OTOROKU Downloads




OTOROKU Downloads

"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

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. 


Incredibly pleased to finally release this from the archives! Kumio Kurachi is truly one of the most original figures in Japanese music, and his music exists within its very own colourful world. Recorded across two nights way back in 2009, Kurachi is joined by Taku Unami and London improvisors Steve Beresford and Angharad Davies. These two shows still remain as Kurachi's only concerts outside Japan. "Kumio Kurachi depicts our mind and feelings with unthinkable and bizarre words which can be embarrassing to listen to. And yet he manages to create a world which is so familiar to us - small events of our everyday life that we don't pay much attention to. Whether it is a conversation between a funeral service conductor and his helper that you overheard in a supermarket (Supermarket Chitose), or about the people affected by a dam construction (A Dam with 30,000,000 Teardrops), his songs are fragments of our human behaviours and experiences. His lyrical world is made even more unpredictable by his unique guitar style which is apparently inspired by the koto. The music is so melodious that the mixture of the strange wording, guitar and variations of voices thrives all together and it can haunt you without noticing it, just like the small events of everyday life you can't escape from." - Midori Ogata --- Kumio Kurachi / guitar, vocals Taku Unami / guitar Angharad Davies / violin Steve Beresford / piano --- Tracklisting: 1. Train Song (poetry reading)2. Instrumental l3. Asahi4. Cling Film (Saran Wrap)5. Full of Miso (Miso Ga Ippai)6. Instrumental ll7. A Dam with 30,000,000 teardrops (30,000,000 Tsubu Dam)8. Best Camera9. An Event On An Island (Tsudoe Nokonoshima) ft Unami, Beresford10. Slow Walker (Yukkuri Aruku Hito) ft Unami, Beresford11. Supermarket Chitose ft Unami, Beresford12. Here Comes Tatamiya (Tatamiya Ga Kita) ft Unami, Beresford, Davies13. Steel Tower (Tettou) ft Unami, Beresford, Davies14. Soshu Yakyoku (蘇州夜曲) <cover> written in 1940. Lyrics by Yaso Saijo (西條八十) Music by Ryoichi Hattori (服部良一)15. Blues of Blue Natchan (Natchan Blue) --- Mastered by James Dunn from the original recording made by Pete Coward - thanks Pete! Artwork by Kurachi & Oli Barrett. Massive thanks to Midori Ogata, without whom this wouldn't have happened.

Kumio Kurachi - 6/8.12.9