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OTOROKU

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

First solo release from vocalist, movement artist and composer Elaine Mitchener, whose work encompasses improvisation, contemporary music theatre and performance art. Solo Throat draws on the work of African-American and African-Caribbean poets Kamau Brathwaite, Aimé Césaire, Una Marson and N. H. Pritchard as source material for twelve new vocal compositions Elaine Mitchener is a veteran of vocal expression in the global Black Avant Garde, traversing free improvisation, cross-disciplinary music theatre and contemporary composition with clarity and joy. Most recently, Mitchener has been improvising and composing with the written word as source material - challenging classical ensembles with her piece (“the/e so/ou/nd be/t/ween”), and commissioning composers Matana Roberts, Jason Yarde and George Lewis to respond to the work of Sylvia Wynter (“On Being Human as Praxis”, Donaueschinger Musiktage, 2020). Her performance of Umbra poet N.H Pritchard’s text FR/OG at OTO in 2021 was a revelation - a solo vocal recasting of the powerful visual-material form that Pritchard uses to disrupt semantic ‘sense’. Building on this performance, Solo Throat takes the work of Pritchard alongside poets Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Aimé Césaire and Una Marson as its source material. Its compositions are a loose translation - a carrying from text to voice which holds multiplicity and celebrates the transformative power of literary possibility. Surrendered to the spacing and repetition of consonants and vowels, Michener’s exceptional phonetic freedom gives rise to a sensuous experience which intensifies the roles of rhythm, timbre and breath in expressing meaning. Solo Throat comes together as much through difference as similarity. Mitchener’s own solo improvisations sit alongside the work of Brathwaite, Césaire, Marson and Pritchard, forming a constellation of unlikely alignments which make no aesthetic conclusion. Instead, Solo Throat is a site of encounter, a plural de-composition of words into an assemblage of sounds and impulses, emphasising what Anthony Reed calls, “the play on and the surplus of margins of lyrical translation to resituate other pathways of expression”. Just as the poets cited use white space to complicate our act of reading, so Mitchener utilises silence and multiphonics to complicate the act of voicing and the way we listen. — Elaine Mitchener is a British Afro-Caribbean vocalist, movement artist and composer working between contemporary/experimental new music, free improvisation and visual art. She is currently a Wigmore Hall Associate Artist; was a DAAD Artist-in-Berlin Fellow (2022) and was an exhibiting artist in the British Art Show 9 (2021-22). In February 2022 Mitchener was awarded an MBE for Services to Music. Her regular collaborators include: composers George E Lewis, Jennifer Walshe, and Tansy Davies; visual artists Sonia Boyce, Christian Marclay and The Otolith Group; chamber ensembles Apartment House, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble MAM, Ensemble Klang, and Klangforum Wien; choreographer Dam van Huynh’s company; and experimental musicians such as Moor Mother, Loré Lixenberg, Pat Thomas, Jason Yarde, Neil Charles and David Toop. — Recorded and engineered by Sean Woodlock at Hackney Road StudiosMastered by Sean McCannLayout by Jeroen WilleAll music and artwork by Elaine Mitchener

Solo Throat – Elaine Mitchener

Totally beautiful and rare piano performance from Loren Connors, joined on guitar by long time collaborator Alan Licht.  Celebrating thirty years of collaboration, Loren Connors and Alan Licht performed for two nights at OTO on May 5 and 6th, 2023. On the second night, with the stage lit in blue, Connors took up a seat on the piano stool whilst Licht picked up the guitar. What followed was the duo’s first ever set with Connors on piano - one of only a few times Connors has played piano live at all - here captured and issued as The Blue Hour. Its spacious warmth came as a total surprise live, but makes complete sense for a duo whose dedicated expressionism takes inspiration from a vast spectrum of emotion. Both opening with single notes to start, it doesn't take long before a surface rises and begins to shimmer. A run up the keys, the drop of a feedback layer on a sustained and bent note. The two begin to exchange notes in tandem and brief touches of melody and chord hover. After a while, Connors picks up the guitar, stands it in his lap and sweeps a wash of colour across Licht’s guitar. Sharp, glassy edges begin to form, open strings and barred frets darkening the space. When his two pedals begin to merge, Licht finds a dramatic organ-like feedback and it’s hard not to imagine Rothko’s Chapel, its varying shades of blue black ascending and descending in the room. When Connors goes back to the piano for the second side, the pair quickly lock into a refrain and light pours in. It’s a kind of sound that Licht says reminds him of what he and Connors would do when the duo first started playing together 30 years ago. It’s certainly more melodic than some of their more recent shows, and the atonal shards of At The Top of the Stairs seem to totally dissolve. What is always remarkable about Licht is that his enormous frame of reference doesn't seem to weigh him down, and instead here he is able to delicately place fractures of a Jackson C Frank song (“Just Like Anything”,) amongst the vast sea of Connors’ blues. Perhaps it's the pleasure of playing two nights in a row together, or the nature of Connor’s piano playing combined with Licht’s careful listening, but the improvisation on The Blue Hour feels remarkably calm and unafraid. There’s nothing to prove and no agenda except the joy of sounding colour together. Totally beautiful.  --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Saturday 6th May 2023 by Billy SteigerMixed by Oli BarrettMastered by Sean McCannArtwork by Loren Connors Layout by Oli BarrettScreenprint by Tartaruga Manufactured in the UK by Vinyl Press.  Edition of 300 standard LPs, 100 LPs with screenprinted artwork by Loren Connors printed as inserts. Also available on a limted run of 200 CDs. 

