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Takuroku

Our new in house label, releasing music recorded in lockdown.

Since 2006 the Portugese duo of Marta Ângela and João Artur (CALHAU!) have been quietly labouring away on their wonderfully tilted practice, embracing music, text, film, and visual arts on a path that has included performances, exhibition projects and several artistic residencies. For this new release on Takuroku they take influence from medieval Galician-Portuguese songs/poetry of insult and mockery called cantigas d'escarnio e maldizert. A carnivalesque sense of play, pathos and absurdity haunts the 33 minutes run time as they shift between sung and spoken incantations, baroque organ dirges, junk-yard musique concrete, layers of tape mush and sonic trickery. Although medievil in theme, there is a particular timelessness to proceedings. One of the main instruments CALHAU lists is "the ghosts of an old cassette re-recorded thousand times during the last 20 years" - with sounds fermented and rendered into beguiling forms. Another is "a crappy electric organ from 1980 called ORION", which dispels both baroque and twisted sonics from its tired engine. When first listening to this it instantly brought to mind the late Ghédalia Tazartès, who sadly passed away this year. Similar to Ghédalia's work this is ageless, contradictory, old, new, sad, strange and often hilarious music. Music that fearlessly reveals its multiple facets to slowly reveal its twisted, tender core. -- CALHAU are Marta Ângela and João Artur -- Mastered by Oliver Barrett

CALHAU! – orioNoiro

Very pleased to digitally release this set of music and poetry from the polar circles from Himali Singh Soin & David Soin Tappeser. ‘we are opposite like that’ is a vast series of interdisciplinary artworks that comprises fictional mythologies for the poles, told from the non-human perspective of an elder that has witnessed deep time: the ice. The release of ‘we are opposite like that’ nestles itself in the twilight of 2021, year of fires and floods, in mourning and as an attempt to remember the last vestiges of ice on Earth. The first part of the release features an original score for string quartet inspired by field recordings from the Arctic and Antarctic circle. The music recounts the tale of the omnipresent anxiety in Victorian England of an imminent glacial epoch. The disorienting fear of an invasive periphery sent shudders through the colonial enterprise, the tremors of which can be felt in contemporary times. The 2nd part of the release, ‘Subcontinentment’, is a manifesto that posits a South Asian Futurism, anti-chronicling the geopoetic links between the poles and the Indian subcontinent. The extra-terrestrial echoes of stones skimming on frozen lakes sound like firecrackers, blackening the air. The soundscape is set against the image of an alien figure from the equator traversing the blank, oblivious whiteness, slowly transforming into glimmering ice. The album will be released later this year on vinyl, and will include a limited edition print comprising imagery and poetry from the visual ‘we are opposite like that’. -- Mastered by Oli Barrett

Himali Singh Soin & David Soin Tappeser – we are opposite like that

Dan Haywood's practice exists in the liminal space between folk, pop and outer-musics. Indebted to troubadour cultures as much as natural history, psychogeography and centuries of British poetry and prose, his work takes singer-songwriter culture to the edge of the cliff, tip-toeing off the precipice, occasionally flying freely over uncharted territory. For this new one-track album Dan uses the aesthetic language of American music (the cyclical dirge of blues and rock'n'roll, the organ funk of r'n'b, the rhythmic syntax of hip-hop) and folds them into a subjective template for his 'Country Dustbin': a song that attempts to come to terms with the clutter of a life in the 20th & 21st century. He utilises the Country Dustbin, in his own words, as “a bottomless pit when you need to dispose of a traumatic episode, a confession booth, a time capsule… an alembic to distil experience, a torch to illuminate a mystery, an arena for a reckoning.” From Los Angeles to Peckham, from Armenia to Perry Barr, switching between autobiographical scenes and stolen observations of the lives of British people, Haywood conjures poetry that walks a tightrope across the joyful, the sad, the wondrous, the banal. Unburdened by dogmatism or linearity, there are glints of Ted Hughes, J.H. Prynne, Robert Burton and Bob Dylan, whipping his observations to allegorical and metaphysical heights. Each syllable is wedded to the band’s hypnotic beat as organic sounds unfurl throughout the 53-minute duration of the piece.Following a slew of ambitious projects, beginning in public with his star-gazing New Hawks triple LP in 2010, and more recently a series from his high gain outfit Pill Fangs, 'Country Dustbin' finds an uncompromising artist playfully pushing songcraft to new places. -- “The best songwriter you’ve probably never heard of has delivered another diamond” Record Collector  “Very far out” David Berman

