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Jazz / Free Jazz
Drone / Ambient
Outsider / Art Brut
Sound Art / Spoken Word
Indie / Rock
Folk / Song
Our new in house label, releasing music recorded in lockdown.
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
‘A series of false endings’
Statement by Nidge Ince:
"Standing proud in a field of wonder like a clear night riven with stars, UBS are a multifaceted magickal conglomerate who search for the divine and ineffable through sound, song and stillness. Their genre defiance continues to unfold and ascend, and each new release brings something glittering and unique to their collective canon. ‘The Night Fell Off Its Axis’ is no less piquant. Go forth and search for yourself ...
‘Roses in the voltage hum. Along the leys of Albion’
Todd Barton - Shakuhachi, Waterphone
David Colohan - Sonic Manipulation, Vocal
Dom Cooper - Fender Rhodes, Field Recording, Modular Synth, Percussion, Sonic Manipulation, Vocal
Dagmar Gertot - Vocal
Graeme Lockett - Vocal
Grey Malkin - Synth
Alison O’Donnell - Omnichord, Shruti, Vocal
Johno Wells - Sonic Manipulation
Joolie Wood - Violin
Recorded July 2020 - October 2020
California, England, Ireland, Oregon, Russia, Scotland
Mastered by Bladud Flies!
Cover ink gesture by Dom Cooper
United Bible Studies – The Night Fell Off Its Axis
how do i get / from a to b / from a to base /from a to u / a to be / a to base / a to aide /aide to base / base to brr / base to / br /base to breath / hh / arbours / arbr / hh /another great / unhoming
From A to B
Sonoscura’s slow, immersive soundtrack of voices, landscapes, and spoken text is organised into five connecting and echoing parts. The meandering energy creates inner repose and sharpened awareness. It was conceived and created in response to the eerie and brutal global confinement of Spring 2020. One of the pieces reframes Caroline Bergvall’s online public writing event Night & Refuge between five UK-based poets, live on zoom and twitter across five timezones, 20 May 2020, 6.00PM- 9.00PM BST. Sonoscura was also developed as a film-poem, filmed by Andrew Delaney and commissioned by Planet P berlin: lockdown version 21. poesiefestival berlin. Premiered online, 9 June 2020.
Written, created, performed, recorded, edited, and produced during the Spring 2020 lockdown.Mixed and mastered by Jamie Hamilton. Produced by Caroline Bergvall. Cover image: Andrew Delaney, video-still from film-poem Sonoscura.
Thank you to the poets and all the voices for their contributions. Special thanks: Jamie Hamilton, Andrew Delaney, Matthias Kniep, Michaela Freeman, Harriet Cook, Angharad Cooper, Erin Moure, Fielding Hope.
Caroline Bergvall 2020A Sonic Atlas Project
Caroline Bergvall – SONOSCURA
Following on from his duo release with Crystabel Riley (as @xcrswx) on Takuroku Seymour Wright unveils two new solo tracks. These are half of a set of four remembering 'Rites' begun earlier this year (the other two have appeared on AMPLIFY and klasika.lsm.) Recorded as part of his live stream in an empty OTO in August 2020,
Seymour explores the traditions, structures, and spaces of OTO, the saxophone, and memory.
1. Natural Rite [angle] (2020, for Carole Finer)
solo for alto saxophone on window, shutters, radiator and wall.
2. Knot Rite (2020, after Frances A. Yates, Jan Kopinski and Tina Brooks)
solo for three alto saxophones and their feedback.
--Seymour Wright - saxophone--
recorded 'live-stream' at cafe OTO by Shaun Crook August 21st, 2020mixed Seymour Wright.
Seymour Wright – (If) I Remember Rites (2020)
Farida Amadou is one of the most exciting young players to emerge from the free-improvisation/experimental scene in Europe, having treated us to some explosive performances with Steve Noble and Thurston Moore here over the past few years.
