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Our new in house label, releasing music recorded in lockdown.
Pioneering Japanese sound artist Akio Suzuki has created improvised and transitory performances since the 1960s, investigating the acoustic qualities of selected locations and utilising an array a self-made instruments. For this beautiful and beguiling release for Takuroku, he presents new work using his ANAPOLAS instrument and “I wa fu e” stone flute.
Akio Suzuki - all instrumentation & recording
Oliver Barrett - mastering & artwork design
Artist’s Notes (English)
“ANAPOLAS -a” & “ANALAPOS -b” 2021
This ON-KI (sound instrument) is a variation of Voice ANALAPOS-a, an instrument which was created in 1970 while exploring the sound of echo at the “self-study event” of the 1960s.
This instrument was used in the LP “ New Sense of Hearing” with Takehisa Kosugi, and in Sesshu Kai work “Interactivity for ANALAPOS.” It was also used in compositions by Aki Takahashi and for Toru Takemitsu’s film music… There was a time ANALAPOS was very active.
ANALAPOS -a is mainly played by blowing a vice into one of the cylinders connected by a spring, while the -b type is made into a percussive instrument by arranging several of those cylinders upright and playing with drumsticks.
In the 1980s, my ANALAPOS was invited to Derek Bailey’s “Company” of Free improvisation, and was able to presented for the first time in London. I also played with Steve Lacy, and more recently John Butcher and Aki Onda using these ON-KI. These groups of ANALAPOS let me play across the field of improvisation from contemporary music.
I’ve found it difficult to carry the heavy iron ON-KI so I have stored them, but I’m grateful that TakuRoku made these ON-KI see the sun again.
“i wa fu e” 2021
In Japan’s Jomon period, which lasted for about 13,000 years from now to 2500 years ago, according to archiological “i wa fu e” (stone flutes) samples may suggest that there have been a festival of blowing natural stones with holes.
There was a “i wa fu e” that I was given from my father, and it was a family treasure that has been passed down to the Suzuki family for generations. I always took it overseas as my mascot, but in the autumn of 2005, at the request of a filmmaker from London, I headed from Paris to Schiphol Airport on the way back from playing this “i wa fu e” at the old crater of the Italian volcanic island Stromboil. This family treasure disappeared from the net shelves of the train together with my suitcase!
Immediately a lost property request call was made on the page of THE WIRE magazine (issue 265), but still no luck after 16 years since then.
In 2019, Carlo Fossati, the owner of Torino’s gallery e/static contacted me that he managed to archive the documentation of me playing the family treasure at the Stromboil. This is the only video record of this “i wa fu e”.
And in February of last year 2020, when I was invited to perform in Auckland, New Zealand. Phil Dawson from Scratch gifted me another stone flute. This is the ““i wa fu e” I use now.
Phil remembered the incident that family stone flute got lost. He had picked up something similar to the lost stone at a nearby beach and kept it for me.
Phil and I have been “stone friends” for many years.
- Akio Suzuki
Notes on the title “ m e r i d i a n s c e n e r y “
As an Eastern person, I wonder if this is allowed, but I made up this word myself.
I put together “meridian” and “light” with a space in between each letter.
Tango, where I live, is the northernmost point on the 135 degree line of Japan Standard Time.
I named it honestly according to where I recorded and in this particular time and season.
I dedicate this title to both the seasonal scene and Keiko, “the child of landscape”, too.