Dan Haywood – Country Dustbin

"Minton spins the dial across the spectrum of vocalising. At points it feels as if semantic meaning is under the skin - a Beckettian monologue is close by - but then it skitters away. Minton wants us to find meaning in sound rather than the other way around." Louise Gray, The Wire, 2021 "But the Acoustic Chicken is tame beside Woke Up At 8, a free range download from Torquay vocalist Phil Minton. This thirty minute one-take outburst showcases the octogenarian’s unfailingly ability to make unexpected sounds come out of his mouth, often inhuman, often all too human, and owing as much to Beckett’s Not I as to the sacred tablets of improvised music. Panic, terror, social embarrassment, primordial energy and existential awe break the barriers of Minton’s all-consuming and physically exhausting soundscape. "  Stewart Lee, 2021 "Minton immediately triggered the flux of temperamental vocalism he’s renowned for. Shards of verbalization beyond the human, preposterous implosions, deranged emulations, triturated syllables... Thirty minutes of incredibly natural virtuosity summarize an entire existence." Massimo Ricci - touching extremes, 2021 Fished from a dream and dispelled through his contorted and bewitching vocal chords, long-time OTO-favourite Phil Minton shares with us a stunning new one-take solo recording. Phil turned 80 last November and was due to celebrate it with a residency at OTO, but as it couldn't happen we're happy to share this instead, and look forward to having him back in the venue soon... "I had never tried recording myself before, but since the dreaded youknowwhat I’ve been stuck at home, like most people. There's been some music zoomups with colleagues in various parts of the world which I’ve really loved, practicing the trumpet, some far out voice improvising with my grandchildren to keep my chops bouncing, walking our dog Molly, an occasional puff now and again and a glass of vino or two, but no travel and singing in front of people like there has been for the last sixty or so years. Putting out the recycling every Wednesday evening was no substitute, so when Fielding asked if I would like to record a solo for Otoroku, I thought great yes, i’ll give it a go. A new departure. I've always had a problem with technology, I can’t drive among other things, and the practice of improvising and button pushing etc all on the same day is difficult for me: my brain sort of curdles into a white noise custard, whistling and walking no problem. I've had some recording tips from other musicians and have a not so difficult recording program, so when I see that the sound waves are not going into the red when I get loud, all I have to do is press start and off we go - all pretty straight forward. I recorded *woke up at eight* in the morning after not sleeping that well, before any breakfast. I had a lot of fast sounds and images from half remembered dreams only just below conciousness. I’ll leave it to the listener to imagine a narrative if needed. As it is with most dreams, I remember nothing now, just an abstract sense of speed going nowhere…. If you do listen to the recording, please do it in one take like it was recorded and I really do hope you enjoy or whatever. *Also on Fontana records circa 1965, last line. "Because I new that my basal metabolism was not so demanding” A beatnik observation for the time, the producer requested the American accent." - Phil Minton -- Phil Minton - voice & recording -- Artwork design by Oliver Barrett

Phil Minton – woke up at eight

So pleased to present this new intimate solo saxophone recording by the utterly singular Akira Sakata. We can't wait to have you back at OTO some day, Akira! “Under the Covid 19 pandemic all the musicians and live music venues’ livelihoods are under threat. Currently, August 5, 2021 is in the middle of the TOKYO 2020 Olympics. Over 5,000 infected people, It jumped 10 times more than before the Olympics. We have entered an unknown territory. I am lucky to live. This solo is a continuation of the recording prepared to take a video in memory of the late John Russell. It was recorded at Bar Isshee in Tokyo. Many musicians, including Toshinori Kondo, died this year, but I couldn't even go to the funeral. I'm sorry. I can't help but hope that cafe OTO will hold up and this pandemic will end soon. " - Akira Sakata Japanese translation: 「Covid-19のパンデミックの中でミュージシャンとlive houseは誠に残念な状況下にあります。 現在2021年8月5日はTOKYO 2020 Olympic の真っ最中です。感染者は5000人を超えて、 オリンピック前の10倍に跳ね上がりました。最早未知の領域に入りました。私は幸運にも生きています。 このsoloは 故John Russel追悼の映像を撮るために用意した録音の続きであります。東京にあるBar Issheeで録音したものです。今年も近藤等則をはじめ多くのミュージシャンが亡くなりましたが、葬式にも行けませんでした。残念でなりません。cafeOTOが持ちこたえられること、このパンデミックは早く終息することを願わずにはおれません」 -- Recorded at Bar Isshee Tokyo Recorded on 13 Feburuary 2021 Recorded by Eriko Suzuki(suzueri) Mastering & cover design by Oliver Barrett

