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Takuroku

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

A feature length film, directed by Tori Kudo (Mahar Shalal Hash Baz) This film is made by digital images from the early 00s to 2019, when I started taking pictures with cellular phones. You can see that upgrades in resolution have drastically changed "l'imaginaire" , as we move to smartphones. Most of the images are taken by myself, but my portraits are taken by others. I can't name all of them exactly. But if I had to name who, among them, are working as photographers in their honor, it would be Seiichi Sugita and Maki Abe.- Tori Kudo -- The cover of this release was selected from one of six images sent to us by Tori of a sculpture incorporating layered photographs made by his mother. Tori wrote to us saying: "These six photographs are almost like my mother’s posthumous work. The photographs show a Mobius ring of sheet iron onto which she sticked old photographs on top of each other. My mother’s father, my grandfather, was a painter who lived in Paris before the war. His style of painting was that he would layer paint very thickly. Georges Rouault scraped off layers of paint so he could create flat paintings. My grandfather’s paintings have 1cm thickness but they seemed more like 3D works rather than the perspective paintings. My mother piles up photographs on top of each other. So in a way her style resembles my grandfather’s technique from that point of view. It is quite interesting that I was doing something similar to my mother with the film I made for TakuRoku during lockdown. However in my case I displayed my photos side by side not on top of each other. All is shown, no layering, nothing hidden underneath. It may mean that I still have an attachment to this life. Archiving seems to be a theme of this time. The thing is what do we archive from history. “You could see the movement of power in the erased history “- I think Jacques Derrida was talking about something like that… Freud on the other hand, hated the idea of archiving…he said “it’s the end of one’s life once one started making their own autobiographical anthology.. that kind of wrapping up one’s life while you are still alive.” Yet recently I had an idea of looking into archiving from the perspective of a dead person looking back at their life. And this could fit into this time of pandemic as everyone is facing more or less this issue so I made this film. The first half of this year since the lock down I had done nothing as I received a state grant but the offer from TakuRoku label encouraged me to finish this work. It has been a good practice for me." -- Tori Kudo - film & direction -- Kota Takeuchi - Font for the title at the endhttp://kota-takeuchi.net/ Tori Kudo - The song "archive" that plays in the end roll. Recorded in March 2020. Oliver Barrett - artwork design

Archive – Tori Kudo

"Having brought together two entirely independent solo improvisations like this, one from near the start of the lockdown and the other very recent, and finding that they fit together so well that I must have been  following the same pattern albeit on two very different instruments, what does that tell me? Have I merely folded time on itself without any corresponding fold in space and thereby gone precisely nowhere? Have those intervening months vanished in the attempt? And what can I call the fruits of that attempt? An imaginary duo between present me and early-lockdown me, made real by a stray thought taken too far (because I hadn't intended to put the two together when I recorded them). Have I learned nothing? By themselves, each is both an attempt to reach beyond time in itself, by touching the infinite variability of the reality beyond illusion and, by that very variability (and unpredictability) a blow struck against the homogenising forces of consumerism, a wrench thrown in the gears of the satanic mill. But when combined, then, the variability is multiplied. Not by dialogue (since each was blind to the other) but the stark fact of their separation in time and the events that they book-end. 50,000 dead, give or take. Have we learned nothing? Must the same battles be fought over and over again every single time? Will we still follow the same pattern, when this is all over?" - Massimo Magee, London, 11 May 2020 Cover image: '144 Pills' by MiHee Kim Magee

Wormhole to Nowhere – Massimo Magee

Dan Haywood's practice exists in the liminal space between folk, pop and outer-musics. Indebted to troubadour cultures as much as natural history, psychogeography and centuries of British poetry and prose, his work takes singer-songwriter culture to the edge of the cliff, tip-toeing off the precipice, occasionally flying freely over uncharted territory. For this new one-track album Dan uses the aesthetic language of American music (the cyclical dirge of blues and rock'n'roll, the organ funk of r'n'b, the rhythmic syntax of hip-hop) and folds them into a subjective template for his 'Country Dustbin': a song that attempts to come to terms with the clutter of a life in the 20th & 21st century. He utilises the Country Dustbin, in his own words, as “a bottomless pit when you need to dispose of a traumatic episode, a confession booth, a time capsule… an alembic to distil experience, a torch to illuminate a mystery, an arena for a reckoning.” From Los Angeles to Peckham, from Armenia to Perry Barr, switching between autobiographical scenes and stolen observations of the lives of British people, Haywood conjures poetry that walks a tightrope across the joyful, the sad, the wondrous, the banal. Unburdened by dogmatism or linearity, there are glints of Ted Hughes, J.H. Prynne, Robert Burton and Bob Dylan, whipping his observations to allegorical and metaphysical heights. Each syllable is wedded to the band’s hypnotic beat as organic sounds unfurl throughout the 53-minute duration of the piece.Following a slew of ambitious projects, beginning in public with his star-gazing New Hawks triple LP in 2010, and more recently a series from his high gain outfit Pill Fangs, 'Country Dustbin' finds an uncompromising artist playfully pushing songcraft to new places. -- “The best songwriter you’ve probably never heard of has delivered another diamond” Record Collector  “Very far out” David Berman

