Jazz / Free Jazz
Drone / Ambient
Outsider / Art Brut
Sound Art / Spoken Word
Indie / Rock
Folk / Song
This week we’re pleased to be sharing a solo set from composer, improviser, performer and creative polymath, Alex Ward. Predominantly a guitar and clarinet player, Ward is regarded as one of the most technically accomplished performers of both free and composed music, and has recently played shows in the UK and US as part of the phenomenal This is Not This Heat. This 2 piece solo clarinet set is a reminder of what a singular clarinet he is, pulling open the full range of the instrument - from warm trills and woody overtones to overblown, amped up blowouts.
Alex Ward / clarinet, guitar
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on 15.2.2018 by Martyn Larcombe. Mixed by Alex Ward and mastered by James Dunn.
Alex Ward - 15.2.18
Digital download version of this recording originally issued as a one-sided limited edition 12" made available as part of a fundraiser for Cafe OTO to acquire some new equipment.
Thurston Moore / Guitar Alex Ward / Clarinet, Amplifier
Recorded 20 March 2012 at Cafe OTO by John Chantler & Jonny McHugh. Mixed by Alex Ward, Vinyl cut by Nick @ Curved.
Cover image courtesy of Matti Braun.
Thurston Moore & Alex Ward - Live at Cafe OTO
Members of psychedelic Russian / Israeli collective Staraya Derevnya rarely get to perform live together, so it's with huge pleasure that we are uploading this one. After spending a week holed out in our Project Space, the group emerged to present 45 minutes of curious, home-brewed folk psych wonk made with objects, percussion, vocals and homemade instruments. Live animated projection makes a large impact on each of their improvisations so be sure to check out the video of the night too."They play a kind of psychedelic folk with wind-up toys, shouting, buzzy sounds and with live animated drawings – out of some foggy scribble emerges a head, then a bug thing grows tentacles and sucks ectoplasm out of the head, then stuff starts spinning around and then a phoenix rises." - Lee Fisher, NARC magazine
"Staraya Derevnya make bewitching music that seems impossible to place in terms of direction and intention, like climbing into a cab only to realise its not a cab at all." - TUSK
Amos Ungar / dulcimer, sampler
Danil Gertman / digital drawing
Gosha Hniu / percussion, toys, cries and whispers
Grundik Kasyansky / feedback synthesizer, objects
Maya Pik / synthesizer, rocking chair, melodica
Ran Nahmias / silent cello, theremin
Lyrics by Arthur Molev. Mixed and mastered by Gosha Hniu from the original recording made by Shaun Crook. Filmed by Heliana Trovato, Sam Way, Filippo Mira and Patrick Farrell. Video edited by Heliana Trovato. Huge thanks to Tsip Nahmias and to the wonderful people at Cafe OTO and Tusk Festival - this wouldn't have happened without you!
Staraya Derevnya - 13.10.17
A pair of solo sets from two of the most individual voices exploring new forms of percussion. Both artists transgress the boundaries between acoustic and electronic, analog and digital, and find themselves in a curious midway between various forms of radical music - free-jazz, footwork, and music concrete.
Paul Abbott / real and imaginary drums
Jake Meginsky / electronics
1. Paene (Paul Abbott) - 35:282. Live at Cafe OTO I (Jake Meginsky) - 6:233. Live at Cafe OTO II (Jake Meginsky) - 39:28
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Monday 9th April 2018 by Shaun Crook. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Artwork by Oli Barrett.
Paul Abbott & Jake Meginsky - 9.4.18
Solo set from French hurdy-gurdy player Yann Gourdon. One third of the drone trio France and part of the La Nòvia collective, Gourdon's practice focuses on acoustic phenomena and dynamic relationships with the environment. Having learned to play traditional music from Auvergne by listening to field recordings, Gourdon re-orientates tradition via minimalism, honing in on a place or location's unique vibratory fields, volumes and surfaces.
Yann Gourdon / hurdy gurdy
1. 15.10.15 - 41.18
Recorded on Thursday 15th October 2015 by Luca Consonni. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photo by Mattias Launois. Artwork by Oliver Barratt.
Yann Gourdon - 15.10.15
We were delighted to have Sudanese funk group The Scorpios return to OTO after their self titled album came out in spring on Afro 7 - a great new label that focuses on "new and old music from East Africa", so we're especially pleased to make this one available. The collective is made up of Sudanese and European talents based in West London, and together they take a new stance on traditional Sudanese forms. They meld bass synth, horns, percussion and gorgeous vocals to drive new energy into haqibah scales, and though you can hear the influence of Sharhabil and His Band and Abdel Karim el Kably in their mix, they're really pushing it somewhere else.
