Shimmering compositions for solo accordion by Hague-based American composer and instrumentalist Leo Svirsky. Playing somewhere between sound and sense, Svirsky dwells on tonal chromatic harmony but never seeks stability. Tones shift, diffuse, are eaten up by the crowds conversation. Having studied under Antoine Beuger (a principal mover in the Wandelweiser collective) Svirsky continues a departure from Cage or Feldman - embracing Romanticism and affect to make radical and destabalising psychoacoustic sound. Highly recommended.
"With works for piano, orchestra, and ensemble, Svirsky lights corners of hidden musical worlds with a palm sheltering the flame." —Britton Powell, BOMB Magazine (from the introduction from a wonderful conversation betwen Svirsky & Michael Pisaro)
Leo Svirsky / accordian
1. Heights in Depths Cafe OTO - 20:40
2. Depths in Heights Cafe OTO - 19:13
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Saturday 25th February by James Dunn. Mixed by James Dunn. Mastered by Shaun Crook.
Leo Svirsky - 25.2.17
The Two Ronnies, The Pet Shop Boys, Suicide and now Dale 'n' Phil. 6.2.17 marks the first live outing of much new material from these two excellent human beings - and it also marks possibly the only time we’ve seen proper heckling in OTO’s usually library quiet atmosphere. “It’s not Whitehouse definitely!” some blogger shouts, but what is? We can't repeat Dale's real retort - you'll have to download the whole thing for that, but we can say it often sounds like a landscape of embarrassing human phrasing dug up by Dale and slung back at the audience, to be consumed while Phil's bass line slowly shifts out of sync beneath you. “Language is a nuisance” goes one of their ‘songs’, and they’re right, but if we’re going to keep on using it lets please put Dale Cornish in charge of the dictionary.
Dale Cornish / vocals
Phil Julian / electronics
1. Role (0:00-3:11)
2. Exhibition (3:11-5:43)
3. Chairs (5:43-9:33)
4. Language Is A Nuisance (9:33-12:33)
5. Part Human (12:33-16:14)
6. Chip Shop (16:14-19:45)
7. Laughing Out (19:45-end)
(Download comes as one uninterrupted set of 23:15)
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Monday 6th of Febuary 2017 by Shaun Crook. Mixed by James Dunn and mastered by Phil Julian.
Dale Cornish & Phil Julian - 6.2.17
Super brutal sounds from conductor Ilan Volkov from his support show here in February. Volkov's bow rasps and tears his un-tuned, un-tamed violin into fizzing electronic realms - sample moments of this you could be in power electronics world. Has the ingenuity and playfulness of early AMM, and the timbral breadth and simple gesticular approach of Billy Steiger or Ute Kangeisser. So often heard leading a group or improvising in one, this is a wonderful insight into Volkov's sheer joy and relentless drive to explore sound.
Ilan Volkov / violin
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on Thursday 16th of February 2017. Mixed and mastered by James McMultitalented Dunn.
Ilan Volkov - 16.2.17
Super happy to have dug this out of the archives - the final night of the great French double bass player, improviser and composer, Joëlle Léandre's 2015 residency. Léandre was joined by Scottish improvising vocalist and dancer, Maggie Nicols, and drummer Roger Turner for both nights, and the second of the two saw sparks fly. Solo, Léandre is formidible - melodious, angry, rousing. Her voice breaks through the bass like McPhee's through a trumpet - there's joy, there's humour, and it's 100% intense.
Léandre and Nicols have a long history together - 1982's Live at The Bastille with Lyndsey Cooper still stands strong - and their trio with Irène Schweizer as 'Les Diaboliques' is totally unique. Here, both performers are totally at home with with each other and with their sounds - there's depth, unpredictability, intensity and delirious humour.
A treasure to share all five pieces, and we hope for another Léandre residency some day soon!