Farida's own solo bass playing takes centre stage here, utilising the metallic timbre & rhythmic potential of her strings as the basis for two exploratory improvisations. Terse melodies, harmonic shards and rumbling patterns are sewed together in elapsing incendiary phrases, like Jamaladeen Tacuma's playing if he joined an industrial punk band instead of Ornette Coleman's group circa Body Meta.
With fx pedals Farida is able to open the possibilities of her instrument open, exploring thick fuzzed-phrases, spacious harmonic interplay, drones and more. We look forward to hearing more of this sort of thing from Farida in OTO, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.
Farida Amadou - bass & electronics
Recorded and mixed at Les Ateliers Claus - Brussels, by Christophe Albertijn august 19th 2020Picture - Laurent Orseau
Artwork design - Oliver Barrett
Thanks to Tommy, Christophe, Laurent and Jérôme.
Farida Amadou – Reading eyes and facial expressions
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
A Self-titled split album, featuring the debut recording from new band Not Usurper, and a new recording from old band Usurper.
Just like Nietzsche’s studies on what constitutes Good and Evil, what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in Usurper’s world of aural mischief is hard to decipher. Over the past two decades Ali and Malcy have made clear their love for aural detritus, absurdist humour and Beckett-esque excursions, manifesting their activities in cd-rs, tapes, comic books and life-altering live performances. Sounds unfurl less as musical signifiers and more as moments of micro-theatre, cogs in motion, rainfalls of assorted junk and muttering from the sewer upwards.While ‘WRONG’ gives the duo space to explore the nooks and crannies and assorted miscellanea in the respective abodes, ‘RIGHT’ seems to give them some purpose. Scissors and paper are in their hands, they seem to be wrapping something, but what are they wrapping? Are they doing it ‘right’? Are they ‘right’? Does it sound ‘right’? Does it look ‘right’? Is what they are making ‘right’? Wait a minute, is that Malcy, or is that Ali? Or is Ali Malcy and is Malcy Ali? Does it matter? What is ‘wrong’ after all? Is wrong right, or is right wrong? But what does ‘right’ mean? Is it correct, or is it a start - ‘right’ now? Let’s do it right, right now, ‘right’? Leave that up to Ali Robertson and Malcy Duff, or not Ali Robertson and Malcy Duff. Or Usurper, or Not Usurper.
Not Usurper isn't Ali Robertson and Malcy Duff
Usurper is Ali Robertson and Malcy Duff
Recorded in 2020
Artwork by Malcy Duff
Mastered by Oliver Barrett
Not Usurper / Usurper – Not Usurper / Usurper
Tom Scott has long been a long-term guest at OTO, treating us solo sets and collaborations with the likes of Andrew Chalk, Ashley Paul and Timo Van Luijk for over a decade now. Scribed over summer and Autumn in 2020 lock-down, 'Tattered Angels' is an 18 part suite for piano, seeing Tom pick up fragments of memory and distill them into a set of sanguine melodic lacunas.
Alongside his music practice, Tom is a photographer, capturing the barren landscapes, sea shores, boats, stones and marine objects by the coast of Barrow-in-Furness. Like a photo album rendered in aural form, 'Tattered Angels' unfurls a series of vignettes that meditate on place and time. With his piano keys, Tom paints impressionist moods of each memory, delicately aligning each note with the contours, rhythms and small details that seep from the frame. Like Satie, Poulenc and Ravel, Tom is able to unearth latent emotions and piece them together in a weightless space. Music that slowly dances from his headspace to ours.
Tom Scott - piano
Recorded at Piel View House, late October & early November 2020
Titles lifted from poetry by Guy Garrett
Cover image by Tom James Scott
Design by Oliver Barrett
Tom Scott – Tattered Angels
At the end of May this year Calum Storrie started to produce a graphic score with no idea of how it might translate into sound. The score, drawn and collaged onto manuscript paper, used a limited number of elements: a red circle, black lines, a film still, a rubber stamp, a stencil, zigzag lines, a fragment of musical notation and found and ‘Letraset’ text.
