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Takuroku

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

“Consider the whole of your life, what you already do, all your doings. Now please exclude everything which is naturally physiologically necessary (or harmful), such as breathing and sleeping (or breaking an arm). For what remains, exclude everything which is for the satisfaction of a social demand, a very large area which includes foremost your job, but also care of children, being polite, voting, your haircut, and much else. From what remains, exclude everything which is an agency, a "means" -- another very large area which overlaps with others to be excluded. From what remains, exclude everything which involves competition. In what remains, concentrate on everything done entirely because you just like it as you do it.” – Henry Flynt definition of "Brend," from “Against “Participation”: Total Critique of Culture” Sigital Krutulys-Sygis (1967-1996) called himself a poet, thinker and professional dilletante. He wrote several drama works and a stack of poems, and in 1993-1995 actively participated in the development of Alytus avant-garde. He was radically critical of new capitalist relations and universal alienation. Almost none of his writings and creations have been published until this year, and his expression is a purest example of Henry Flynt's description of Brend. In 2021 January, his best friend Redas Dirzys, has collected and published the majority of Sygis (anti)literature (dramas, poems, short stories and at the same time something that does not fit any of those standards) in a form of book sequel. Pages – this is how the author suggested naming these works in order to avoid the toxic concept of art and creativity. In pages, grammar is ignored, text is transformed into matter/image and image into letters. With Shortcoming, I tried to explore the failure of meeting a certain standard in a contemporary society. What does it mean to make something just for the sake of doing it? Without expecting anything in return and without trying to fit in in certain frameworks of the society. Us trying to constantly chase success and fame made us glorify hustle culture, being non-human, machine like creatures that are not allowed to make mistakes. First track - Math won’t save the world is based on algorithm generated percussion pattern (made using custom build max for live device) and guitar improvisation. With this track I mainly experimented with machine and human collaboration for imperfect and unpredictable creative outcome. The longest track and centre part of the whole project is Elephant. This track was based on an unnamed poem of Sygis, about our high ambitions that do not necessarily come true, and that it is not a bad thing. Instrumentation wise I continued my experimentation with computer generated rhythms, highly processed improvised guitar, and overlaid disintegrating cassette tape loops (for which I used another custom build max for live device that progressively destroyed loops by crushing sample rate and bit depth). For a final track - Tale of darkness, I used another unnamed poem (he really did not like naming things) of Sygis. By using this poem of his I wanted to better look into the stereotypes of evil and bad and how we all have a not so glamorous sides of us. I have combined Sygis poem with family archive audio recording from 1995 (year of when I was born) between my father and my brother. So it happens, that previously mentioned best friend of Sygis, who has published his poems, is my father. And even though Sygis took his own life only a few months after I was born, I still have a very strong connection to his ideas and his way of thinking has influenced my own relationship with creativity. - Gong Girl (Guoda Dirzyte)

Gong Girl – Shortcoming

Working primarily under the name Action Pyramid, Tom Fisher's projects range from site-specific sound installation and headphone works for galleries and museums, to experimental radio works and commercially released music. Utilising a multitude of recording techniques his work often seeks to explore and re-interpret the seemingly unnoticed and unseen/unheard elements of our surroundings. In this release for Takuroku, Tom takes to remote locations in his native county of Suffolk, unearthing the sounds of the local marsh, woodlands, river and coast and the multitude of life that exists there. Occasionally arranging these sounds with his own musical interventions, he whisks together beguiling sonic material, rich in timbral, textural and rhythmic quality. 'Singing Below the Surface' features 7 tracks, each of with their own haunting identity. Through subtle collaging, spatialisation and musical symbiosis, Tom opens the liminal space between real and imaginary worlds. "Over lockdown #1 (Spring/Summer 2020) when I was out in the sticks in Suffolk I amassed quite a large amount of recordings, including but not limited to; hydrophone recordings of the local river, some red list bird species, aeolian harps, bullroarers & reed pipes fashioned from locally found objects, as well as huge variety of soundscapes from the area, and have fed these into a new body of work over the course of the last 8 months. On a personal level I think it's taken me this long to find a way to get a handle on these - partly because they remind me so vividly of that very intense part of 2020. It was the longest time I have spent back in the Suffolk landscape since I left home, and I think one way of dealing with all the madness was to go out and record and listen as much as possible. This is a condensed version of some of that time, as well as an exploration of ways in which we can choose to both explore and interact with our surroundings." - Tom Fisher (Action Pyramid) -- Tom Fisher (Action Pyramid) - recordings, instrumentation & mixing  -- Mastered by Oliver Barrett