Loren Connors & Alan Licht – The Blue Hour

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

Musician, writer and filmmaker, Sunik Kim follows up ‘The Bent Bow Must Wait to Be Released’ (Takuroku 2021) with their second LP - a deadly serious dismantling of the limits of contemporary computer music, delivered with playful dexterity and a touch of slapstick humour, a la Henry Cow.  Enlisting General MIDI to create frenetic, vital patterns of dis-organisation made up of gleeful synthetic trumpets, wry orchestral sweeps and brutal key clusters, Sunik Kim explodes a kind of simplistic sound into complex, beautifully uncertain structures. Rather than attempting to overwhelm or stun the listener into subjectivity, ‘Potential’ is ever shifting; regularly breaking form and unfolding, discreetly nibbling at the concept of the Spectacle and un-doing fatally closed systems of cyclic music.  On first listens we recalled Cecil Taylor’s Unit Structures, Stockhausen’s Gruppen, and even those weirdo attempts at making music from inside the world of Animal Crossing, Lil Jürg Frey. The overflowing ideas of Henry Cow (to which Kim dedicated a fantastically blended mix for the Wire in 2021) never drift too far from view, but contemporary counterparts lay few except for Yorkshire's most eminent polyceleratrix, Gretchen Aury, who we asked to write the liners. Gretchen’s words are unsurprisingly as extraordinary as the record itself, so we’ll close out the call to elicit a Media response to possibly the wildest OTOROKU yet with their words: “Potential reads as a rare honest response to the disaster capitalist era of the apparent nearing end of the anthropocene, a cyborg music which is not hopelessly psychotic like so much contemporary and especially computer-requiring music, but lucidly possessed with rapture, pain, madness, empathy, ecstasy, torment, fragility; all those vital feelings and incentives which our atrociously depressing times seem engineered to quash and bleed out of us. This sound is a blistering Electro Magnetic Pulse wave of revolutionary hope, exclaiming defiantly that History is not over, that the future is not ‘history,’ that there is still a vast multitude of ideas and identities burning brightly and resiliently, despite the fact that they are inconceivable to the tyrannical Hegemonic axis of global capitalist tech-culture. I ask of you, listener, if you truly wish to plunge beyond The Known, give yourself over in full to this record.” — Artwork by Sunik Kim Layout and design by Jeroen Wille  Liner notes by Vymethoxy Redspiders Mastered by Anotine Nouel at Sound Love Studios Track 1 edited by John Wall —

Sunik Kim – Potential

We're thrilled to present two longform pieces from Yorkshire-based sound artist, Sophie Cooper. Composed during a week-long residency in the OTO Project Space in February 2022, Lean In was originally written for an 8-speaker surround set-up, here distilled into an equally expansive stereo version. Over 25 minutes, Cooper weaves fragments of on-site found radio sounds, processed trombone, electronics and voice to explore themes of broken family structures and the unspoken estrangement issue. We release this alongside the newly remastered companion piece, Intact, commissioned by hcmf// in 2019 and for which Cooper was nominated for an Ivor Novello Composer Award in 2020. Together, the pieces build upon each other in a way that uncovers new insights with each listen, revealing a multi-faceted work at once intimate and far-reaching in its emotional and sonic impact. "This release is a double A side of accompanying pieces both written during residencies for spatial audio systems namely the HISS (Huddersfield Immersive Sound System) for hcmf// and the set up at Café Oto project space. These versions have been designed to be listened to on stereo set ups. Both of the pieces deal with the topic of family estrangement using verbatim sourced with permission and support from a UK based charity called Stand Alone who support adults in this situation. Intact was the first piece made of the two in 2019 and Lean In was written in early 2022 so you’ll hear references to how people’s lock down experiences impacted on their estrangements in the second piece. It was really interesting to come back to this topic after a break and reflect on changes between the texts in both years." – Sophie Cooper, February 2023 -- Enormous thanks to: Everyone involved with the HISS, hcmf//, Cafe Oto, Arts Council England, Kathy Hinde and Matthew Olden for the support with these pieces. -- Cover photography by Maryanne RoyleMastered by Oli Barrett

Lean In / Intact – Sophie Cooper

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

《Inertion》 – Deng Boyu

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

After the Allotments – Danielle Price

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

Stuck Like Jane Austen – Time Trout

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

Blanc Sceol – Orbit

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

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

Gwannach – Caius Williams

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

From Saxophone and Trombone – Evan Parker and George Lewis

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

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

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

LP / CD

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

THE WORSE THE BETTER – BROETZMANN / EDWARDS / NOBLE