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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.
Whipped up live and onto tape in Brussell's experimental music mecca Les Atelier Claus last summer, 'Dork Star' is a gloriously breezy suite of weightless psychedelia and blues. Guitar, bass and drums weave in and out of one another seemlessly, drifting across an open plain and reaching towards ecstatic heights. If you love those early Träd Gräs Och Stenar records, you're in for a real treat here.
"In the past 15 or so years Ignatz has explored all visible cracks and overlapping layers between (or underneath) folk music, blues, singer- songwriter and psychedelia. De Stervende Honden (Dying Dogs in Dutch) know their place more than well, sending the anxious listener with endless psych bass and primitive percussion into a kennel where after a few bites dream state replaces sense of direction." - Dennis Tyfus
Bram Devens - Vocals, GuitarsTommy De Nys - BassErik Heestermans - Drums
All tracks recorded at Les Ateliers Claus, summer 2020 mixed by Erik Heestermans, mastered by Tommy De Nys
Ignatz and De Stervende Honden – Dork Star
“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
Vasco Alves' work investigates the materiality of sound and aspects of acoustical phenomena through the use of unstable electronic and acoustic processes, which may include synthesis and amplification techniques, bagpipes and customised wind instruments.
For this release for Takuroku Vasco pares his tools back, sculpting a work based on a solo cycling trip he made through a long road in Portugal in the summer of 2020. The road was built in the 1940s, connecting the top of the country to the bottom via a winding central route. Recording the names of towns and villages with his phone and using that list of names as the spine for these recordings, he then adds a set of volatile synthesis systems, forming a bed of stripped-backed electronics for the text to thread itself through.
Part experimental audio diary, part road movie and part psychogeographic meditation, Estrada Longa is an absorbing work of chiselled, enveloping sound and haunting textual exploration.
Vasco Alves – Estrada Longa
Cast-On is the collaborative project of Ilana Blumberg and Tom Wheatley. It critically examines fashion and music, collapsing them over each other. This edition features the contributions and support of Alicia Gladston, Rachel Hell, Olivia Norris, Cecile Tulkens, Dawid Laskowksi, Kim Thue, Shaun Crook and Jackson Burton.
Here, Cast-On looks at the photoshoot and background music; how they can intercept & harness the passage of time, these subjects themselves being built from layers of meta-performance.
Shot in an empty OTO, the film is set on the margins of a photoshoot, in a world created by Alicia Gladston, with Ilana Blumberg’s 2021 knitwear collection i-Lana as its genesis. As sets and scenes come and go throughout the space, the piano interrupts and underwrites the opaque dialogue that constructs the magic of the photograph.
Ilana Blumberg - clothes, model, direction
Tom Wheatley - music, model, direction
Alicia Gladston - set design, styling, creative direction
Rachel Hell - camera (still), styling, hair & makeup
Olivia Norris - model
Cecile Tulkens - knitting machine commentary
Dawid Laskowski - camera (video)
Kim Thue - camera (video)
Shaun Crook - recording
Jackson Burton - host
CAST-ON – DRESSER MUSIC
Pleased to reveal the 2nd solo release by Japanese drummer-percussionist-composer Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. Active for over a decade, Yamamoto has performed and recorded extensively with artists such as Jim O’Rourke, Eiko Ishibashi and Akira Sakata, as well as participating in innumerable improvised and ad hoc groups. After hearing his stunning debut solo release, Ashiato, released last year on Black Truffle and Newhere Music, we knew we had to ask him to contribute to our Takuroku series.
Retaining all the sense of focus and intensity that characterised his debut release, Yamamoto opts for a kind of chiselled minimalism on ano kane wo narasu. Recorded in one take while imagining he's playing a “no-audience & no live-streaming” gig, he creates a cocooned sonic space, sown together by bowed cymbals and gentle gong hits, forming textural work that shrieks, sighs, moans and folds into itself. As the piece develops, Yamamoto engages with cyclical rhythmic play, lifting his sound world from a cauldron of swelling drones skyward. An absorbing work of emerging and collapsing sound - threaded together with a masterful deft hand.
Tatsuhisa Yamamoto - percussion
Recorded at AmorfonMastered by Oliver BarrettCover photo by Taiko KuniyoshiThanks to Keiko Yamamoto, Yoshio Machida and Cafe OTO
Tatsuhisa Yamamoto – ano kane wo narasu
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
Joachim Nordwall – The Search For Intelligent Life On Earth
Taku Sugimoto is one of our favourite guitarists. Having cut teeth in Japan's underground scene in the 1990's, he has gone on to sculpt his distinct brand of elliptical guitar playing, a kind of ultra-minimalism akin to the work of the Wandelweiser collective. As Bruce Russell of the Dead C has written, "Sugimoto is perhaps the pre-eminent stylist on the guitar ... He brings a golden glow to every session he partakes in, having abandoned amped up noise in favour of a much more introspective and calligraphic style of play."