“A true, real artist. Stubborn. Visionary. Uncompromising. Intense. Tender and poetic at moments, raw and angry with the world at other times. She is unconcerned by style, and definitely stays far away from stylistic and formal mannerisms that are needed to placcate the reviewers and the hip audiences. She integrates music as music, and delivers it as music, using elements from tribal rituals over classical finesse to jazz expressionism and avant-garde search for new approaches, yet turning it all into something else, something more authentic, more innovative and - interestingly enough - also more universal.” – The Free Jazz Collective
Joëlle Léandre / double bass, vocals
Maggie Nichols / vocals
Roger Turner / percussion
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Wednesday 18th March, 2015 by Mark Jasper. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photo by the wonderful Dawid Laskowski.
Leandre / Nicols / Turner - 18.3.15
Last November we were delighted to welcome back one of the most important musicians of the Japanese underground/avant-garde - Otomo Yoshihide - for his first show here since 2013. Joined by Japanese drummer Hiroshi Yamazaki (who has Kaoru Abe among his extensive list of past collaborators, and was also a member of Masayuki Takayanagi’s pioneering New Directions group) and legendary saxophonist Evan Parker, the two duos and extended trio mark the first time these three have collaborated. Yoshihide's guitar scrawl knots up Yamazaki's wide angled percussion and when Parker comes in for the trio it's not long before his familiar lines warp up into Yoshihide's strung out, high freq reverb for a dark, light and deep level wig-out. It's truly special when a trio works first time like this, and we hope they'll be back together before long.
Otomo Yoshihide / guitar
Hiroshi Yamazaki / percussion
Evan Parker / saxophone
1. One - 15:32 (Yoshihide / Yamazaki)
2. Two - 20:52 (Yamazaki / Parker)
3. Three - 46:37 (Yoshihide / Yamazaki / Parker)
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on Monday the 14th Novemeber, 2016. Mixed and mastered by the ever talented James Dunn. Photo by Dawid Laskowski.
Yoshihide / Yamazaki / Parker - 14.11.16
Composer, musical theorist, multi-instrumentalist, and one of the founders of Fluxus, Philip Corner's debut show at OTO was funny, sincere and inventive. Alongside his wife Phoebe Neville, the pair mixed relatively unheard compositions with stage interventions and brand new improvisations. At one special point, Corner and Neville - both blind behind Javanese masks - played a borrowed Casio and named the piece 'Understanding'. Gold.
Solo, Corner performed one of his more recent pieces, 'Agnesia', a one note near-Elemental number inspired by the painter Agnes Martin. 'An Ideal Amen' was derived from the final chords of the Berlioz Requiem and features Neville adding vocals. Corner and Neville closed by playing touching tribute to their dear friend and esteemed Fluxus collegue Ben Patterson - a piano version of Patterson's 'Paper Piece'. A generous and wonderous pair of people -- more high-jinks and meditations inside.
Notes for the show as printed for the audience:
to eat or drink
and then sometime during ……
consciously & explicitly
a sound with it.
Thus adding to the music …”
Philip Corner / piano, keyboard
Phoebe Neville / vocals, keyboard
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Monday 19th September by James Dunn. Mixed and Mastered by James Dunn. Photo by Dawid Laskowski.
Philip Corner & Phoebe Neville - 19.9.16
Composer, saxophonist and sound artist Antoine Chessex is usually known for playing through distorting stacks of guitar amplifiers to create monolithic walls of noise and texture, but on 12.12.16 he teamed up with free music giants John Edwards and Steve Noble to play an all acoustic trio - an attempt to deconstruct the ‘classic’ formula of the tenor sax, bass and drums. Right off the bat Chessex's extended technique reaches combustable energy levels, and Edwards and Noble push pace and space to a taut intensity. Fresh, fierce and always under control - we very much hope this trio returns. For now though, dig in to this.
Antine Chessex / saxophone
John Edwards / double bass
Steve Noble / drums
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on Sunday 12th December, 2016. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photo by Dawid Laskowski.
Chessex / Noble / Edwards - 12.12.16
1.10.16 documents prolific noise master Merzbow's double show here back in October. Rhythm driven and rammed with highly sculpted frequencies, Akita's sound is entirely remorseless. Furious squalls and delicate sine-warps post this one on the more psychedelic end of Akita's output. Truly relentless, it is still hard to believe he created Untitled Knife I on a casual Saturday lunchtime. Be careful with that volume.