Dawid Frydryk / trumpet
James Connor / percussion
Michael Ofiri / drums
Ronnie Maxwell / bass
Adam Bulewski / rhythm & lead guitar
Abdelsalam Kamaleldin / lead and rhythm guitar
Ragaia Ishag / vocals
Izumi Kobayashi / keys
Sue Lynch / sax
Ahmed Mohamed Ali Osman / percussion & vocals
Karl Amata / percussion
1. Yadob Yadob 2. El Sheikh Sairo3. Yaelhajarok4. Haja5. Benreed El Etam6. Meshena7. Kifaya Mosa8. Garnar Alsebou9. Saparna10. La Shaftak Tabel Elshoog11. Safar12. Yadob Yadob13. End Song
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Adam Matschulat on 23rd June 2017. Mixed & mastered by James Dunn. Original photo by Laurent Orseau. Artwork by Oli Barrett.
The Scorpios - 23.6.17
Chugging, dark, spacey blues - Akiyama's solo guitar is focused "on the tone and wildness of the instrument." A hard rock fan at 11 years-old, Akiyama started playing electric guitar at the age of 13. Later, with a growing interest in free improvisation and classical music, Akiyama sought to create his own genre "solo rock guitar." A treat to have him play in the early days of OTO, and even better to dust this one out the archives, re-mix and master.
Tetuzi Akiyama / electric guitar
Recorded by John Chantler on the 17th October 2010. Mixed by John Chantler. Mastered by Toshimaru Nakamura. With thanks to Lee Etherington.
1. 17.10.10 - 31:40
2. 18.10.10 - 12:39
Tetuzi Akiyama 17.10.10
Once a member of the national ensemble of Tuva, Sainko Namtchylak left the remote republic in the south of Siberia and lived in Moscow. There she met jazz musicians and started a new career - playing and making records with musicians such as Peter Kowald, Joelle Leandre and Evan Parker. After recording Like A Bird Or Spirit, Not A Face with members of Tinariwen last year she has formed a new group, SainkhoKosmos, with the help of reedsman and long-time collaborator Ned Rothenberg. Sainkho's seven octave vocal range combined with an ensemble with such a vast wealth of experience makes for compelling listening - an ancient pulsing within a modern framework.
Samm Bennett / drums, vocals
Sainkho Namtchylak / vocals
Ned Rothenberg / clarinet, alto sax, shakuhachi
Peter Scherr / electric upright bassKazuhisa Uchihashi / guitar, daxophone
Recorded on Sunday 6th August 2017 by Tom Mudd. Mixed & mastered by James Dunn. All music improvised by SainkhoKosmos. Original photo by Anton Klimov. Artwork by Oli Barrett.
SainkhoKosmos - 6.8.17
Rattle are Katharine Eira Brown and Theresa Wrigley, both on drums and both on vocals. They played their first set at OTO as part of The Ex’s 2016 residency, and returned in 2017 to deliver their gleefully deconstructed and hypnotic songs in support of Sacred Paws. Stripped of ego, spacious and infectious, Rattle make structured minimalism unnerving, awkward, but mainly fun.
"Rattle, however, aren't about racket or ego. When Katharine Elra Brown and Theresa Wrigley sit on their separate thrones, they turn their beats into building blocks. With just two kits and their beguiling voices, the duo have created a jigsaw of a debut – and not one of those frustrating puzzles with 1000 tiny pieces, but a fast-paced game full of constant discovery and reward." - Lee Adcock
Katharine Eira Brown / drums, vocals
Theresa Wrigley / drums, vocals
Recorded by Shaun Crook on Sunday 29th January 2017. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photo by Dawid Laskowski. Artwork by Oli Barrett. All songs are from Rattle's first album 'Rattle' released in August 2016 on I Own You / Upset The Rhythm Records.
Rattle - 29.1.17
Having been on our wish list for a long, long time we were delighted to have Patty Waters take up a two night residency at OTO last December. Accompanying her on double bass is Tjitze Vogel, and on piano is Burton Greene with whom she recorded 'Sings' for ESP Disk back in the 60s. Greene's scratching and tugging of the piano strings during their first ever rehearsal had encouraged Waters to turn ballads inside out, and the same is true today. Before 'Nature Boy' Waters asks Greene to play inside the piano once more; the song's refrain is shredded by Waters with total control. Her voice has shifted but her unique command remains. The trio hold the room on a breath as they deliver renditions of classics unheard anywhere else. Huge thanks to all three musicians. ---
Patty Waters / vocals
Burton Greene / piano
Tjitze Vogel / bass
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Thursday 6th December 2017 by Shaun Crook. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photo by Maiken Kildegaard and artwork by Oli Barratt.
Patty Waters - 6.12.17
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 began playing piano at the age of eight. He studied classical music and reggae was an early interest. Thomas was inspired to take up Jazz after seeing legendary pianist Oscar Peterson on television. By 1979, Thomas was performing seriously as an improviser. In 1980 he became a member of oxford based group Ghosts with Pete Mcphail and Matt Lewis. Has worked with Mike Cooper, Steve Beresford, Geoff Hawkins, Chuck Berry, Tim Hill, Alex Ward, Eugene Chadbourne, Steve Noble, Jimmy Carl Black, Thurston Moore, Mats Gustafsson, Evan Parker, Oliver Lake, Alan Silva, Bill Dixon, Joe Gallivan, Alan Wilkinson, John Edwards, John Zorn, John Butcher, John Russell and a duo with Mark Sanders since 1986 a duo with Steve Noble (who first met in 1979). Current activities include Black Top with Orphy Robinson, Valid Tractor with Lawrence Casserley and Dom Lash, About Group with Alexis Taylor and John Coxon, Albert Newton with Charles Haywood and the Founder Effect with John Coxon, a duo with Han Bennink and a trio with William Parker and Hamid Drake.