Country Dustbin – Dan Haywood

Deluxe version of the album now available to pre-order including bonus tracks and remixes from:  https://pomeraniansnout.bandcamp.com  “Nostalgia (from nostos – return home, and algia – longing) is a longing for a home that no longer exists or has never existed. Nostalgia is a sentiment of loss and displacement, but it is also a romance with one’s own fantasy. Nostalgic love can only survive in a long-distance relationship. A cinematic image of nostalgia is a double exposure, or a superimposition of two images – of home and abroad, past and present, dream and everyday life. The moment we try to force it into a single image, it breaks the frame or burns the surface.” - Svetlana Boym, “The Future of Nostalgia” “I’m not deliberately out to antagonise an audience or spite them or anything like that, but if they adopt the attitude of ‘This isn’t what we expected’, then yippee, I’m gonna wallow in that, because you shouldn’t sit back and expect anything at all.” - John Lydon, “Anger is an Energy” Spring time. Three period instruments from the turn of the century: Yamaha CS1X, Korg MonoSynth 2000, MicroKorg Synth Vocoder. Fingers fumble, sounds happen - obnoxious, unapologetic, fragile like a wobbly cassette that you’ve listened to a million times on the Walkman you dropped before you could afford a Discman. I’m not playing the instruments, they are playing themselves, they are playing me and there is no forcing or fighting them. Faded-photograph sunshine sounds of ’90s electronica, caramelised sweetened condensed milk, the beach, rage, DIY chamber music for cats. Then, it stops: the end of nostalgia and the end of the world as you know it. We are getting old and the sounds have lost their innocence. Thank you to Ed (Teddy) Bennett, Michael Keeney and Hannah Peel for the synth love.  -- Xenia Pestova Bennett - composition / performance / recording / mixing -- Ed Bennett, production / creative & artistic concept Antony Ryan (RedRedPaw), mastering Oliver Barrett, cover design from a photo by Xenia Pestova Bennett  

Atonal Electronic Chamber Music For Cats – Xenia Pestova Bennett

When we asked Mariam Rezaei to submit a Takuroku release late in 2020 she responded by saying “I want to do something, but I want to make sure it's something special”. Almost a year later Mariam decided to team up with vocalist Alya Al-Sultani, presenting a first time duo on turntable and voice, sending lightning fast sonorisations bouncing off the walls of OTO. Mariam and Alya come from different but overlapping disciplines. After growing up as a classically trained pianist, Mariam has built a reputation over time as a prolific turntablist, DJ and improvisor, never shying away from interdisciplinary and experimental projects. Alya meanwhile is a British-Iraqi soprano, but has spent the last few years integrating improvisational techniques, microtonal ideas and Eastern influences in her music. Together their dexterous lungs and nimble fingers birth forms that dance in and out of each other: shifting, soaring, dipping, diving, but never sitting still.Mariam takes Alya’s vocals as content to throw back into the mix, forming multiple layers of chops and edits that ricochet back and forth. Alya’s vocals move between tender refrains, textural flurries and righteous bursts of operatic expression, meeting Mariam digital fx, textural drones and sonic swells in ecstatic symbiosis. Alya’s repeated aphorism “I want you, female,” throughout the start of the set spells it out. This is music about desire and liberation: fiery, sonically rambunctious and forever reaching for new heights. -- Alya Al-Sultani - voice Mariam Rezaei - turntables -- Recorded in Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on the 30th of June, 2021 Mixed & mastered by Oliver Barrett

Alya Al-Sultani & Mariam Rezaei – Sister

Since 2006 the Portugese duo of Marta Ângela and João Artur (CALHAU!) have been quietly labouring away on their wonderfully tilted practice, embracing music, text, film, and visual arts on a path that has included performances, exhibition projects and several artistic residencies. For this new release on Takuroku they take influence from medieval Galician-Portuguese songs/poetry of insult and mockery called cantigas d'escarnio e maldizert. A carnivalesque sense of play, pathos and absurdity haunts the 33 minutes run time as they shift between sung and spoken incantations, baroque organ dirges, junk-yard musique concrete, layers of tape mush and sonic trickery. Although medievil in theme, there is a particular timelessness to proceedings. One of the main instruments CALHAU lists is "the ghosts of an old cassette re-recorded thousand times during the last 20 years" - with sounds fermented and rendered into beguiling forms. Another is "a crappy electric organ from 1980 called ORION", which dispels both baroque and twisted sonics from its tired engine. When first listening to this it instantly brought to mind the late Ghédalia Tazartès, who sadly passed away this year. Similar to Ghédalia's work this is ageless, contradictory, old, new, sad, strange and often hilarious music. Music that fearlessly reveals its multiple facets to slowly unfurl its twisted, tender core. -- CALHAU are Marta Ângela and João Artur -- Mastered by Oliver Barrett

orioNoiro – CALHAU!

Very pleased to digitally release this set of music and poetry from the polar circles from Himali Singh Soin & David Soin Tappeser. ‘we are opposite like that’ is a vast series of interdisciplinary artworks that comprises fictional mythologies for the poles, told from the non-human perspective of an elder that has witnessed deep time: the ice. The release of ‘we are opposite like that’ nestles itself in the twilight of 2021, year of fires and floods, in mourning and as an attempt to remember the last vestiges of ice on Earth. The first part of the release features an original score for string quartet inspired by field recordings from the Arctic and Antarctic circle. The music recounts the tale of the omnipresent anxiety in Victorian England of an imminent glacial epoch. The disorienting fear of an invasive periphery sent shudders through the colonial enterprise, the tremors of which can be felt in contemporary times. The 2nd part of the release, ‘Subcontinentment’, is a manifesto that posits a South Asian Futurism, anti-chronicling the geopoetic links between the poles and the Indian subcontinent. The extra-terrestrial echoes of stones skimming on frozen lakes sound like firecrackers, blackening the air. The soundscape is set against the image of an alien figure from the equator traversing the blank, oblivious whiteness, slowly transforming into glimmering ice. The album will be released later this year on vinyl, and will include a limited edition print comprising imagery and poetry from the visual ‘we are opposite like that’. -- Mastered by Oli Barrett

we are opposite like that – Himali Singh Soin & David Soin Tappeser