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Our new in house label, releasing music recorded in lockdown.
Following on from his preposterous 'MUJZIK MONSTRØSA SPEEDRUN', which was released in 2020 on Takuroku, Goodiepal returns with an all new radio-based experimental sound work.
On 'The Pole Imposter & The Databar' he embraces his ongoing audio-based crypto-academic documentation of the strange sides of European computer music. As ever with Goodiepal's work, it's best for words to pare back and let the piece speak for itself. Dive in - it's free.
Cover design by Oli Barrett
Goodiepal – The Pole Imposter & The Databar
Brighton's Duncan Harrison presents an all new work of bizarre and beautiful junk-concrete, pieced together from unedited phone recordings and spread between two channels (left and right audio).
Like the two channels that unfurl the collection of unedited phone recordings, the sounds Duncan reveals are caught in dualities; the serious and unserious, the sad and ecstatic, the planned and unplanned; the musical and non-musical; the meaningful and meaningless. Whether twanging a guitar, walking into a rock bar, having chats with pals, rattling junk in a sink, making voice notes to himself, burping into the mic or rehearsing wrestling moves from memory, he provides a peep-holes to his inner and outer life, while never revealing a full picture. Through narrative juxtaposition, crude editorial cuts and double exposition, he plays a masked game of sleight of hand, unveiling layers of truth and untruth.
"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person" said Oscar Wilde. "Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth."
Duncan Harrison - all voice memos & editing
Duncan Harrison – Two Channels of Unedited Voice Memos
Fragile strength is what i've been
Changing before your very eyes
Though often unseen- (from 'Trilogy')
As Takuroku hits the milestone of 100 releases over the past 6 months, we couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than a debut solo release (yes, the first ever!) by Maggie Nicols.
Maggie has been a familiar name around OTO over our 13 year history, lending her voice and talents to a series of unforgettable performances, including a session with Joëlle Leandre and Roger Turner, which remains one of our favourite archived live performances to this day. While she might be best known as an improviser, most notably in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Feminist Improvising Group and more recently with the likes of 'Les Diaboliques', her talents stretch into song, dance, poetry, performance and composition.
This release, modestly recorded on her computer after teaching herself how to use Garageband during lock-down, brings forth her doubts, anxieties, loves and desires in a 13-part musical journey. Webbed through piano ballads, playful improvised ditties, stories, poetry and multi-layered vocal arrangements, 'Creative Contradiction' feels like a long-overdue catch up with a close friend. There's reminiscing, there's laughter, there's tears, there's chatter that floats on and off topic, there's things shared you don't feel comfortable sharing with others. When the world around us makes these sorts of relationships difficult or rendered void, intimacy through art can feel like an act of generosity: a hand outstretched in the darkness. Thank you Maggie for gifting us just that.
Maggie Nicols: voice, piano, electric keyboard and ceremonial drum
Recorded at home in 2020Mastered by Oliver Barrett
Photo from a workshop a ‘Learning, Transformation and Technique weekend at ‘Hecate’s Haven'
What needs Nourishing’ guided by Portia Wintersduring
Additional musicians on Track 8:
Katerina Koblizek - voice & Olitar (guitar made out of a Palestinian Olive oil can by cellist and guitarist Steve Moyes)
Ludek Salac - guitar
Maggie Nicols – Creative Contradiction: Poetry, Story, Song & Sound
German artist Tina Jander presents 'Ice Cubes', a durational piece for cello and field recordings. Pieced together from plucked melodic mantras and swelling bowed refrains on cello, Tina gifts each aural gesture space to gradually unfurl over time, elapse in and out of itself, and meet other gestures in a series of iterative phrases. Over the piece's duration new and pre-existing motifs are unveiled, creating patterns that seamlessly appear and disappear.
The piece is peppered with occasional field recordings, providing an open window where these patterns meld into the everyday. Absorbing and sensitive work from an artist we look forward to hearing more from in the future.