Pat Thomas received Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers in 2014.
Pat Thomas / piano
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on the 4th May 2015 b Mark Jasper. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Photo by fabio Lugaro. Design by Maja Larsson.
Pat Thomas - The Elephant Clock of Al Jazari
Delighted to release this fierce first time duo from two of our favourite saxophonists. Brotzmann-esque heft and gritty melodies from Trzaska, fused with Wright's tonal punctuation packs this one full of intensity which escapes the routine.
Mikolaj Trzaska / saxophone
Seymour Wright / saxophone
1. 12.9.16 - 36:46
Recorded on Friday 9th December 2016 by Shaun Crook. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photo by Dawid Laskowski. Artwork by Oli Barrett.
Mikolaj Trzaska & Seymour Wright - 12.9.16
For his first solo show in the UK, Vainio side-steps the direct intensity that Pan Sonic are so well known for and instead subtlety plays with the potential of the room's PA. Carefully modulated frequencies create a surprisingly warm and seductive narrative that is openly personal but yet less brooding than much of his other work. Download as a FLAC and rejoice in its technical composition.
1. 11.01.13 - Mika Vainio (45.24)
Recorded by James Dunn at Cafe OTO on Friday 11 January 2013. Mixed by James Dunn. Mastered by James Dunn. Photograph by Fabio Lugaro.
Mika Vainio 11.01.13
Messrs Teitelbaum, Curran and Rzewski eschew traditional compositional modes in favour of rescuing and replaying oft-forgot sounds and liberating childrens toys. Foghorns in the night, slices of heavy metal, serene synthesiser drones and lost sheep are free to serve the general purpose of communication. What Steve Ben Israel would've called "a serene wig-bubble."
Recorded by James Dunn at Cafe OTO on Wednesday on 13 December 2013. Mixed by John Chantler. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx, Berlin. Photo by Dawid Laskowski.
MEV - Symphony No.105
Portland-based composer, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Marisa Anderson's headline show at Cafe Oto. Twisted, powerful improvisations blend with her own compositions and the traditional tunes she adores to make hairs bristle and feet stomp. Likely to make you sweat in your own front room.
Marisa Anderson/ guitar, voice
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by James Dunn on 06.07.15. Mixed by James Dunn. Mastered by Rupert Clervaux. Photo by Dawid Laskowski.
Marisa Anderson - 06.07.15 DL
Man Forever is a percussion ensemble founded by ONEIDA drummer John Colpitts. Equally versed in the disparate musical languages of DIY rock, improvisation, and contemporary classical, Colpitts created Man Forever to 'explore the outer limits of drum performance, to overwhelm, to investigate the nuances that bloom in the midst of repetitive music." Elaborate drum arrangements remain essential to Man Forever, augmented by voice and melody - and by Alexander Hawkins for this special OTO show.
"[Kid Millions] plays with a momentum and velocity that few can match and...a huge amount of soul." - The Quietus
Kid Millions (John Colpitts) / drums, vocals
Matt Evans / percussion, organ, vocals
Amy Garapic / percussion, vocals
Carson Moody / drums, vocal,
Brandon Lopez / bass
Alexander Hawkins / piano
Noah Hecht / additional percussion on "The Clear Realization"
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook. Mixed by James Dunn. Mastered by James Dunn.
Continuous Infinite Present 1985
Photo: Jean-Pierre Maurer, Milan
Courtesy of the artist
Man Forever - 22.5.17
In 2011 we were lucky enough to welcome Loren Connors to OTO for a sold out show. With the room suitably hushed, Connors' elongated washes build and then evaporate - leaving behind fragile notes which sit and linger in soltude. Dreamy and ethereal, abstract and atmospheric, it's like reading Virginia Woolf's 'To the Lighthouse' and waiting for the sun to come up. One to shut your eyes to.
"These were Connors 'Airs', played with a softness that meant they floated in the breeze, merging into the night. It was so fragile, barely even there in fact: the notes only just made it above the level of the amp hiss. Like a selection of old photographs, you had to study hard to pick out the detail of those memories being lost amongst paper grain and colour fade. These ghosts of songs felt as much about the passing of time, about loss and heartbreak, as Langille’s vocal set did earlier." - Scott McMillan
Loren Connors / electric guitar
Recorded on Saturday 14th of May by John Chantler. Mixed by John Chantler. Mastered by James Dunn. Photo by Andy Newcombe.
Loren Connors 14.05.11
"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