Storrie made a page a day over the next nine days. He sent the finished score to Steve Beresford, wondering if he might be able to take this visual exercise and turn it into a piece of music – coherent or otherwise. Beresford worked on the score at the piano over the following weeks, recording the responses to individual pages on his iPhone. The result is this suite of nine reflective studies.
The release is accompanied by a 20 page PDF manuscript of the score.
Written by Calum Storrie
Performed & recorded on piano by Steve Beresford
Cover design by Oliver Barrett
Calum Storrie / Steve Beresford – Nine Day Score
London based artist Cam Deas presents a revelatory new stage in his practice. Following in the footsteps of the likes of David Tudor's Rainforest works, Cam studies in the liminal space between the natural world & synthesis, conjuring deep, meditative and beguiling sound worlds. Some of his most singular and focussed work to date, following on from a series of impressive releases on Death of Rave and Alter.
"I wanted to make something which reflected a scene of nature, outside of the city, somewhere which has become more and more attractive to be over the last few months... So I made these synthesised percussion sounds to be almost real and wooden, which are weaving in and out across different tempos, playing patterns that are somewhat regular, but always changing slightly. This is meant to be analogous with the dawn chorus, or any scene of nature where lots of different small events are happening, layered, at once... But I only had the dawn chorus, so I recorded that at 4am on Monday morning. These individual bird songs weaving in and out, repeating, different birds joining and leaving throughout. So it's meant to be 3 different sound environments, or imaginary frames of an environment at 3 different moments." - Cam Deas
Cam Deas – Rhythmic Landscapes
With the tools of field recordings, cello, whip and tape manipulation in hand, Lia Mazzari and Tom White tease the temporality and geography of domestic and outdoor spaces during various parts of 2020 lock-down, rupturing a sonic space where they are both passive and active subjects.
Rather than relishing in the new found silence of lock-down, Lia and Tom amplify sounds that are normally drowned out by the buzz of everyday life and activity. On 'The Unending Attraction of Crowd', they delve their curiosity into aural events during the initial lockdown phase in spring 2020. In it, the clatter of industrial work and manufacturing in London is processed alongside the snap of Lia's whip and recordings at a football match, where they captured the artificial crowd noise piped into the field, as well as the chants of fans watching from the side of the stadium before they were dispersed by police.
On Lettura di un’ onda (reading a wave) they explore the duality between city and countryside in post-lockdown summer, both juxtaposing and transmuting aural components in a fizzing aural mesh. On Lia's trip to France, scurrying cicadas, covid-19 safety announcements and cello drones elapse in and out of the frame, meeting Tom's domestic rumblings in a slow panning organic and synthetic sound world.
Together and apart, they form a hybridised sonic ecology, exploring the beauty, alienation and acute loneliness of their own lives and others locked down.
Lia Mazzari - whip, cello, field recordings
Tom White - field recordings, digital manipulation, tape manipulation
Mastered by Oliver Barrett
Lia Mazzari & Tom White – Lettura di un' onda
Inclusive music ensemble JAMAICA! send a sonic missive from London's underbelly. Swelling drones, ghostly mutterings and crumbling electronics fade in and out of one another in a cauldron of organic and synthetic sound, made from a mixture of traditional and home-made instruments. Fans of early AMM and Wolf Eyes' more stripped back work will relish here in this extended zoned jam, where no intensity is lost while each aural gesture is given space to breath, explode, implode and fade into silence.
The piece is bookended by a sudden dub soundsystem workout, seeing the group emerge out of their insular domesticity and party on the streets.
The music presented here heavily features and is dedicated to Leon, one of the mainstays of JAMAICA! who passed away earlier this year.
All music by JAMAICA!
Artwork design by Oliver Barrett
The artwork features Leon's bass. RIP.
JAMAICA! – Leon