Masami Akita / electronics
Untitled Knife I - 50:06
Untitled Knife II - 54:52
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on Saturday 1st October, 2016. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn.
Merzbow - 1.10.16
Stunning duo from France's Julie Normal and Olivier Demeaux (Cheveu, Heimat). At the centre of their sound is one of the last remaining ondes Martenot's - an instrument loved by Messiaen and Varese, and carefully packed up and shipped across the channel to OTO last year by a worried Julie. Beautifully paced, the pair create a sort of precarious evensong for an alternate universe - perfect for this year! Includes previously unreleased tracks "La Reine", "Lycaon" and "Txwo".
Julie Normal / ondes martenot
Olivier Demeaux / harmonium + pedals
1. Ouverture all'inglese - 6:59
2. Txwo - 5:47
3. Merluzo - 3:13
4. Le Noir Pays - 6:08
5. Lycaon - 2:56
6. La Reine - 8:14
7. Encore - 5:20
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Adam Matschulat on Thursday 29th September 2016. Mixed by Olivier Demeaux. Mastered by James Dunn.
Accident Du Travail - 29.9.16
Recorded over their two day residency, 9.9.16 spans the pastoral, the brooding, and the free-form progg moments of Trad Gras in one oozing zip folder. Their seemingly endless, bucolic bass lines and humble DIY approach create an ever expanding atmosphere of good will - these are surely the nicest guys in rock? The opening 'track' is a 25 minute wigged out version of Harvester's 'När Lingonen Mognar', and 'Stina' is a never before recorded folk-rock track written by the band's close friend Mats G Bengtsson. Spread the word my friends.
Reine Fiske / guitar, vocals
Sigge Krantz / bass, vocals
Tom Watts / drums
Jakob Sjöholm / guitar, vocal
1. När Lingonen Mognar - 24:18
2. Kaffe med Tårta - 12:52
3. Down in the Basement - 11:07
4. Stina - 7:12
5. Sommarlåten - 13:54
6. Silverffloden - 11:39
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on the 9th and 10th of September, 2016 by Simon Holliday and Shaun Crook. Mixed & Mastered by James Dunn. Photo by Dawid Laskowski. Many thanks to Jakob.
Trad Gras Och Stenar - 9.9.16
OG footwork DJ/producer RP Boo aka Kavain Space brought 3½ hours of footwork fire to OTO in November. Mixing his own tracks with cuts from Rashad and samples of Roy Ayres, Del La Soul, Jocelyn Brown and Gerald Levert to name a few, Boo kept his crowd on their toes the whole way - occasionally joining them to dance his adidas into thin air. Simple, sweaty and infectious - if you're stuck for something to play in the wee hours of New Years Day we reckon this will mix in nicely after 'Auld Lang Syne.'
RP Boo / cdjs
1. 10.11.16 - 3:33:37
Recorded by Tom Mudd live at Cafe OTO on Thursday 10th November, 2016. Mixed by Abby Thomas. GIF by Oli Barrett. Big thanks to Kavain and Pedro.
RP Boo - 10.11.16
High energy dose from truly singular Japanese producer 食品まつり a.k.a foodman a.k.a Takahide Higuchi. Whilst drawing from juke, house, techno and elements of ambient and pop, Foodman only sounds like himself. Silence and sine waves feature as much as live drum work and his unhinged, beatless moments feel techinically radical but always joyous. For an encore, Bo Ningan's Taigen Kwabe got up on the table for a nutty vocal freestyle. Japan's underground continues to move in its own ways.
Foodman - electronics, sampler
Taigen Kawabe - vocals
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on Wednesday 19th October 2016. Mixed by Abby Thomas. Mastered by James Dunn.
Foodman - 19.10.16
Slow, quiet and relaxed - Eva-Maria Houben’s first appearance at OTO touched all that heard it. Part of the Wandelweiser collective, Houben creates vast, incorporeal forms from almost nothing - music that lingers long after the last note has dissipated. Includes the premiere of Tiefe – Depth for Piano - a flawless study in decay and resonance.