Action Pyramid – Singing Below the Surface

Passing the mic out to listen to the voices of others has been a small recurring theme in our Takuroku series. Jean-Luc Guionnet's 'Totality', Nour Mobarak's '3 Performance Works' and claire rousay's 'ilsym' all feature voices of friends or strangers, threading recordings of them to create new layers of intimacy in their work. Natalia Beylis is another artist in the series to take this approach. Based upon recordings of friends describing beautiful places, 'Invaded by Fireflies' feels like an psychogeographic journey through unidentified terrain. As a bed for her friend's musings, Natalia forms a sound world of resonant percussion and quietly hissing sonorosations. Tipping to early work of the New York minimalists and David Jackman/Organum's multi-textural drone-based aesthetics in 'Veil of Tears' and 'Sphyx', she forms aural content that matches her friends' sense of beguilement.   "I grew up surrounded by adults who spoke broken English and children who spoke broken Russian. No one quite getting anything 'right'.  English was not my first language and teachers in my school were quick to jump on my linguistic errors.  Though Russian was my first language, I always had a detached shyness that came with trying to master a language in a place removed from where it is locally spoken.  This background gave me a fondness for the English language spoken by people for whom English is not their first language. Then I moved to Ireland and fell in love with the vast variety of accents and the phrasings and slang and twists of Irish melded into the English. Sometimes I can get so lost in the sound of someone speaking (the accent, the lilts, the pauses) that I completely forget to focus on what they are saying. The recordings used in Invaded by Fireflies were not initially gathered for the uniqueness of the voices. Rather, I asked friends to describe memories of a beautiful place, recorded these memories straight onto cassette and then used the recordings in my live performance. In early 2021, while missing the sounds of humans, I decided to revisit these. It was only when I began to bunch the recordings together for this piece that I was struck by the beauty and variety in the voices themselves." - Natalia Beylis Thanks to Rian, Olga, Bas, Phil, Yulia, Maï Ly, Roslyn, Paddy, Niall, Joanna, Elena, George and Moose for lending me their voices. -- Mastered by Oliver Barrett

Natalia Beylis – Invaded By Fireflies

Having cut teeth in the Glasgow music scene as a prolific collaborator with the likes of Ela Orleans, Alasdair Roberts, Jer Reid, Ashley Paul, Sue Tompkins, Angharad Davies and Bill Wells, as well as in bands El Hombre Trajeado, Arab Strap and Sound of Yell, Stevie Jones finally steps forward to present first solo work embossed under his own name. While working tirelessly over the terrain of deconstructed indie, avante-garde pop and folk music, Stevie has spent the last few years embracing experimental works, informed by his recent forays into theatre and film-based sound design, including pieces presented as part of Glasgow's Radiophrenia festival. 'Static Cling' is representative of this journey, providing a sonic bridge between his different approaches to sound. Tracks 'Gleeking', 'Quiver', 'Rust Miasma' and 'Static Cling' find an affinity with the homespun wizardry of Bruce Haack and General Strike, seeing Stevie build bubbling, exploratory electronica from a limited set of means. Tracks 'Apricate', 'Switch Steal' and 'Cochlea' see his brittle double bass playing take the fore, staining the sound field with rattling slaps, thick cyclical swells and swamp-like dirges. Elsewhere he lets these approaches bend and find new shapes with textural work, letting delicate prepared guitar and tape playing lean against and provide jolts to his unfurling sound world. Stevie recorded this new work in GTAC, a dance space in Govan that provided an escape and sanctuary during the pandemic. 'Static Cling' is a documentation of an artist giving himself the time and means to finally go inward, explore, and share with us the delectable results. -- Stevie Jones - Make Noise O Coast, Moog Opus 3, Nord Micro Modular and Noise Orchestra synthesisers, tapes, double bass, prepared guitar and textural elements -- Recorded at GTAC in Govan Photography by Audrey Bizouerne Mastering by Oliver Barrett

Stevie Jones – Static Cling

Joachim Nordwall is a kingpin of the European experimental music scene. The co-founder of Börft Records, the founder of iDEAL Recordings, member of the likes of Skull Defekts & The Gagmen, a prolific collaborator and solo musician, his creative fervour has lead to him to embrace noise, drone, dub, rock, improvisation, minimal synthesis and so much more. Pleased to share this intimate new recording by him, cooked up alone in Gothenburg earlier this year. "When I came across ”The Elephant Table Album” double LP compilation from some Swedish mail order in 1990 I immediately loved the whole thing, from artwork with small images to go with all participants, contact addresses and the of course the music itself. Killer submissions from Chris & Cosey, Lustmord, David Jackman, Coil Bourbonese Qualk to name a few. Stuff I already deeply worshipped as a fifteen year old. But what popped out was a track by one Paul Kelday. I listened to it over and over and his depressive analog synth music was sounding like coming from another planet. That planet seemed to be called Brighton according to the address on the cover. I wrote him a letter and a few weeks later I got a kind reply with a cassette from the 1976 inside too. ”The Search for Intelligent Life on Earth” is still one of my fav releases of Paul Kelday, and for a few years we exchanged cassettes and corresponded about nature, music and life. Being in contact with him and having him guiding me through his rather massive catalogue of recordings, it did change my life and still resonates in how I make music. Paul passed away a few years ago and this is some kind of tribute to him and his work." - Joachim Nordwall -- Recorded at the Gothenburg Sound Experimental Feb-April 2021

