknown quantities of cassettes, compilations and split releases, Sound of Turning Earth is the first release outside of Japan for one of the most original figures in Japanese music, Kumio Kurachi. Recorded by Jim O’Rourke at his home studio, Sound of Turning Earth is Kurachi solo on vocals and guitar, mixing surreal lyrics and theatrical vocal personas with unorthodox tunings inspired by Japan’s national instrument, the koto. Lyrically Kurachi draws life from the small events of life, the hira, - the joy of choosing a lipstick in springtime, the business of changing the tatami, raindrops deciding whether to fall as snow. Set to his own brand of progressive folk in the Hirajōshi scale and laced with winding melodies which can be hard to forget, Kurachi maps his own territory for the people who inhabit his everyday. As much a visual artist as a musician, we are pleased to present Sound of Turning Earth in the form of a deluxe CD accompanied by new artwork by Kurachi and full translation of his poetic lyrics. These striking songs speak for a liberated imagination." “The music is so melodious that the mixture of the strange wording, guitar and variations of voices thrives all together and it can haunt you without noticing it, just like the small events of everyday life you can't escape from." - Midori Ogata  --- All songs written by Kumio Kurachi Guitars and vocals by Kumio Kurachi Recorded and mixed by Jim O'Rourke Mastered by Daichi Tokunaga (PLUM) Translation by Midori Ogata Design by Maja Larrson Special thanks to Midori Ogata --- Kumio Kurachi has performed actively in Japan since the 80's, and still plays shows in Fukuoka regularly. Past collaborators include Taku Unami and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. He has played with Tenniscoats, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Katsura Yamauchi, Tori Kudo, Jim O'Rourke and Eiko Ishibashi." 

Kumio Kurachi – Sound of Turning Earth

This recording from the earlier years of Cafe Oto documents the impossible pairing of four contemporary giants. Its one of those miraculous one off groupings that reminds us why the venue opened in the first place.’ “The magic of the first minutes – an alto solo by Joe McPhee of true purity – soft-spoken, masterful and accomplished – brought back to mind the blissful Coleman/Haden duet last year at the Royal Festival Hall. ‘Ornette gave me freedom to move in a certain way,’ said McPhee. He searched hesitantly and carefully for his words, all the more surprising from such an articulate musical (or, as he might say ‘muse-ical’) practitioner and campaigner. Coleman’s 80th birthday coincided with McPhee’s stint at Cafe Oto. McPhee and his co-musicians delivered an intense performance which was both creative and restrained. With Evan Parker ‘s tenor in tow – a collaboration going back to the late 70s – and Lol Coxhill, sitting with head bowed intently, a soprano master – it could have gone anywhere, yet they worked off each other, often in the higher registers, building up almost bird-call like interactions and trills. Earlier, Chris Corsano‘s drumming presented a dense bedrock for McPhee to play against, and his solo spell was a crisp exercise in sonic curiosity. McPhee picked up his soprano mid-way through the second set, heightening the lyricism of the three saxophones. Then, being a devotee of Don Cherry, he switched to pocket trumpet, allowing him to interject, and punctuate the concentrated sound layers built up by the quartet, and lead the music out through a different door”- Geoff Winston (londonjazznews.com) Recorded 10th March 2010, this is also a document of the only time Lol Coxhill and Joe Mcphee shared the stage. The recording is a little rough, but hey, so was your birth! Limited to 500 copies packaged in mini gatefold sleeve.

Lol Coxhill / Joe McPhee / Chris Corsano / Evan Parker – Tree Dancing

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

Charles Gayle / John Edwards / Mark Sanders – Seasons Changing

Keiji Haino, one of the foremost exponents of the Japanese avant-garde, always provides a masterclass in constantly shifting improvisation. John Butcher is a saxophonist of rare grace and power, who has expanded the vocabulary of the saxophone far beyond the conventions of jazz and other musics, to encompass a staggering range of multiphonics, overtones, percussive sounds, and electronic feedback. Haino and Butcher met when Butcher opened for Fushitsusha at the show Cafe OTO arranged at St. John, Hackney - 5 years ago. In 2016 they were invited to play two duo concerts – at The Empty Gallery in Hong Kong and at Cafe OTO in London. Otoroku is proud to present the audio documentation of their first UK meeting. Recorded live at Cafe OTO in July 2016 the results are an uncompromising milieu of swirling sound played out as a total union of these two legendary performers.  Haino’s blues drenched guitar entices skittering notes from Butcher’s sax playing as numerous sonic clues unravel over the course of of this unique and compelling journey. Light Never Bright Enough comes in a limited edition of 500 LPs and 500 CDs with matt sleeves and japanese removable obi-strip. --- Keiji Haino / vocal, guitar, flutes   John Butcher / saxophones and feedback --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO on the 9th July 2016 by Luca Consonni. Mixed by John Butcher. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Photography and design by ORGAN. 