Eva-Maria Houben / piano
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on Tuesday 30th August, 2016. Mixed by Abby Thomas. Mastered by James Dunn.
Transcipt from the evening:
“I’m very glad to be here. I had some very nice days here in London before this night, and I am very glad this night to be here. We spoke about the programme for this night and we decided upon 3 sections, and if you allow I would like to say some words. On the whole, I will play two first performances, and then I will play a few other pieces, and the first section will be a piece form 2014, Loosely Connected. It is not the first performance, it had already been performed in August in Germany, and it was a full experience for me. And then I will play the piece Depth - it’s short, and this will be the first performance. So, both pieces together will come I think, to twenty minutes. Two ten minute pieces. And then we have the first break, and you could take something, and then follows Sonata Number 10 that will have a duration of twenty four minutes, and then, at last, I will finish with Dandelion, a new piece, a first performance, and then The Hanging Garden or The Suspended Garden. Yes. And now, Loosely Connected and Depth. Thank you very much.”
"And now, the second set and it will be Sonata for Piano Number 10. This Sonata has a subtitle - it’s called in French, erm, Le Croche de Soils - Dreambirds. I have dreamt this piece and there were different sounds of birds from different countries and different towers and I listened before to a piece by Enescu, a Roman composer, and it was very impressive. And he imitated real birds by the piano, by sounds and keys which seemed to be wrong but they sounded like birds because there are birds which have disharmony partials - or harmonic partials but disharmonic partials too - and this was very fascinating for me and I tried to be on the traces of different composers. This sonata has 5 movements, and the first movement is dedicated to Mussorgsky, the second movement to Enescu, the third movement to Schumann, the fourth movement to Liszt, and the last and fifth movement to Olivier Messiaen. It is not their sounds but traces, smells, of those composers. Not more. You will listen to 5 movements and the whole sonata will have a duration of 24 up to 25 minutes. Then we will have the second break. Thank you."
"So or the last set we have at first, Dandelion. Dandelion could be a very long piece - it is a collection with many pieces of paper and every sheet is a world on its own, and I will play 3 pages, not more. But I could play many pages and could have played only Dandelion this evening, it’s a collection with many pages, but I play 3. It is a study on partials of the piano. And then follows Les Jardins Suspendus - The Hanging Gardens, yes, and this piece closes the night. And both pieces together I think will last I think 15 minutes. The first perhaps 8 minutes, and then 7 minutes."
"Thank you very much for your kind welcome. And I could play the famous Drei Choräles, they are very short. They have repetitions and I would think I will take about 4 or 5 minutes. Yes."
Eva-Maria Houben - 30.8.16
First duo from these two unique voices in 15 years. Butcher has all the extended technique you like but it’s his subtle delivery that makes this duo so wonderful. He etches melodies across Noble’s imaginative percussion, peels off the sax's lacquer with multiphonic rattling and dances those classic Butcher squeals neatly through Noble’s vocal and rather spiritual bowed textures. The two end on an energetic sort of fanfare - skilled but playful - and you can only hope that it’s not so long before they meet again.
John Butcher / saxophone
Steve Noble / drums
1. 5.7.16 - 28.50
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Tuesday 5th of July by Simon Holliday. Mixed by John Butcher. Mastered by James Dunn.
John Butcher & Steve Noble - 5.7.16
First meeting of pianist Pat Thomas and drummer Paul Abbott. Abbott’s affective concerns find a perfect partner in Thomas and his signature smack-palm approach. Reminiscent of Milford Graves’ ‘Percussion Ensemble’ but replace the rather serious gong with jovial and dissonant piano. Take a deep breath because there aren't many moments to come up for air in here.
Paul Abbot / drums
Pat Thomas / piano
1. 28.4.16 - 31:30
Recorded by James Dunn on Thursday 28th of April 2016. Mixed & mastered by James Dunn. Plants by Hamish Dunbar.
Paul Abbott & Pat Thomas - 28.4.16
Collection of live performances by free flux improv icons The People Band. Recorded at OTO between 2008 and 2014 and bookended with solos by the late Mel Davis, the clan create a hubbub of frenetic free jazz and chaotic, polyrhythmic thrusts.
