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Takuroku

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

Fragile strength is what i've been Radiant resilience 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

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