I think Tina’s work is brilliant, but what I love so much about ‘Ice Cubes’ is how it hovers around a particular place, detours then returns, without feeling forced or over thought. And this I think is a hard thing to do in a timeline - create a sense of time and pace that doesn’t feel too rushed or too static. There’s some great moments: the placement of an environmental recording, as if offered for our consideration and then just removed. And the underlying undulations of a cello placed outside its musical frame, simultaneously both fragile and grounded, a haunting subaquatic echo, a prelinguistic memory, drawing the listener impossibly close.
- Mark Fell
Tina Jander - Cello & field recordings
Mastered by Oli Barrett
Tina Jander – Ice Cubes
OTO favourites Rie Nakajima and Akira Sakata team up for a delectable 2nd release together, seeing Akira's exploratory saxophone wind-around, lean against and coalesce with Rie's dexturous kinetic sound world.
"Our second album ‘Umihiko Yamahiko’ was recorded at Bar Isshee on 11 December 2020 in Tokyo. Only 10 audience members were allowed in the room, which created a very intimate and shy atmosphere as usual. There was a zoom recorder quietly sitting on a chair. It belongs to one of the audience members. He said it’s his hobby to record live concerts. He wanted to archive as many show as possible and publish these 50 years later. We laughed that most of us wouldn’t be here by then. He kindly let us use the recording to publish it from TakuRoku. Only 3 months after!! That must be really too quick for him."
Rie Nakajima - objects
Akira Sakata - saxophone
Mastered by Oli Barrett
Rie Nakajima & Akira Sakata – Umihiko Yamahiko
False Self* works are electronic music compositions that explore identity, authorship and the delineation between self and other. The series so far, comprises of three albums:
False Self plays music for six pianos (2021)
A false memory of a sports party (2018)
False Self (2016)
The first two albums were created in collaboration, and sometimes antagonization, with a self authored SuperCollider algorithm — that I named False Self. I envision this algorithm as a fractured version of myself.
False Self plays music for six pianos was composed whilst undertaking lessons with Jim Denizen Simm. Jim kindly indoctrinated me into his own working methods and some of the methods of his friends, many of whom are ex-Scratch Orchestra members; such as Michael Parsons, John White, Christopher Hobbs and Howard Skempton. These lessons led me to abandon SuperCollider in favour of working with more flexible, and to my mind, more interesting systems designed on paper.
The compositions are experimental, system based works for six pianos. They deploy integer tables to arrange cells of slow, jazzy piano music. Each piano has eight cells of music and one silent cell. The cells mobilize as hypnotic cyclones of repetition, that move in and out of sync, to create complexity from simplicity. As the compositions progress, the cells extinguish themselves in a languid, stuttering fashion — before the process begins anew.
Rudi Arapahoe 2021
Composed, recorded and mixed by Rudi ArapahoePerformed by False SelfProduced by Jim Denizen Simm
Artwork by Oli Barrett
*The term False Self is lifted from the psychiatrist Ronald David Laing's writing. I use the term to imply that there is another self working on the compositions with me.
Rudi Arapahoe – False Self plays music for six pianos
“Snow on snow, snow on snow”
"Every year these words of Christina Rossetti’s run through my mind over and over. And so began my first piece of choral music, weaving together both Harold Darke's and Gustav Holst’s settings of In the Bleak Midwinter. Eight parts, or two quartets, repeat two bars of music in two keys at the same time. I premiered the piece with The Part Singers on my birthday in March 2019 accompanied by a recording of a silver fridge made from the inside. This winter I have stitched us together; each voice recorded separately from a different living room.
Earlier in the summer I was mixing a remote performance of Charles Villiers Stanford’s Blue Bird and received a time-stretched version of the piece in my inbox from Duncan. The word “blue” - captured from the heart of Stanford’s setting and suspended like fog, gradually moving and yet absorbing everything into itself. I felt like I had caught the reflected image of the bird in Mary Elizabeth Coleridge’s poem and it dawned on me to release our pieces together."