Artist’s Notes (Japanese)
“ANALAPOS -a”& “ANALAPOS -b” 2021
‘60年代の「自修イベント」で、エコーポイントを探るなか1970年に創作したVoice ANALAPOS -aのバリエーションがこの音器です。
Takehisa Kosugiと”New Sense of Hearing・・”というLPレコードの中で使用したり、Sesshu Kaiが、”Interactivity for ANALAPOS”の作曲をして下さったり、Aki Takahashiの委嘱で作曲をしたり、Toru Takemitsu の映画音楽にも登場したりと、活躍をした時期がありました。
ANALAPOS -aは、スプリングでつないだ片方のシリンダーに、主に声を吹き入れて演奏するのですが、それを立てにして幾つかを並べることにより打楽器に仕立てたのが -bタイプで、特性のバチによって演奏をします。
‘80年代になって、Free improvisationのDerek Bailey “Company”に呼ばれてLondonで初演奏が出来たり、フリー・ジャズのSteve Lacyや、最近では、John Butcherや Aki Ondaと、この音器を使っての共演の例もあります。だから、現代音楽から即興の分野をまたいで遊ばせてくれたのが、これらANALAPOS群です。
“i wa fu e” 2021
直ぐに、THE WIRE Issue265の紙面に消息願いが出されましたが、あれから 16年が経ってしまいました。
2019年になって、Torinoの画廊 e/staticオーナーの Carlo Fossatiから連絡が来て、video document,2003 を 〈vimeo.com/364584092〉 登録したとの朗報をくれました。これが、動画としての唯一の記録です。
そして、昨年(2020)の2月に、ニュージーランドのAuclandの演奏に招かれた折、From Scratchの Phil Dadsonから矢庭にプレゼントされたのが、
この「石の笛」です。久しぶりに再会した彼は、以前無くした「石の笛」のことを覚えていてくれたのです。ぼくのために、近くの浜で似たものを拾っておいたんだと。 Philは、長年の”stone friend” なのです。
- Akio SUZUKI
“ m e r i d i a n s c e n e r y “
Akio Suzuki – " m e r i d i a n s c e n e r y "
Samuel D. Loveless' curious and implacable music arrived in our inbox late last year, and we've been spellbound since. Alone himself in a room, 'krɪstəfə [live crypt] is both an excavation of the voice and an improvised reckoning with space and temporality. The work is book-ended by a 25 minute long composed piece, 'Guardian', which turns the clock off, drifting the narrative into free-fall with slowly moving blocks of resonant piano notes.
ˈkrɪstəfə, isn’t daring, or perhaps even very interesting in its audible output. It’s not been researched nor is it refined.ˈkrɪstəfə(tracks 1-6), was recorded live at the beginning of March 2021 on a stunning day in a cold, dark, damp room on Euston Road. The room, a crypt, has not been renovated or changed much at all since its construction in 1822, barring a few lights and minimal plug sockets. It is the resting place of so many. It is beautiful, grounding, harrowing and contemplative.ˈkrɪstəfə, is a duet between myself and the space. Nor I or the space are more important than the other. During the time 'krɪstəfəwas inspired, most of us had been between the same four walls for a large majority of the previous year and had experienced the foreign with our own company, for better or worse. For myself, Lent (of which March is in) is a very spiritual and meditative time of year for many reasons that I won’t go into now.
Within my work as a creative, whether it be sound, visual, performative, whatever, everything is purposed; everything is exactly there for a specific reason. It is hugely researched, deliberate and deliberated over. It comments on something. It is what is have to say. During Lent, on my own, within the same four walls, I wanted to introspectively just ‘be’; setting my main creative tools aside (trumpet and composition) and simply saying what it is I have to say. Something, that although not daring for krɪstəfə, was and is for me. In order to simply ‘be’, it had to be done by my ’self’ alone. Not least of all because it had to encompass my whole being, but because singing, more specifically choral music, was my entry into the musical world as a chorister. Ironically,ˈkrɪstəfə goes right back to my roots in music, whilst also managing to be removed from anything I’ve done before, improvising with just my voice.
So whilst 'krɪstəfə may not be daring or perhaps even very interesting, it is nothing if not open and forth coming. Thank you.
- Samuel D. Loveless
ˈkrɪstəfə (tracks 1-6)
Improvised and recorded by Samuel D. Loveless
Space by Crypt Gallery on Euston Road
Mixed by Josh Wolfsohn
Piano by Roberto Boschelli
Composed and recorded by Samuel D. Loveless
Mixed by Edward Cross
Artwork by Robert George Sanders
Mastered by Oliver Barrett
Samuel D. Loveless – 'krɪstəfə [live crypt]
A poem; a mumbled refrain; a vocal track; a vignette of a song; a plonk on a piano and guitar; a rattle on the drums. The ingredients in Tori Kudo's new release Takuroku might be familiar to fans of his ramshackle solo work and in Maher Shalal Hash Baz, but the way he scatters them, lays them out, collages them and puts them together is anything but. This is Tori at his most experimental, but also most revealing; bringing us close, breathing in our ear, showing us glimmers and multiple exposures of his life and letting us pick up the pieces.
