We need your help – please

Compact Disc

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

Masayuki “Jojo” Takayanagi (1932 - 1991) was a maverick Japanese guitarist, a revolutionary spirit whose oeuvre embodied the radical political movements of late ‘60s Japan. Having cut his teeth as an accomplished Lennie Tristano disciple playing cool jazz in the late ‘50s, Takayanagi had his mind blown by the Chicago Transit Authority’s “Free Form Guitar” in 1969 and promptly turned his back on the jazz scene by which he was beloved, going as far as to call his former peers and admirers “a bunch of losers” in the press. Takayanagi had found a new direction, an annihilation of jazz and its associated idolatry of hegemonic American culture. Aiming his virtuoso chops towards the stratosphere, Takayanagi dedicated himself to the art of the freakout, laying waste to tradition left and right, most notably via the all-out assault of his aptly-named New Direction for the Arts (later New Direction Unit) and collaborations with like-minded outsider saxophonist Kaoru Abe. His innovations on the instrument parallel those of Sonny Sharrock and Derek Bailey and paved the way for the Japanese necromancy of Keiji Haino and Otomo Yoshihide, but even at its most limitless hurdling Takayanagi’s playing is propelled by the dexterous grasp of his foundations, to which he paid tribute with elegant takes on flamenco and Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman.” In the autumn of his life, Takayanagi’s solo Action Direct performances made him one of the first guitarists, alongside but independent of Keith Rowe, to use tabletop guitar for pure noise improvisation. Culled from 1975 sessions by the Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit, April is the cruellest month was originally slated for release on ESP-Disk before the pioneering free jazz label’s untimely demise that year, eventually being released on a 1991 CD in Japan. Part of the period of Takayanagi’s career which he termed “Non-Section Music,” one can only imagine how its unholy racket might have altered an international understanding of Japanese noise had the LP reached American shores upon its inception. On “We Have Existed” and “What Have We Given?”, the classic lineup of Takayanagi with Kenji Mori (alto sax, flute, bass clarinet), Nobuyoshi Ino (bass, cello), and Hiroshi Yamazaki (percussion) prove that free improvisation was thriving well beyond Western Europe with a set of dilapidated, spacious clanging, Takayanagi’s squalling feedback and Mori’s Eric Dolphy moves undulating atop the joyous clamor. The cataclysmic “My Friend, Blood Shaking My Heart” is another story altogether. With the vertiginous abandon of a jet engine, the unit immediately launches into an unrelenting sidelong barrage of frenzied, blistering noise. Infernal sheets of contorted sound find the berserk instrumentalists hopelessly entangled as they urge the explosion deeper and deeper into ecstatic oblivion. Takayanagi’s finely honed guitar abuse, Ino’s demonic squirming, and Mori’s ferocious reed attack occasionally rise above the din only to subsumed once more by the maelstrom. And then, twenty minutes later, it’s over as quickly as it began. Rivaled in intensity only by John Coltrane’s The Olatunji Concert, Peter Brötzmann’s Machine Gun, and Dave Burrell’s Echo, April is the cruellest month finally, deservedly sees the light of day on the vinyl format for which it was originally conceived, marking the first issue of Takayanagi’s music outside of Japan.

Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit – April is the cruellest month

Whitstable Solo is the first Evan Parker solo soprano saxophone recording since Lines Burnt in Light inaugurated his Psi label back in late 2001. Since then, the label has steadily rereleased Parker's earlier solo soprano albums, with the notable exception of Monoceros (Incus, 1978; Chronoscope, 1999). Culled largely from a July, 2008 performance at the Whitstable Biennale event with artist Polly Read and filmmaker Neil Henderson—seven tracks taken from the concert and one from before the audience arrived—Whitstable Solo was recorded in St. Peter's church by engineer Adam Skeating. Tellingly, since this recording, St. Peter's has become Parker's studio of choice because of its great acoustics. Given the scope of Parker's solo soprano recordings, trying to set a new one in context is not a fruitful venture. Increasingly, as with many other greats, the only sensible advice to someone enquiring where to begin listening to Parker is to start anywhere but hear the lot—advice particularly true of his solo recordings. Taken as a body of work, each part makes sense alone, while contributing to greater appreciation of the whole. So it is with Whitstable Solo; it makes no sense to ask where it stands in comparison to Parker's past recordings. It stands alone but amplifies the rest, containing elements that will be recognizable to anyone familiar with that past. These include Parker's subtle interactions with the acoustics and resonances of the recording space, and his use of circular breathing to build an irresistible, kaleidoscopic barrage of sound that can induce a trance-like state. Such elements are often the ones that are latched onto after initial exposure to Parker's soprano, however, there is far more here than those most obvious aspects. Not least is the melodic content of several of the pieces; without playing any obvious theme, Parker spins out melodic lines—repeating and exploring those that appeal—creating an overall effect similar to the carefree sound and feel of birdsong. Simply beautiful. - All About Jazz 

Evan Parker – Whitstable Solo

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

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

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

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

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