- Eleanor Cully
The Part Singers: Louise Alp, Roshan Battiwalla, James Beattie, Ruth Bostock, Eleanor Cully, Frances Durning, John Harman, Chris Kneale and Ruairidh Pattie
Snow on snow: composed, edited and mixed by Eleanor Cully
Mastered by Jorge Boehringer
In Blue: composed, edited, mixed and mastered by Duncan Chapman
Cover image: Natalie Boon
Eleanor Cully / Duncan Chapman – Snow on snow / In Blue
Maria Chavez and Jordi Wheeler present their first recorded release for Takuroku, The Kitchen Sessions: 1-5, 2020, an audio result of a 2 day Recording Residency at the legendary theater The Kitchen in NYC.
Due to Covid 19 quarantine restrictions, the Kitchen, like Cafe OTO, has had to temporarily close, but is still providing the venue as a resource for artists to use during this difficult time. The NYC venue offered Maria a 2 day Recording Residency in their main space with an onsite engineer and access to their Steinway B grand piano.
Maria presented her new instrumentation set up for the Recording Residency:
4 Numark TTX turntables
4 RAKE Double Needles (8 needles in total invented by Randal Sanden Jr.)
2 Xone DJ mixers
She invited one of her regular collaborators, Jordi Wheeler, most recently a member of Amen Dunes, to bring his multifaceted talents on prepared piano, bass guitar, and electronics to the session.
These recordings are the result of active listening and improvisation with a new configuration of instruments inside the legendary theater space.
The Recording Residency at the Kitchen provided a safe space for Maria, (currently on medical sabbatical while recovering from a rare brain surgery in the Spring of 2019 and who expects to return to public performance in 2022-23) accommodating her current condition while allowing the duo to experiment with her new/ larger set up at lower volumes frequencies and generally reacquaint themselves with each other after over a year and a half of not being able to perform together.
Chavez and Wheeler have been performing as a duo since 2015. Their sound piece “Is Made Uneasy” is the intro to Maria’s long form sound piece, Between a Gunshot & a Whisper, as part of Every Time An Ear Di Soud for Documenta14 in Kassel, Germany.
Their duo work has been presented by Cruces Espacio de Arte in Madrid, Spain, as part of the Abasement Series at Max Fish, NYC and has aired on KunstRadio, Vienna, 3cR Melbourne, Australia, the Lot Radio, Brooklyn.
Maria Chavez & Jordi Wheeler – The Kitchen Sessions: 1-5, 2020
This is a drum solo about:
1. Life cycles of make-up (decomposing) and rhythm cycles of drums (decomposing);
2. Documentation of materials from a time (pre- June 2020) when colours of skin (Black and Brown) would be left over barely used within the 'aspirational' image making sector;
3. Discontinued make-up (the updated formulation of this skin make-up contains 3 types of silicone) and theethics of ingredients changing with time;
4. Time, drum-time and the changing smell of plant based time-responsive make-up;
5. 4D moved to 3D (party poi movements), collapsed to 2D (skins), painted and then reimagined back to 4D (time).
Drums Crystabel Riley
Recorded by Adam Matschulat at Cafe Oto
Mixed by Crystabel Riley
Camera footage layer 1 by Zara Miller and Amy Dickson
Camera and Make-up layer 2 Crystabel Riley
Crystabel Riley – Facebeat
Allotropes (Jim Hoult & Stephan Barrett) focus on the subtle interplay of textures and timbres, quiet sounds and the space in between. Jim & Stephan first started performing together in 2016 as part of V22's Summer Club at Louise House curated by Andie Brown (These Feathers Have Plumes) and Helen Frosi (SoundFjord). During lockdown, the sense of a reconfiguration in their experience of time and space led to a long distance collaboration between their respective locations in Västernorrland County, Sweden and London.
Named after the sweeping clouds of blue light and discrete pulses emitted by luminescent Ostracods, which resemble slow motion fireflies as they signal to the ocean depths at moonset, the resulting piece 'Night Signal' uses electronic manipulation to process tiny recorded extracts of clarinet multiphonics and bells scanned at tens of thousandths the time of their normal speed to reveal hidden timbres, creating atmospheres that slowly unfold, shift and develop, until eventually dissolving back into the the waves.
