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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.

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

The Truth – Matana Roberts & Pat Thomas

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

Evan Parker – Six of One

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

Evan Parker – Saxophone Solos

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

Mats Gustafsson & Thurston Moore – Vi Är Alla Guds Slavar

Born in 1964, Yukihiro Isso is a Japanese Noh flutist (hayashi-kata fue-kata) from a family that has been playing this instrument since the 16th century. He received his initial instruction in flute playing from his father Yukimasa Isso and performed on the Noh stage for the first time at the age of nine. From his middle school years he began to listen to a variety of different kinds of music and studying new instruments including the recorder, flute and piano. An acclaimed performer of classical Noh repertoire, Isso is also an accomplished improviser and has performed with the likes of Cecil Taylor, Peter Brötzmann and John Zorn.. Born 1946, Roger Turner grew up amongst the Canterbury musical life of the 1960’s with a strong jazz foundation. Since 1974 work has been concentrated on exploring a more personal percussion language through the processes of improvisation. Solo work, collaborations with experimental rock musics & open - form song, extensive work with dance, film and visual art, involvements in numerous jazz-based ensembles, & workshop residencies have formed part of that development. Takanehishigu is the audio documentation of the first time these artists played together. The results are a breathtaking new music which remains respectful to the individual traditions whilst simultaneously subverting them. --- Yukihiro Isso / Nohkan (noh-flute), shinobue, dengakubue, gemshorn and recorder. Roger Turner / percussion --- Takanehishigu was recorded live at Cafe Oto on 23rd Sep 2015 by Shaun Crook Mixed by John Chantler. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Artwork by Paul Abbott. Edition of 500 copies.

Roger Turner / Yukihiro Isso – Takanehishigu

For the time being we are unable to get to the post but if you order now your item will be posted as soon as things return to normal. Thank you for your support.  We're very pleased to announce Pat Thomas's ‘The Elephant Clock of Al Jazari’ on our in-house OTOROKU label. Recorded live at OTO in May 2015 and mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi, the LP comprises four typically genre-defying and sonically dexterous pieces from one of the UK's most extraordinary pianists. In Pat's own words: The title for this album was inspired by the incredible automatic water clock invented by Badi' al-Zaman ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari. Al Jazari refers to the fact he was born in Al Jazira which lies between the Tigris and the Euphrates in what is now Northern Iraq. Badi al Zaman means prodigy of the age. He is known by historians of technology as the father of modern robotics. The Elephant Clock at seven metres high is a testament to his engineering genius, it utilizes Greek water raising technology, combined with an Indian elephant, Egyptian phoenix, Arabian figures, Persian carpet and Chinese Dragons celebrating the diversity of cultures in the world. This and other marvels of engineering can be found in his Book of the Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices translated by Donald Hill (Pakistan Hijra Council). Over 50 devices are mentioned. Amongst them the first analog computer, his remarkable Castle Clock, however, the debt the world owes this muslim genius is found in his remarkable water raising devices, particularly water raising device number 4 where for the first time a crank connecting rod system is used. The crank is considered to be the most important single mechanical device after the wheel, by 1206 this is found fully developed in Jazari`s machines predating Francesco di Giorgio Martini by 3 centuries. 'For Al Haytham' is dedicated to the great polymath genius who wrote the great book on vision, the first person to give us a true understanding of how we see. 'Lubb' is an Arabic word meaning innermost consciousness whilst to conclude proceedings 'Done' is loosely based on a well known standard. - Pat Thomas 26th May 2017 --- Pat Thomas / piano --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO on the 4th May 2015 by Mark Jasper. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Photo by Fabio Lugaro. Design by Maja Larsson. 

Pat Thomas – The Elephant Clock of Al Jazari

For the time being we are unable to get to the post but if you order now your item will be posted as soon as things return to normal. Thank you for your support. 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

For the time being we are unable to get to the post but if you order now your item will be posted as soon as things return to normal. Thank you for your support. "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

gjērhan, (!) From subterranea, sweat, haze and dedication emerging out of intimate and intense weekly meetings begun in 2009 – their first, 2012 public performance, squeezed into a London basement was a sheer, vexed and exhilarating smack of organic, heterodyning ideas, and taut, lowbeating lumps. Reemerge/revanish. With the economy of familiar/traditional raw tools feedback, drumkit, altosaxophone, time, space and emotion lll人 move from molten musical pasts to grow future pleasures in sound. The ingredients are familiar, but the listening is not. At its heart is a still, undecorated concentration fuelling an extreme testing of limbs, language and order. This has no concern with collapsing difference into a vogueish flattened mass froth, but searches – forensically, ceaselessly – for something to chew, in the challenge of discretion and integrity or asylum in the body of its instruments. Akilsakilan learning, Doughnut. Finding, twisting and hammering out an expanding musical universe balanced only by its own logics – lll人 have few obvious comparisons. Their performances are consistent radical negotiations of the emotional, physical and social energies of the environments they sound out. Perfectly Reasonable. [The second side was recorded at a summer fundraiser concert for Project Fukushima (This followed a solo performance by Evan Parker who later joined the group for a quartet) and the first as part of the inaugural INTERSECT festival four months later.] Recorded at Cafe OTO on 28 August 2013 (Fukshima) by Stuart Bannister and 7 December 2013 (Intersect) by Kate Arnold. Mixed by Paul Abbott. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx, Berlin. Design by Paul Abbott. Inner sleeve by Paul Abbott, Cara Tolmie and Conal Mcstravick

lll人 – gjērhan

For the time being we are unable to get to the post but if you order now your item will be posted as soon as things return to normal. Thank you for your support. Born in Tbilisi, Nargilə Mehtiyeva aka Aşıq Nargilə has been playing saz (long-neck lute) and singing since the age of 15. Fluent in Azerbaijani, Georgian, and Russian, Nargilə represents the cosmopolitan heritage of old Tbilisi, a city once known as a meeting point for multilingual aşıq bards who would travel through the region serving as conduits for news, ideas, music and culture. Nargilə is currently the only female aşıq living and performing in the ethnic Azeri region of Georgia, and has been teaching the art to new generations. This is a recording of Aşıq Nargilə's first concert in the UK. Recorded live at Cafe Oto on the 18th October 2014 by James Dunn. The pieces performed are named after the traditional saz aşıq havası (melodies) they are based on. Lyrics are taken from destan epics, regional poetry and Nargile’s own lyrics to match the rhyming patterns of these melodies. Yanıq Kerem (1) and Ruhani (7) are both instrumental pieces which depict their own stories without words. Ay Ceyranım (5) is a popular song performed at weddings across Azerbaijan. Aşıq Nargilə Mehtiyeva: Saz (long-necked lute) and Söz (vocals) --- Tracklisting: 1. Yaniq Keremi 2. Yurt Yeri 3. Ibrahimi 4. Dubeyti 5. Ay Ceyrani 6. Bas Saritel 7. Ruhani 8. Orta Saritel 

Asiq Nargile – Yurt Yeri

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

For the time being we are unable to get to the post but if you order now your item will be posted as soon as things return to normal. Thank you for your support. 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