Joachim Nordwall – The Search For Intelligent Life On Earth

Antonina Nowacka has treated us to countless unforgettable performances over the years, both with her sister Bogumila Piotrowska in oneiric audio-visual duo WIDT, and in abstract minimalist trio Szpety. In this new work her voice responds to her surroundings and journey through the Oaxaca state in Mexico, recorded in a set of small churches scattered throughout her journey. Imbedded somewhere between the earthily and the metaphysical, her voice - alone, searching and unbound - acts as a receiver of her outer worlds; an emotive map of the terrain as she drifts from one place to another. As Tristan Bath elegantly puts it, "her solo practice focuses solely on the voice’s inherent connection to mental states, its ability to speak wordlessly, and the apparatus of speech itself." "I made these recordings when travelling around the Oaxaca state in Mexico in February this year. I was following a trail of historic organs, but most of them were unaccessible. In the meantime, I discovered that many small churches in villages were open but rarely visited, and I realized they were actually perfect recording venues. What I also discovered, perhaps most significantly, was how interesting getting there was. Everyday I would look for churches to check out, and figuring out how to get there was an exciting part of the proccess. Some of the churches were in far out locations, not easy to access. But while I was travelling I discovered stunning mountainous landscapes, and I would transmit these beautiful experiences later when singing in the spaces. Sometimes I decided to get off road just when I saw an interesting spot. Sometimes I would go very far just to find out a church is closed, but then I would find a different one open nearby, and it would resonate with wonderful sound I did not expect. Whenever there were people in some of churches my interaction and recording would be more fragile as I didnt want to disturb anyone in their prayers." - Antonina Nowacka

Antonina Nowacka – Vocal Sketches From Oaxaca

After countless appearances at OTO over the years - either solo, or in collaboration with the likes of Sharon Gal and Phil Julian - Andie Brown shares with us her debut album under her own name, and her first full solo album in the best part of a decade. Sculpted over the course of a year from her dedicated glass-based practice, Alucita is a tender new work, welcoming the listener to a slowly unfurling, harmonically rich sound world. "Alucita I, II and III are recordings from a trilogy of sound installations for automated glass harp and electronics. Each installation explores the harmonic content of the sounding object (a wine glass) through the synthesis of the resulting audio, fanning out the partials like the wings of a many plumed Alucita moth.Alucita I  is an audio-visual work for a single wine glass, electronics and film. This work was created as part of a micro-commission, curated by People Like Us / Vicki Bennett, as part of her residence at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Centre and hosted by WFMU.Alucita II  is a sculptural sound installation for eight wine glasses and electronics, developed during a three-month artistic residency at Huddersfield’s artist-collective organisation ame.Alucita III is a sculptural sound installation for four wine glasses and electronics." -Andie Brown -- All works recorded by Andie brown in Huddersfield between 2020 and 2021. -- Cover artwork by Oliver Barrett

Andie Brown – Alucita

Katz Mulk have developed a reputation over the past few years for their mind-boggling live performances, infusing dance, sculpture and choreography with their slippery experimental electronic pop. As a group they celebrate the possibility of art as a tool for excavation; filtering inside worlds and contradictory ideas into a space of cohabitation. For this release for Takuroku they share their most personal work yet, brought to life in a 4D maze where elements of pop, musique concrete, slanted electronics and oddball poetics slip and slide with one another in glorious technicolor. "The first two tracks tracks, 'Postcard' and 'Scolding and Soothing', were sketched out for a work-in-progress residency, when all four of members of the group were invited by AME (Ryoko Akama & Stephen Harvey) to spend a week in their Dai Hall space in Huddersfield and put together a new performance. The residency was from the 27th January to 1st February 2020, so developing the work for live performance ground to a halt because of the pandemic. From there it turned into an exchange between me and Ben, and we've slowly worked on it over the last year. We started by raking over familiar ground, using samples that hadn't quite made it into previous work/performances, and from there it transformed into something new and exciting for us quite quickly. The music is shaped by our circumstances - recorded separately at home on headphones rather than in a practice space. Vocals were recorded in the bathroom after my daughter, Corra, had gone to bed. Our collaboration ebbed and flowed through the months as different aspects of our lives took over - work, parenting, exhaustion - and I think this shaped the music as well. Leaving space for it to breathe and ideas to percolate.  As for the words... I edited them together from my journal, which is composed of personal reflections and automatic writing, alongside email conversations with friends, postcards I sent to people and the odd line from DW Winnicott to create a college of intimacies and anecdotes attuned to the present." - Ben Knight -- Cover photo by Stephen Harvey

Katz Mulk – Everything Unfurling