Allotropes – Night Signal
Koichi Yamanoha (Grimm Grimm) strips back his wide-screen psychedelic pop and gifts us 6 instrumental ditties on new mini album 'Recalling'. A delectable selection of exotica, swamp-like dirges, oneiric keyboard refrains, uneasy easy listening and foggy melancholia.
Collected from a mixture of solo bedroom recordings and playful vignettes made with friends, 'Recalling' takes snapshots of memories and brings them into the present. 'Crack', a whimsical improvisation on drum machine and synth, recalls the usually bustling tennis court beside his house during the first lockdown in April. 'Near the dam' swims through a memory of the Takizawa Dam in West Tokyo, rendering a sense of cinematic wonder in a set floating keyboard motifs. 'Behold a Pale Horse', the only track made before lockdown, documents a session with Victor Herrero in his house, with Koichi's theremin painting brushstrokes of electronic melancholia over Victor's wistful acoustic guitar.
'Recalling' sees Koichi plant new seeds in his practice and watch them grow, both coming to terms with the past and creating memories of the future. A treat for fans of his technicolor pop and new fans alike.
Performed, recorded and mixed by Koichi Yamanoha (Grimm Grimm) at home in London 2020 Guest musicians:Victor Herrero - guitar on track 5Paz Maddio - synth on track 3
Grimm Grimm – Recalling
Bridget Hayden has been a regular fixture at OTO over our 13 year history, either treating us to her distinct brand of lonesome avante-blues, or sending scattered aural junk skywards in Leeds-based collective Vibracathedral Orchestra.
In this new solo work, she pares back her hushed songcraft, opting instead for a foggy psychedelia, seeing her spill cyclical lines of bowed guitar, tone generator and synth - as well as vocal apparations and wisps of flute - into a throbbing vaporous mass. Each element feels like it is blowing from a spectre's mouth: rendering each low-end guitar riff, shrill of feedback or squelched synth-line in an ethereal, clouded greyscale.
Whether summoning something of earthly matter or from somewhere else, Bridget feels like she's turning off the lights, lighting candles and welcoming us to a haunted ritual. Recommended listening for late winter nights.
Bridget Hayden - All instruments, edits, compositions, recordings
Bridget Hayden – Transmissions
Xisco Rojo's music dropped into our inbox in the Autumn of last year, and we've been addicted since. Having cut teeth in the noise, jazz and improvisatory scenes of Berlin, Philadelphia and Madrid, he began his solo project in 2013, combining elements of Western and Eastern traditions to form a unique personal style, rich in counterpoints, mysticism and lyrical depth.
Axial Tilt is a single durational improvisation that meditates on the paradigm shift in everyday life since the start of the pandemic. Utilizing 12-string acoustic guitar with an e-bow and a slide, the natural environment sounds of the room and subtle guitar double tracking, he unfolds a raw and beguiling sound world, slowly gliding from rustic sustained high notes and glacial harmonies through to percussive motifs and soft atonal clusters. Each delicate pick, touch and rumble of his guitar is lifted into an open space without limits, with each gesture floating in and out of itself in a seemless motion. This is some of the most tactile, considered and singular guitar playing we've heard in some time. A real treat.
Xisco Rojo – Axial Tilt
With live music and group-based rehearsal and recordings severely restricted in 2020, Dominic Lash gets to work on his own, exploring the rarely-embraced option of playing with recordings of himself on guitar and double bass. Neither a classic call and response or palimpset based approach to double tracking, Dom's volant weaving makes it hard to decipher which recording was made first. Both hands are used to colour the canvas, giving the illusion that lines of each instrument are leading each other down different paths. In a set of winding melodic phrases, splintered guitar stabs, bowed double bass refrains and harmonic embraces, Dom unveils conversations with himself. A dialogue that is both a reckoning and peacemaking with himself and his thoughts within 4 walls.
in memory of Simon H. Fell (1959-2020) and John Russell (1954-2021), with love and gratitude
Everything about this album has in one way or another been influenced by these two master musicians (but please don't hold them responsible).