Tori has kindly shared with us the lyrics to Track 1 below, both in English and Japanese.
Biopolitical meetings of
Flowers and spring breeze
The flag is about to fall on the base of the ridge
Grabbed a bunch of hair
Pass between heaven and earth
Shown another artificial meat
A pillar that stirs jealousy
You can't stand on the foundation of *Waka
The design is endless, so run, the truth
Get off at Mt. Shoji using the elevator inside
Decide whether to climb in pairs or not
Don't show off if you crush the viper
Get off the elevator inside
*Waka is a type of poetry in classic Japanese literature
Mastered by and Cover design by Oli Barrett
Tori Kudo – Solo
Artist, curator and writer Julia Eckhardt shares with us 'Time Suspension (back and forth)', her own personal meditation on lockdown, recorded back in June 2020. Similar to her collaborative work with Elaine Radigue, Michael Pisaro, Angharad Davies and more, Julia lets the strings of viola dissolve into the fabric of time, gifting space for each gesture to sing and unfurl itself in an open realm. "On each day in June 2020 a one minute improvisation was preceded by the memorised reproduction of the previous day’s minute. Yesterday and today were then superimposed, comprising, extending and suspending time during a very special historical moment in which a pandemic had brought life to a halt. Additionally, on each day a photo of the Brussels sky was taken, being linked to the sound by not more than the atmosphere of the day."
The audio of the piece is available as an MP3 and WAV, and the film Julia has made for the full piece can be viewed online (see right)
Julia Eckhardt - viola
Realised upon invitation by Another Idea / Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago
Cover design by Oli Barrett
Julia Eckhardt – Time Suspension (Back and Forth)
Pianos are solitary creatures, usually found standing alone in living rooms, rehearsal halls, studios, and on auditorium stages. These massive, wondrous, yet tamed beasts can be controlled with the tip of a finger. However, as they age and their bodies expand and crack, their screws loosen and their strings fall out of tune, they become feral. What would happen if they were set free in the wild? What other sounds do they hold within, beyond the measured, familiar gestures which have come to define them?
Sound artist Maya Dunietz, saviour and saint of retired pianos, decided to explore their feral sounds. She established a family of five retired pianos, gathered from different corners of the world. Each family member is an individual of unique characteristics within the collective. These large, broken, and damaged beasts have already shed their function and identity. As their voice no longerdepends on a hammer striking a string, they distance themselves from what is standard and favour the potential in change.
Curious to find out what sounds they would make, Dunietz hybridized the pianos with low-frequency transducers. These transducers, or “buttkickers”, are essentially large magnets drilled into the pianos, pushing and pulling their heavy bodies, thus inspiring them to roar, hum, and tremble. The magnets receive digital signals composed by Dunietz through a unique algorithmic system programmed by sound artist Daniel Meir, her project partner. These signals, amplified through the transducers, interact with the pianos and become audible, while spreading outward from the pianos into the room, reverberating between the walls and other objects, continually adding sound layers. Within this process, previously unheard sounds arise, sounds one would never have expected from a piano.
The algorithm that ignites the sounds of the pianos was influenced by the number √2. Historically, √2 was discovered by Pythagoras to be the length of a diagonal of a 1x1 square. This discovery undermined the fundamental mathematical-philosophical principle of antiquity by demonstrating that positive real numbers did not govern the universe. Incommensurable as the ratio of integers, the very existence of unmentioned, surd, or irrational numbers – as they were called through the ages – has been debated for millennia. Dealing with these numbers meant messing with the dark forces of nature. Fascinated by the qualities and history of irrational numbers, Dunietz and Meir wanted to incorporate them into the work.