The origins of the people band can be traced back to 1965 and the core members of the band had all arrived by 1969 / 70. Although all the musicians involved are playing within other genres - the love and power of this collective has inspired all to maintain and develop the work for over 50 years.
This album is dedicated to the memory of the founder member, pianist, teacher and continued inspiration - Mel Davis - who left us in 2013. Two solo tracks open and close this album by way of our deep respect.
Mel Davis / piano, thrumb piano, perc.
Terry Day / percussion, reed pipes etc.
Mike Figgis / pocket trumpet, guitar
George Khan / saxes, flute
Davey Payne / saxes
Paul Jolly / saxes, bass clarinet
Charlie Hart / bass, violin
Tony Edwards / percussion
Adam Hart / piano, trombone
and with thanks to:
Recorded by Arlen Figgis. Mastered by Nick Pugh at Session Corner. New artwork sourced from a Fabio Lugaro photograph. Previous artwork by Gina Southgate (original CD release). Produced by 33 Jazz / Paul Jolly. Thanks to Tim Powell and to the audiences that keep this remarkable band alive, and thanks to 33 Jazz who originally released the recordings as a CD. You can find the CD here.
The People Band - Live at Cafe OTO
A delight to release the live set from experimental songwriters, Still House Plants. Obscured melodies and minimal song structures are suffused with light, off-kilter rhythms and chords, lolloping cymbals and lilting vocals. The trio are so relaxed with each other you might be drinking tinnies with them in their front room. Romantic without tripping into mushy. God bless Glasgow, thank you GLARC and please come back again soon.
Finlay Clark / guitar
David Kennedy / drums
Jessica Hickie-Kallenbach / vocals
Recorded on Monday 7th November by Shaun Crook. Mixed & mastered by James Dunn.
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Still House Plants 19.7.16
Verbatum notes for the concert as written by John Tilbury:
John Tilbury - solo piano.
Pavana. The Earle of Salisbury - William Byrde (1543-1623)
Fantazia of foure parts - Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625)
Coptic play-along Improvisation based on/accompanied by Morton Feldman's Coptic Light (1985)
A Wordless Encounter
"Last Friday my wife and I were on our way home by train from a wedding in Norwich. It was around 8pm. I had left my seat and had made my way to the exit doors. A young man was standing by the door. He must have been in his thirties. He was shortish, bulky, with a shaven head, and was wearing shorts and flip-flops. He was of fair complexion. My wife remarked later that he looked foreign, Nordic. He might have been a Baltic weight-lifter. I was facing the doors, he was standing between the two sets of doors. All of a sudden, I felt a presence at my right shoulder. It was a head whose teeth were biting through my suit and tee-shirt. I could feel the teeth though my assailant had not managed to penetrate the bare skin. Within around, I suppose, ten seconds I was able to shake him off. We stood facing each other; he bared his teeth, rather like an animal. I raised my hands in a calming movement and mouthed the words: it's ok, calm down, or words to that effect. At that moment a few people, including my wife, had left their seats, preparing to alight. I do not know if they had witnessed any part of what happened. My wife, seeing my arms raised in apology, thought I may have stumbled against him. The biter then bared his teeth to her and she, thinking he was smiling at her, smiled back. He repeated this. Then, facing the door opposite the exit doors he began to gyrate, or dance. My wife urged me to 'go through' and we moved purposefully, though unhurriedly, into the next carriage. We alighted at Folkestone West station and made our way briskly down into the subway and up to the exit leading to the bus replacement service. The biter had disappeared. On the bus I reflected on my response to the 'attack'. Bizarrely, although I had 'acted' to free myself from his teeth, there was no 'response' to the the 'attack', except a feeling of sheer disbelief. As if what happened must have been a 'fiction'. Would there be a 'reaction'? A nightmare? No. Nothing. I have recounted the incident to a few friends. My wife suggested I should describe what happened in writing.
N.B This incident is entirely unconnected with this evening's concert."
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on 31st August, 2016. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photo by Dawid Laskowski. With thanks to Seymour Wright.
John Tilbury - 31.8.16