HAINO KEIJI / JOHN BUTCHER - LIGHT NEVER BRIGHT ENOUGH

"Japanese bluesman Kan Mikami is nothing less than an unalloyed force of nature. A skin-shredding blast of frozen wind from the poor, rural north of Japan that he calls home. In the late 1960s, like thousands of other Japanese young people Mikami made his way to Tokyo in search of a life different from that of his parents. Since then he has forcefully carved out a space for himself in the culture as a modernist poet, a raging folk singer, an author, a actor, an engaging TV personality, and one of Japan’s most uniquely powerful performers. For most of Mikami’s career as a singer, he has performed solo. Just him and his electric guitar against the world, creating jagged A-minor vamps to drive along the surreal wisdom of his lyrics. But he’s equally at home in more demanding improvisational contexts such as those provided here by John Edwards on bass and Alex Neilson on drums. Their dense propulsive textures seem to spur on Mikami, his voice arcing powerfully into fragmented spaces, his guitar darting, colliding, shedding jagged and angular splinters of sound. A pulsing, raging maelstrom of serrated-edged energy. Gruff, rough, honest and very, very real." - Alan Cummings --- Kan Mikami / vocals, guitar John Edwards / bass Alex Neilson / percussion --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO on 3rd April 2013 by James Dunn. Mixed by John Chantler. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi

Kan Mikami / John Edwards / Alex Neilson - Live at Cafe OTO

In Tom Mudd's work, the conceptual and technological processes are paramount. For this particular release, both are embedded in the Gutter Synthesis algorithm and software which was created for and used in all six tracks. An inevitable consequence of this way of working is that masses of material can be created, which then requires both selection and editing. Once these decisions havetaken place a strange, apparently contradictory, perceptual shift takes place towards the material. The listener is confronted with complex, intense and emotionally charged musical events. This was not Tom Mudd’s intention as he’s not overtly concerned with personal expression. A deep interest in algorithmic computer processes is his guiding principal. Yet from this apparently cold approach to making music comes vivid, dramatic, sound art, packed with rich emotional layers that never operate at the level of the trite and illustrative. There is also a strong formal and structural quality to his pieces that allows, in the best possible sense, the listener to ‘immerse’ themselves in this challenging sound world. John Wall, London, December 2017Gutter Synthesis software Gutter synthesis is a purely digital synthesis process that creates very physical, acoustic-like sounds using a network of resonant Duffing oscillators. The software was created specifically for this project, and is included with the release as an equal part of the creative output. The downloadable version uses an interrelatedset of eight Duffing oscillators and associated filter banks.

Tom Mudd - Gutter Synthesis CD/software

2016 Re-Press. Pre-orders taken now. Shipping 4.7.16. Recording of the stunning first set performed by the trio of Peter Brötzmann, Steve Noble and John Edwards at Cafe OTO in January 2010 during Brotzmann's first residency at the venue. This was also the first time the trio had played together. Recorded at Cafe OTO by Shane Browne, mixed by John Edwards and Mastered by Andres [LUPO] Lupich at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. REVIEWS "On an east London side street, Café Oto hosts a programme of international experimental sounds to shame subsidised arts temples, drawing demographic-defying crowds of all ages through its doors. The first release on Oto's own label, available as an authentic vinyl slab or a slippery download, is a 40-minute splurge of sax, drums and bass skronk, live at the venue in 2010, from the German free-jazz giant Brötzmann and two stars of the London improv scene. Unrepeatable moments of collective inspiration and sudden sunlit shafts of modal near melody punctuate the continuing energy blur. Business as usual down Dalston Junction." Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times  "Since it opened in Dalston in April 2008, Café OTO has become London's new music venue of choice for the likes of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Joe McPhee, Mats Gustafsson – and Peter Brötzmann, whose first residency at the club in January 2010 yielded this inaugural release on OtoRoku, Café OTO’s new in-house label. The night in question was the first time Brötzmann had played with bassist John Edwards and drummer Steve Noble, and the decision to team them up was inspired. With Alan Wilkinson, or in Decoy with Alex Hawkins and NEW with Alex Ward, Edwards and Noble have a deserved reputation as a thrilling high-energy rhythm section. And as Brötzmann is no slouch when it comes to high-energy playing, the combination is explosive. Right from the start of the set – the first that evening – it's obvious why this was selected to christen the label. All three players jump straight into top gear, with Brötzmann setting a cracking pace, his torrent of sound characterised by that hard-edged tone which makes him such compelling listening. ...the worse the better sets a high standard for subsequent releases to match. But, as every night at Café OTO is recorded and there's a wealth of fine music waiting in the wings, including quality recordings from Otomo Yoshihide and Wadada Leo Smith, OtoRoku looks like a label to watch." John Eyles, Paris Transatlantic "These two extended improvisations, recorded in January 2010 during Brötzmann’s first residency at OTO, finds the group attaining near-telepathic modes of interconnectedness, despite this being the trio’s first outing together. From the off, Brötzmann’s gills are gurning, throwing up torrents of molten roar, while Noble’s mule-kicking at the traps reels out ride hits like a baby sporting a bonnet of bees." - Spencer Grady, BBC Music "Does the world need another Brötzmann album? Probably not, but as the inaugural release on Cafe OTO's in-house high quality vinyl-only label, this one is cause for celebration. Recorded there - superbly well, too - during Brötzmann's residency in January 2012, this is no frills straight-up free jazz, solos and all, pitting the Firebreather of Wuppertal against the might local rhythm team (yes, they can and do swing hard) of John Edwards and Steve Noble. All three are on outstanding form, from the opening yelp - when it comes to Big Bang beginning, nobody does it better than Brötzmann - to Edwards's snarling drone 38 minutes later. Shame engineer Shane Browne slammed thos faders down so brutally: for once, you feel like joining in with the whoops and hollers of the punters." - Dan Warburton, The WIRE