To construct their algorithmic system, Dunietz and Meir selected number pairs: x and 2x, expressing low and high frequencies one octave apart. They calculated two possible middle points for each pair: their arithmetic mean (a + c2) and their geometric mean (ac), for a total of four related frequencies. They transmitted these frequencies to groups of three pianos: the first piano received the basic, low frequency; the second piano received the high frequency; the third piano received a frequency oscillating between the arithmetic and geometric means of the first two, thus creating a relationship between the three pianos. Each piano of the original family of five served as a member in multiple trios: the middle, oscillating frequency of one trio became the low frequency of another trio. This process generated a continuous increase in movement.
The entire group of pianos shifts from unity to complexity, from organization to anarchy. The usual rules can no longer contain them, and they have sloughed off the system of power that created them for its own use. The power of reason cannot withstand a tidal wave of passion. Emancipated from the constraints of the Equal Temperament’s regime and normative order, the pianos are also released from the tyranny of the normal. They are unusual, deviant, fluid, unpopular. They are stray weeds outside the system. Their flaws are no longer a dead end, but rather constitute raw material. They are instruments that can be used to pave a new path.
The sounds produced by the pianos are free of standard tonal ranges. The notes seem to cry out without hierarchy or fixed focus. With no comforting familiar framework to provide a foothold, the music throbs through large, weary wooden bodies. The pianos growl, roar, purr, squeak, and whistle. Their song resonates the relationships between them. They shift in and out in a futile effort to reach some impossible middle ground. The song has no major or minor but rather embodies their infinite search for a point of equilibrium. In this universe of beats,Five Chilling Mammothsreminds us that sound is the movement of matter, be it string, wood, flesh, or air.
The first encounter with the piano's song may seem threatening to someone unaccustomed to being freed from twelve regimented half-tones. An uncontrolled tremor may be produced in the body. However, if we let go, as the pianos have, we too could be swept away by their dynamics, regulate our pulses with theirs, becoming part of their movement. This movement is vibration, a force of nature that we hear, feel, and touch with our bodies. As our body reacts to this tangible vibration, it creates music of powerful nuance and frequency.
- Ran Kasmy Ilan, 2020
Built by Maya Dunietz and David Lemoine
Composed by Maya Dunietz and Daniel Meir
Recorded at Frac Paca byRudy Romeur
Mixed by Daniel Meir
Mastering by Joe Talia
Photographs by Hadas Satt
Recording was made possible with the kind help of GMEM & FRAC PACA.
Record produced by The Artists’ Residence Herzliya for the exhibitionSlightly Alive(2021)
and The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts for Maya Dunietz’s solo exhibition (2022)
Special thanks to: Adi Nachman, Shual studio, Sergio Edelstein, Dr. Noa Shuval, Dr. Liat Even-Dar Mandel, Assaf Talmudi, Yoav Beirach, Sergio Edelsztein, Kibudunitz.
Maya Dunietz – Five Chilling Mammoths
Fished from a dream and dispelled through his contorted and bewitching vocal chords, long-time OTO-favourite Phil Minton shares with us a stunning new one-take solo recording. Phil turned 80 last November and was due to celebrate it with a residency at OTO, but as it couldn't happen we're happy to share this instead, and look forward to having him back in the venue soon...
"I had never tried recording myself before, but since the dreaded youknowwhat I’ve been stuck at home, like most people. There's been some music zoomups with colleagues in various parts of the world which I’ve really loved, practicing the trumpet, some far out voice improvising with my grandchildren to keep my chops bouncing, walking our dog Molly, an occasional puff now and again and a glass of vino or two, but no travel and singing in front of people like there has been for the last sixty or so years.
Putting out the recycling every Wednesday evening was no substitute, so when Fielding asked if I would like to record a solo for Otoroku, I thought great yes, i’ll give it a go. A new departure.
I've always had a problem with technology, I can’t drive among other things, and the practice of improvising and button pushing etc all on the same day is difficult for me: my brain sort of curdles into a white noise custard, whistling and walking no problem. I've had some recording tips from other musicians and have a not so difficult recording program, so when I see that the sound waves are not going into the red when I get loud, all I have to do is press start and off we go - all pretty straight forward.
I recorded *woke up at eight* in the morning after not sleeping that well, before any breakfast. I had a lot of fast sounds and images from half remembered dreams only just below conciousness. I’ll leave it to the listener to imagine a narrative if needed. As it is with most dreams, I remember nothing now, just an abstract sense of speed going nowhere….