Dominic Lash - double bass, guitar, recording
Cover design by Oliver Barrett
Dominic Lash – Necessity
Week Nine is a collaborative, durational piece from Teresa Cos, Julia E Dyck and Caroline Profanter. Following a precise mathematical score, the artists developed a stringent practice of recording, editing, and mixing a revolving assemblage of audio files. Each week, their contributions decreased exponentially in length at the rate of 2.5 seconds of the initial 3656.0-second contribution. The result is a triptych of 61-minute compositions, each an archive of and escape from the sequence of moments lived during nine weeks of spring, in 2020.
Composed, recorded, edited and mixed remotely between London, Montreal and Brussels by Teresa Cos, Julia E Dyck and Caroline Profanter
Cover image W9: score by Teresa Cos
Mastered by Oli Barrett
Teresa Cos / Julia E Dyck / Caroline Profanter – Week Nine
Pieced together by recording walks through Akihabara Electric Town, the Metropolitan Expressway which runs through the city (and past her apartment) and Hamarikyu Gardens, Anna Murray brings the fizzing sounds of Tokyo life indoors, melding them with her own delicate treatment of improvised sampling, instrumental layering and live-performed processing.
The result is a dream-like slow-scan through rushing traffic, temple bells, scurrying cicadas, noh chants, scattered crowds, the sound of radios playing from shop windows, game machines and vignettes of passing conversations. Anna's own interventions to the sound world never feel intrusive, and instead offer a subjective lens to the outside world: placing herself in a similar position to that of experimental filmmaker Chris Marker in his 1986 documentary 'Tokyo Days'. During the making of this work, Tokyo was not put into official covid-19 lockdown, instead a kind of voluntary isolation. Anna meets a city tilted off its axis, conjuring aural material quietly singing with wonder, alienation, sadness and longing.
Anna Murray - field recordings, piano, tape, processing
Artwork design by Oliver Barrett
Anna Murray – City Shadows
London-based Brazilian artist Adam Matschulat uses his deft approach to musique concrete & electronic minimalism to carve a space of being: a sonic domain that comes to terms with entangled interior and exterior worlds.
Both a meditation on time and upheaval, opening piece 'Through the cracks' begins with an overwhelming wall of opaque noise, before entering a wistful journey. Adam delicately renders his narrative in dream time, floating between ruminating keyboard motifs, tumbling aquatic sound worlds, the clatter of footsteps, the turning of a page, a tape player switching on and off...
On FFFF, he teams up with experimental drums/sax duo @xcrswx, who lend their tilted playing to Adam's bed of thudding minimalist techno, creating waves of wiry static that seeth from the piece's airless inertia. The release is book-ended by a reworking of FFFF by Sunny Graves, who transmutes the piece, dipping it in a freezing cold bath of iterative industrial dread. Music that takes an aerial view of the city and zooms itself in, past the towering architecture and into the sounds that seep from hidden spaces.
Adam Matschulat - electronics, field recordings
Track 1 'Through the cracks'
Track 2 'FFFF' @xcrsw (Crystabel Riley & Seymour Wright)
Track 3 'FFFF' (Sunny Graves revision)
Adam Matschulat – Through the cracks
"Drum improv: polyrhythms, Bonham and Roach and Graves and Art and Bacon and blastbeats and that voice in the fire escape and nowhere and potatoes and the earth and chickens and greeness and moon observance, solos for solo and duo dancing. We all miss being with people. We’re all doing things to keep going, knowing how much worse the experience of the Other could be. One day maybe we’ll play music with other people in a room."
Blood Music - Drums & electronics
Recorded live at The Park Studios rehearsal room, September-October 2020.
The cover is a sketch of Dogen with stuff coming out of and into his eyes.
Blood Music – Go off, M8