BROETZMANN / EDWARDS / NOBLE - THE WORSE THE BETTER

This recording gathers all of the music from the final night of Otomo and Sachiko's first residency in 2009 which saw the pair joined by the long running trio of Evan Parker, John Edwards and Tony Marsh and special guest John Butcher. Butcher played duos with both Otomo and Sachiko and joined the quintet for a rousing sextet: stunning twin saxophone interplay, the unparalleled open-ness of the Marsh/Edwards rhythm pairing, Sachiko's deft high frequency interventions and Otomo's guitar at the centre - moving between abrasive textural invention and suggestive single note runs of ever-shifting melody. REVIEWS "As for indicating a place in the curiously sculpted bridges between improvised music and sound art, well, the simple singularity of these daring and committed performances should bear out their significance." Clifford Allen, Tiny Mix Tapes "This Quintet/Sextet album is recorded beautifully and it needed to be to capture all the nuance involved ... These are musicians at the top of their craft." Free Jazz Blog "...fresh and inspired. The recording stands as a finely-honed classic of classically approached free improvisation: the players dance and flow smoothly and effortlessly with and around the sounds of their partners." - Henry Kuntz Point of Departure Review

Otomo Yoshihide / Sachiko M / Evan Parker / Tony Marsh / John Edwards / John Butcher - Quintet / Sextet / Duos

This duet between bass clarinet and circuit-bent Casio SK1 sampler was recorded at the Pittville Pump Room in Cheltenham in January 2003. As one might expect, the music has some of that cold silence which pervades classical music institutions, and which is so repellent to ears used to the demotic bustle of jazz and pop. However, the musicians use one aspect of classical recital to their advantage, which is its staged singularity of performance. Where so much issued music has become calling cards for celebrity rather than a significant act in itself - the malign influence of free music’s reduction of music to the musician; the free jazz griot, the improviser genius - Cundy and Dunn have put everything they can do into one CD.   The musicians are fully in control of their pitches and the music often proceeds by finding a harmony and then forcing it into crisis, unbearable tensions resolved into rhythmic exchange. Cundy also uses a Tinnitus Analyser to detect noises and elevate them into audibility. This provides the musicians with a stimulating randomness - the difference between the unexpected shapes generated by looking and drawing rather than simply doodling and reproducing habit, the eversame.   Eric Dolphy’s example on bass clarinet allows Cundy to exploit the natural resources of the instrument: its old fashioned wood-panelled formalism, the humour of its duck quacks, the urban urgency of its sinuous high tones. Dunn’s electronics are a masterclass in the resources of outdated technology. After being exposed to so much laptop texturing, the ear appreciates the SK1’s limits. They give Dunn’s contributions a jagged starkness, like coming upon a crude screenprint in an exhibition of digital printouts. It’s possible that both musicians are a little too guarded to force the music into a contradiction that might unify an hours performance. However, the quiet care and intensity in the way they listen to each other is really touching.

Grace And Delete ‎– Grace And Delete CD

Our tenth OTOROKU release sees a return to the group that kick-started the label - the veteran German reedsman and free jazz pioneer Peter Broetzmann with the long-running London bass/drums partnership of John Edwards and Steve Noble. After the release of '…The Worse The Better' that group went on to play a series of devastating shows in Europe and to emerge as one of Broetzmann's finest working groups. Over the same period Peter was developing a deep rapport with Jason Adasiewicz, the upstart vibraphone player from Chicago. What seems on paper like an awkward pairing reveals itself on stage and on record as a symbiotic revelation. Adasiewicz's physical attack matching Broetzmann for impact whilst the extended sustain of the vibes opens up an eerie space for some of Broetzmann's most fertile lyricism. The recording is from the last set of a two-day residency at Cafe OTO that brought these two groups together for an astonishing quartet. Adasiewicz and Noble struck up an immense partnership in rhythm. Edwards wrestled with a broken house bass and failing amplifier and still managed new levels of invention - stoking the others onwards. Broetzmann was clearly energised - I swear I saw him dancing at the side of the stage whilst exchanging a shattered reed. And for all the usual rhetoric of Free Jazz bluster and machismo, this is a meeting characterised by the joy of communal creation that makes you want to dance - even if only in your head.

Broetzmann / Adasiewicz / Edwards / Noble – MENTAL SHAKE (LP)