If you do listen to the recording, please do it in one take like it was recorded and I really do hope you enjoy or whatever.
*Also on Fontana records circa 1965, last line. "Because I new that my basal metabolism was not so demanding”
A beatnik observation for the time, the producer requested the American accent."
- Phil Minton
Phil Minton - voice & recording
Artwork design by Oliver Barrett
Phil Minton – woke up at eight
"Seeds of Songs is a kind of aural chronological retrospective of the year of Corona. For the first lockdown months which started back in March 2020, my creativity literally froze. When all my concerts and activities got canceled, faced with these shocking at the time situation, I lost motivation to work or produce anything and lured myself into the pleasure of sudden free time, connecting daily to the beauty of spring. I slowed down, observed, and I listened - to the world within and outside, to my thoughts, my heart, my mood, my close and distant surroundings, to the sounds heard each day and night at my home, in the presence of no one besides my children… my listening became deeper, undisturbed, conscious, lovable. And before I even knew it, it connected strongly to the process of creation of this album.I learned about Takuroku and its mission from Lucy Railton, quite shortly after the launch of the label, and immediately imagined to put out a new solo. But it wasn’t the right moment back then, so I gave myself the needed time and patience, expecting nothing. Months later, in Sept. 2020, I finally had the will to record and give voice to the manifestation of this long months of listening. The will of capturing more sounds afterwards continued the slow process. Snippets of the most familiar, alongside the sudden and unrepeatable, field recordings, my voice, playing various objects and small instruments - this is what I was recording for the months till end of 2020, and a selection of it ended up being material for this release. I finally started editing at the beginning of 2021, and engaged fully with it for the following two months.It is the first time that I create a completely new composition by imagining and collaging together various unrelated sounds. At first, there were paired as short ideas, as seeds of the upcoming work. I found myself drawn into a number of short, songlike voice parts from the recorded collection, and slowly, they all started connecting to one another in a very organic way. In many different cultures of the world, songs express otherwise forbidden feelings, thoughts, emotions. While I am far from the will and ability of full body narrative song expression, these seeds of non-narrative songs give an abstract, but direct glimpse into the condensed essence of what lies deep inside me."
- Biliana Voutchkova
All music by Biliana Voutchkova
Mastered by Taku Unami
Part of this album was recorded on 2.9.2020 at Ausland / Berlin by Roy Carroll
All other recordings and cover image by Biliana Voutchkova
Cover artwork by Oliver Barrett
Biliana Voutchkova – Seeds of Songs
A compositional conversation between the Piobaireachd tradition, voice and drum.
A collaboration with Laurie Pitt.
Quinie, aka Josie Vallely, is based in Glasgow. She sings primarily in Scots, with a style inspired by the traditions of Scottish Traveller singers Lizzie Higgins (1929-1993) and her mother Jeannie Robertson (1908 –1975). Quinie’s experiments with composition and vocal techniques create a dialogue between pipe music and voice. Her work has a strong sense of place rooted in an imagined Scotland.
Commissioned by Takuroku, this piece builds on her work exploring the vocalisation of piping traditions. Working in collaboration with Laurie Pitt on snare drum, is an exploration of the solo voice in dialogue with the compositional structure of the Piobaireachd.
The word 'piobaireachd' literally means pipe playing or pipe music, but is now used to describe the classical music of the Great Highland Bagpipe. A piobaireachd consists of a Urlar, theme or, 'ground', with variations which vary in number and complexity following that theme. The Urlar for this piece is a Scots translation of the traditional song May no man steal your thyme.
This classification of Piobaireachd takes in the categories as follows: Laments — Descriptive pieces, Gatherings — Marches, Battles and Salutes — Farewells. In this piece we are using the voice to express the Lament and the drum to Gather.
Both musicians begin with the Urlar, and build in complexity. Quinie by adding vocal references to the Canntaireachd (Scottish Gaelic for 'chanting' - a vocal method of notating Piobaireachd), and Laurie by incorporating a set of drum sticks that are woven from willow, that refer to each section of the work by the number of sticks incorporated in them and the sounds they create.