Akira Sakata – Tosaka to Watashi

Long term close OTO affliliate John Chantler treats us to a new work of deftly arranged textural synthesis, seeing soaring drones, weaving harmonic interplay, fluttering high ends and rolling snare drum work meet and be driven forth by a burning emotional core. We’d been thinking about getting a dog for a couple of years, but it was always tricky to work out a good time amongst the regular travel. We eventually settled on trying to make it happen after coming back from some concerts in Australia in June/July 2020 where I’d also planned to premiere the speaker/synthesizer objects I’ve been building for the last little while and that form the basis of all of the music for this piece. Australia was very quick to shutdown at the pandemic’s onset so the tour prospect vanished and the dog prospect moved into our immediate future instead. I see now that I replied to Fielding Hope’s invitation to make something for the Takuroku series the same day that Eli came to live with us in April 2020 and didn’t really anticipate how much his joyous presence and the ensuing impact of the bigger picture would make difficult what would have previously been a simple task. So, here is my piece — at the tail end of things. - John Chantler -- John Chantler - Digital synthesis, speakers, percussion. -- Recorded July/August 2021, Spaden / Sweden.Cover design by Oliver Barrett

John Chantler – Eli Licking Ice

Recorded in her boyfriend's kitchen in Menlo Park, CA, part of Silicon Valley, 'Crushed Shells' sees electronic artist Madalyn Merkey start her practice afresh, engaging with a whole new set of tools. Starting from a hodgepodge of small borrowed equipment, Madalyn's set-up grew into d.i.y. eurorack modules until it took up the whole room. The album is reflective of this raw, homemade process, including first time interactions with the equipment through to blossoming sound worlds. In her own words, "it is about starting from scratch and seeing where things go." At once baroque and experimental, Madalyn lets wandering melodies find their feet in open terrain. Crystalline synth lines meet others in gentle harmony and disharmony, like slow moving clouds floating past each other, overlapping and forming new shapes. Elsewhere she lets sounds blip, fizz and crack, gifting each gesture plenty of space to come into being. Rather relying too much on iterative electronic phrasing, she creates lively sonic dynamics, with altered repetitive patterns dancing in flux with punctuated rhythms. Carrying itself with a weightless minimalism, 'Crushed Shells' soundtracks an artist that has built a small new world for themselves, and has opened the kitchen window for us all to see. -- Madalyn Merkey - Waldorf blofeld with midi keyboard & d.i.y. eurorack modules -- Mastered by Oliver Barrett

Madalyn Merkey – Crushed Shells

"When I think of home recording, I remember all kinds of experiments I did with cassette tapes in my teens. On bootlegs by Lou Reed and John Lennon they would push the record button of their reel-to-reel tape machines. I used to make demo tracks for albums with them in mind, playing the acoustic guitar in the kitchen or somewhere. It's a good old, tasty sound. On the other hand, although I recently got some new recording equipment, I didn't feel like making a demo with them because they were too gorgeous for me to use. The sound was too good. I also played around with a small old cassette recorder, but it also didn't work. Instead, I was listening back to the live recording archives which I had left unattended for more than a decade, and found out that the sound quality and content of the live concert source in Brazil about 13 years ago was quite like a home recording (there's the applause in the end, though). It's a bit sloppy, but for this release, I proposed this material to Takuroku as a response to their kind offer. Although the organizer, Peter, recorded it on a reel-to-reel, the sound was twisted in some places, and it was a bit like a lo-fi cassette. It's pretty good. Like the demo tapes, there are some tunes that haven't been officially released as studio recording yet (I will include one of them in the near future coming album dedicated to three hippies of turbulent Shinjuku in the 60’s). On the release I also play three tunes which are in my solo album “Thaumaturgy”, which was released last year. It means so much to me that I can let them go after such a long time. Well, now that I've made a series of excuses, please overlook mistakes here and there. Here you go." - Tetuzi Akiyama, May 2021 -- Composed and performed by Tetuzi Akiyama (acoustic guitar) -- Recorded on a reel-to-reel tape recorder by Peter Gossweiler on 6th October, 2008 at Sol da Terra / 13o Festival de Música Livre, Florianópolis, BrazilMastered by Toshimaru Nakamura in 2021Thanks to Peter Gossweiler, Toshimaru Nakamura and Japan Foundation

Tetuzi Akiyama – Thou Shalt Not Hurry