In this new release, his shards of harmonic and melodic playing meet the bustle of city life. His guitar never feels like an intruder to the musical frame, and instead appears and disappears like gentle gusts of wind or flickers of stars on the horizon. Held together by his focussed compositional techniques and deft attack on his instrument, Taku creates weightless sculptures of sound that meld themselves with the world, infusing each sonic frame with a sense of wonder as it floats and fades to nothing.
--recorded by Taku Sugimoto, April 13 &15, 2021, Tokyo
Taku Sugimoto: electric guitar (G major) & acoustic guitar (VII)
Taku Sugimoto – G major (2, 3, 5, 7 / III, IV, V) / VII / G major (2, 3, 5, 7 / III, IV, V)
‘Modern Living’ is album of material originally intended for the project ‘20°32'50.4"S 67°22'57.6"W ‘(2021) a multiscreen video installation about the Salar de Uyuni, an expansive, ancient salt flat in Bolivia which has the largest reserves of Lithium on the planet. An area of increasing global importance due to the increasing demand for Lithium within everyday electronic devices and the next significant shift in transport, the electric car.
This record now sits outside of the project but is still very much informed by research into the area and the politics of the Lithium economy and the intersections between landscape, psychotropic medicine and global trade.
Aspects of the record were written from a speculative perspective, in anticipation of my visit to the salt flats, other aspects were written in retrospect, trying to recall emotions and observations of alchemy and colonialism, futuristic land art, and the overwhelming sense of absence and alien melancholia that the salt flat instilled within me. The music synthesizes both digital and analogue sources, as a means to abstract both the material and the immaterial, to mimic sounds of fluidity and evaporation, heat and sunlight, the ancient and the ultramodern.
Mastered by Jack Allett
Rob Lye – Modern Living
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
Four Dances is an animated film made by Billy Steiger and Zara Joan Miller for TakuRoku. The film features four 'movement-drawings', or dances, each accompanied by piano recorded at Cafe OTO.
Billy Steiger & Zara Joan Miller – Four Dances
A new work from Sunik Kim, following Zero Chime (First Terrace, 2019), presented in film format. Featuring new music, as well as text from George Jackson, Kim San, Danièle Huillet, Xu Lizhi, Rosa Luxemburg, V.I. Lenin, Lee Jae-eui, and many more.
"...and to your horror it will proclaim with trumpets blazing..."
Sunik Kim – The bent bow must wait to be released
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."
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
Alex Ward presents his second solo guitar album, conceived and developed over the first two months of the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown and recorded on May 28th of that year. Unlike his freely improvised solo clarinet performances such as the Otoroku-released 15.2.18, Alex's solo guitar music integrates composed and improvised materials in a similar manner to that which he employs with his groups Items 4 and 10. His first solo guitar album Frames (released in March 2020 on Relative Pitch Records) consisted of six individual pieces encompassing a variety of approaches and moods. By contrast, the five new compositions on The Trade are dovetailed into a continuous 43-minute performance, the formal arc of which might not necessarily be best perceived by attempting to discern where each piece begins or ends (although a division into 3 tracks has been made for listener convenience). This seamlessness of approach is reflected in the high level of momentum and energy sustained across substantial amounts of the performance's duration, balanced out by the starker tone of the album's later portions.
Alex Ward - guitar
Artwork design by Oliver Barrett
Alex Ward – The Trade
Back in May 2018, percussionist Steve Noble met bassist Farida Amadou, and have since developed their own high-energy and exploratory music together as a duo. Steve's rolling, detailed and pointillistic playing melds in symbiosis with Farida's smudged, deep, funked-up lyricism, creating a physical sound that tosses and tumbles across lightning-speed interplay.
As a unit they've welcomed into the fray ex-Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore and recently free jazz pioneer Peter Brötzmann, but for this set of trio releases they invite saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos, clarinetist Alex Ward and bass clarnitest Yoni Silver for a series cooked up in our OTO Project Space.
For this session, Chris Pitsiokos shoots winding darts of needle-sharp saxophone through Steve and Farida's sound world, taking the language of the likes of Coltrane and Braxton and pushing it into whole new extremes.
Steve Noble - percussion
Farida Amadou - electric bass
Chris Pitsiokos - saxophone
Artwork & mastering by Oliver BarrettCover photo by Laurent Orseau
Steve Noble / Farida Amadou with Chris Pitsiokos – Space 1