Quinie (Josie Valley) - voice
Laurie Pitt - snare drum
Recorded by Stevie Jones
Cover artwork by Oliver Barrett
Quinie – Thyme Piobaireachd
After countless unforgettable performance at OTO over the years, Glasgow-based musical polymath Richard Youngs shares with us absorbing new work:
"It has the trajectory of an imaginary Oto performance: I start all-guns-blazing. Five minutes in, and I can't maintain the energy, but want to push the sense of excitement. Ten minutes and things begin to fall apart. Onward. Equipment is failing. Time to bring it right down, and stretch out. While the SuperCollider code may be running, the rhythm pre-sets have packed-in, the laptop and tape machine I am using for backing sound faulty. Whoever is in charge of the P.A. is doing a grand job - everything is present and they have pushed the vocal way forward. I don't know if I am drawing the audience in, or if I am lost to them. Near the close I walk away, leave the machines running. And when they stop, there's a slight nervousness. Is that it?" - Richard Youngs
Richard Youngs - code, rhythm pre-sets, distress, vocals.
Recorded & mixed by Richard Youngs
Richard Youngs – As Always After
"At the beginning of 2020, we started planning a community movement workshop at Cafe OTO's Project-Space. The first realisation of the series was due to take place in April 2020 in the form of a touch-based workshop led by Florence Peake. After a year of postponing due to Covid-19, CEREBELLUM has gradually turned into a collaboration between artists working across movement, poetry, sound and film. Drawing on the nature of the cerebellum (the part of the brain coordinating movement and balance), and the sound (bell) contained within it, a year-long thread has led to this coming together at Cafe OTO. A live stream re-exploring touch through sound: through hands playing with cameras; words and light; ceramics and concrete floor."
Evie Ward / writing, voiceAmy Dickson / lighting, cameraZara Joan Miller / camera, camera directionFlorence Peake / movement, ceramics
CEREBELLUM is a series for learning through exploration and experimentation in movement and sound where all bodies are welcome.
The series is programmed collaboratively by Zara Joan Miller and Evie Ward.
Live edit and mixing by James Dunn.
Cover design by Oli Barrett.
Florence Peake / Zara Joan Miller / Evie Ward / Amy Dickson – CEREBELLUM
“This is the only Rock. Disclose the language I call Rock as if the seal of old documents is unlocked.” - Keiji Haino
灰野敬二Keiji Haino : vo, harmonica
川口雅巳Masami Kawaguchi : g
なるけしんごShingo Naruke : b
片野利彦Toshihiko Katano : ds
Recorded and mixed by Yoshiaki Kondoh at GOK Sound, Tokyo Japan on November 21th, 2020.
Mastered by and cover design by Oli Barrett.
Keiji Haino & The Hardy Rocks – Keiji Haino & The Hardy Rocks
London-based duo Leyden Jars welcome us to their world across a set of 4 breezy improvisations, made during lockdown #1, edited in lockdown #2 and mixed and mastered in lockdown #3 in the UK.
In it oneiric synth washes, kosmische arpeggios and glittering melodies drift softly over an open plain, blending with one another to take the shape of songs and wandering soundscapes. Natalie’s voice floats in and out of the fray as an instrument in itself, breathing heavenly laments like a ghost singing through the floorboards.
Each track was made over a set of different days, and with that unravels a set of new shades and tones; anxiety, uncertainty and hope laid bare. As the duo say, “it appears that within the uncertainty of the first lockdown, we reached for familiar tools; improvised a temporary escape that coincidentally led us back to the unknown and unplanned.” Leyden Jars look inward to spread themselves outward, and with us share us the delectable results.
All music by Leyden Jars: Natalie Williams & Mark Courtney
Mastered by Carim Clasmann at the Fish Tank, Cologne'
Cover by Oli Barrett
Leyden Jars – Too much of not enough
Experimental electronic artist Kirk Barley unveils a split release between his two different monikers. Utilising a similar set of tools and reduced sound palette for each, he bridges the gap between the two approaches, while also allowing room for each to flourish in their own distinct forms.
Under his own name, Kirk embraces floating four world motifs. Juiced-up keys spurt and twinkle in an algorithmic maze, sprouting swirling motifs and melodies before dissolving in a synthetic water bath. On the 'Church Andrews' flip he lets these tools slip out of free motion and lock themselves into distinct percussive patterns. Similar to the approach of the likes of SND, Kirk teases the temporality in house and footwork styles to scribe his own skittering dancefloor style.
Over both sides Kirk's improvised approach to sound energises each note, bass and snare clap and wandering phrase. Listening to his music is like watching plant life blossom, winding itself in and around towering city concrete in real time.
Written & recorded by Kirk Barley / Church Andrews
Cover by Oli Barrett
Kirk Barley / Church Andrews – Parallels
Multi-disciplinary Parisian artist Jean-Luc Guionnet presents us a magnum opus: Totality.
"Why "Totality"? I don’t know. Neither why, nor what, nor how, where, or when... You can be sure that no obvious rational issues drove any of my decisions. There are probably many secrets within this work, but no demonstrations, and not one rebus. There are neither prescriptions nor descriptions, or perhaps both compressed into a pellet, even if that sounds a little gross. Actually, if I now feel sorry for the people who were not included, I also feel sorry for those who were. I once had an old car with no stereo, so I use to sing while driving to keep myself alive, aware, awake, and sometimes I recorded those moments. One day, in 2017, while the machine was recording, I didn't sing but talked... something I never did and never do. My voice sounded like that of a stranger, as well as what I was saying. I nearly forgot about this recording until we started receiving bizarre commands, and for some reason it came back to mind. There are 83 voices, all of whom I know, some of them very well, 4 only friends-of-friends, in 20 or so languages.
I’ll let you imagine the details of the whole process; your images are part of the piece.
All sounds, all music I composed, played, recorded, mixed, commentated, sang, and so on. There are no quotations of any kind.
Parts A, B & C are not to be listened to separately as 3 different pieces: they are like the 3 movements of a single composition.
Knowing that the first part ("incipit cambodgien") is one of the loudest, please listen to "Totality" as loud as possible.
(thanks to Lucas)"
- Jean-Luc Guionnet
Voices in order of appearence:
Daravuth LyNicolas CarrascoElizabeth Saint JalmesJoe ColleyLoty NegartiAda DiaconescuPatrick GuionnetHoussam El BokeiliMattinIngrid SchmolinerSeymour WrightKlaus FilipNaomi VerdonSamo KutinLuke FowlerMarcus SchmicklerVincent BouchotÉric CordierCaroline PouzollesFrantz LoriotCyprien BusoliniSonia FleuranceShaul KohnTimothée QuostTchang YixinSacha AksinChing Ching CheungRay BrassierLaurent PascalYan JunSantiago GardeazabalLaszlo JuhaszYanik MiossecIris PoonXabier ErkiziaChristophe MacéJoel GripPavel TchikovAlexander LauThomas CharmetantAnnette KrebsJeremy KennedyJason KahnClaire BergeraultBertrand DenzlerAndrew ChoateGaudenz BadruttIban RegnierAnna GaïottiNicole KhouriLou Neva ZlatanovaEmma De LauraNatasa SerecLotus Edde KhouriÉric La CasaGael LeveugleTaku UnamiAli RobertsonXperXrFredie DecombeVéronique RusticiBarry EssonMartin MichaudAlessandro BosettiPeter KolovosMarc BaronFrançois DurifWill GuthrieClarence Pouzolles-CatelaNadia Bou AliClayton ThomasSophie DaullNikos VeliotisMarc FèvreRobert BastienRhodri DavisStéphane RivesNeil DavidsonCristian AlvéarLuka ZagoričnikMartin TétreaultMoussa SyPascal BattusSeijiro Murayama& myself
Jean-Luc Guionnet – Totality
Shofar was founded by Raphael Rogiński in 2007. From the very beginning, its program consists of music related to the mystical Jewish tradition. The pieces they perform come from pre-war musicological research from Ukraine, Poland and Moldova. They are most often "niguns", or "magical religious songs that are supposed to introduce into a trance and ecstasy".
By keeping the sound material of the melody unchanged, it is possible to get to know the entire spectrum of Hasidic music and the culture associated with it. The enormity of this tradition is filtered at the end by the personalities of all three musicians. In this band, the music is the music of the present, not a museum specimen.
The latest album was named "Right Before It Started" as it indeed happened to be recorded just the day before the first lockdown, back in March 2020. Out of confusion, anxiety and uncertainty of that moment came the music being quite opposite - meditative, balanced and hopeful.
The record is also available on double vinyl (12"+8") via Gusstaff Records.
Raphael Rogiński / guitarMikołaj Trzaska / saxophone, bass clarinetMacio Moretti / drumsElisabeth Harnik / prepared piano on track 4
right before it started was recorded by Shofar at Zolton/Morton Studios in Warsaw. Mixed by Paweł Krawczyk at Studio im. Kazimierza DeynyMastered by Sebastian Imbierowicz at home.All tunes traditional, except "Zay Zayer (Imperial)" by Shofar.Photos by Artur LądownikDesign by Macio
Shofar – Right Before It Started
Throughout 2020 and continuing in 2021 Supriya Nagarajan and Duncan Chapman have been creating a series of trio online collaborative performances with musicians from across the world. Starting out as a way of staying in touch by inviting existing collaborators to send a 30 minute recording of them playing, singing or recording their environment the project has grown into a regular series of live-streamed events. Combining shared recordings with live Carnatic singing from Supriya and live electronic manipulation / instrumental sounds from Duncan and broadcast on social media with an accompanying movie, slideshow or imagery generated from the sound.
In September 2020 they invited acclaimed harpist Rhodri Davies to send them a recording to work with. What they got from Rhodri was a sublime 30 minutes of bowed harp with occasional gestural moments. This recording is of a live performance which merges this with voice, spectral processing of the harp sound and added electronic parts.
More recordings are available from Manasamitra's Bandcamp here.
and from Rhodri Davies
Duncan Chapman, Supriya Nagarajan & Rhodri Davies – Slowly Drifting
Over a bed of disrobed electronic minimalism, each Pete Um vignette unveils itself like a sardonic commentary over newsreels, or a hidden diary of notes he's typed then deleted before posting on social media. At times taking on resentment towards the specifics of post-Brexit Britain, Pete takes aim at various reactionary targets amongst obscure poetical despondencies, laying these out between and around tongue-in-cheek observations about day to day life.
Pete's own music finds itself nestled between different British pop, autodidact and avante traditions. Mark Perry's diaristic oddities, the spoken-word absurdity of the Bohman Brothers and Bowie's more stripped back numbers come to mind, but Pete is on an island of his own, broadcasting laconic waves of malaise, reminding us that we're not alone in this mess.
--Pete Um - voice and synth
Mastering & artwork by Oliver Barrett
Pete Um – A British Passport
claire rousay is one of the most revelatory young artists to recently emerge from America. Flipping her tools between domestic musique concrete, voice recordings, percussion and multi-instrumentalism, claire has already amassed a wide array of both solo and collaborative works exploring human relationships and self perception.
For this new piece she passes the mic away from herself, allowing a set of friends to respond to the open call of "tell me about someone you love". She also gives space to Twitter personality roche (aka @kvetchkween) to read out a selection of voice tweets. Melding these clips with her own domestic rumblings, oneiric synth washes, Mari Maurice's creeking violin and Derek Baron's wistful flute, claire acts as a documentary maker, an assembler of multitudinous lives, thoughts and feelings shot through her own subjective lens.
With her careful editorial touch, claire reveals the intersection where the domestic and the banal meet the dramatic and near-mythic. An experimental micro documentary that's maybe about the meaning of love and our relationships with one another, lifted from her twitter news feed and shot into the metaphysical world.
claire rousay - field recordings, synth & editing
Derek Baron - flute
Mari Maurice - violin
Voice recordings from Michael Schoeffel, Ryan Walker, sabrina ghieuw and Twitter personality, roche (aka @kvetchkween)
Mastered by Andrew Weathers
Artwork design by Oliver Barrett
claire rousay – ilysm