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Takuroku

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

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. Furthermore : 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

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

"Certainly always an enigmatic delicacy, this latest from Josephine Foster throws us further into the sublime. With two tracks that seem to complement and almost respond to each other, this latest from Café Oto’s series is a must listen and an exciting departure into fresh territory for this artist. On the first track, “Spellbinder”, Josephine takes us on a journey into the cyclical and interpenetrating layers of three humble instruments. Josephine plays them on top of each other, garnering chance encounters and interactions as she improvises in three through-composed layers, each time in partnership with her voice. She describes her instruments as beloved but imperfect, recalling the pump organ as having “a clumpy pump on the right with uneven delivery” and the folk harp as having “its flaws” but also realizing their advantages by embracing and embellishing their lack. This track is an ascent into the spiraling ephemeral state of being, with vocals weaving in and out chanting her setting of “om mani padme hum,” the sacred Buddhist mantra (translated into English as “Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus”) with each of the six Sanskrit syllables representing key aspects of the Buddhist teachings. In this piece, a cycle of chance encounters channeled through imperfect containers reaches some kind of noble truth here. On the second track “Experiment” Josephine truly goes into unchartered territory in this Cole Porter cover. In true homage to Porter’s lyrics, Foster has never presented a more “experimental” palette of synths and vocals and beats. “Experiment...Make it your motto day and night.Experiment...And it will lead you to the light.The apple on the top of the treeIs never too high to achieveSo take an example from EveExperiment… “ On Foster’s synth lines we almost think early Laraaji or Emerald Web but with the addition of Josephine’s voice I think more of the complex stylings of Robert Wyatt ‘s songcrafting. I also can’t help but think of Arthur Russell’s disco music experiments as it climaxes into a nice thick beat at the end created by Foster’s organ that seems to tie all the loose ends together. Both tracks on this record are cyclical in their own ways and their complementary nature to each other demands repeated listening, creating yet another cycle of the most experimental of earworms yet by Josephine Foster." -Ka Baird -- All music by Josephine Foster -- SpellbinderDouble trio for tenor recorder, lever harp, and pump organ and 3 voices Experiment (from Nymph Errant, by Cole Porter)synth/voice Recorded, mixed and performed by Josephine Foster Photo Silvia Camerin Mastering by Oliver Barrett

Josephine Foster – Spellbinder / Experiment

Fragile strength is what i've been Radiant resilience Changing before your very eyes Though often unseen- (from 'Trilogy') As Takuroku hits the milestone of 100 releases over the past 6 months, we couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than a debut solo release (yes, the first ever!) by Maggie Nicols. Maggie has been a familiar name around OTO over our 13 year history, lending her voice and talents to a series of unforgettable performances, including a session with Joëlle Leandre and Roger Turner, which remains one of our favourite archived live performances to this day. While she might be best known as an improviser, most notably in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Feminist Improvising Group and more recently with the likes of 'Les Diaboliques', her talents stretch into song, dance, poetry, performance and composition. This release, modestly recorded on her computer after teaching herself how to use Garageband during lock-down, brings forth her doubts, anxieties, loves and desires in a 13-part musical journey. Webbed through piano ballads, playful improvised ditties, stories, poetry and multi-layered vocal arrangements, 'Creative Contradiction' feels like a long-overdue catch up with a close friend. There's reminiscing, there's laughter, there's tears, there's chatter that floats on and off topic, there's things shared you don't feel comfortable sharing with others. When the world around us makes these sorts of relationships difficult or rendered void, intimacy through art can feel like an act of generosity: a hand outstretched in the darkness. Thank you Maggie for gifting us just that. --  Maggie Nicols:  voice, piano, electric keyboard and ceremonial drum    -- Recorded at home in 2020Mastered by Oliver Barrett Photo from a workshop a ‘Learning, Transformation and Technique weekend at ‘Hecate’s Haven' What needs Nourishing’ guided by Portia Wintersduring Additional musicians on Track 8:  Katerina Koblizek - voice & Olitar (guitar made out of a Palestinian Olive oil can by cellist and guitarist Steve Moyes)  Ludek Salac - guitar

Maggie Nicols – Creative Contradiction: Poetry, Story, Song & Sound

German artist Tina Jander presents 'Ice Cubes', a durational piece for cello and field recordings. Pieced together from plucked melodic mantras and swelling bowed refrains on cello, Tina gifts each aural gesture space to gradually unfurl over time, elapse in and out of itself, and meet other gestures in a series of iterative phrases. Over the piece's duration new and pre-existing motifs are unveiled, creating patterns that seamlessly appear and disappear. The piece is peppered with occasional field recordings, providing an open window where these patterns meld into the everyday. Absorbing and sensitive work from an artist we look forward to hearing more from in the future. -- I think Tina’s work is brilliant, but what I love so much about ‘Ice Cubes’ is how it hovers around a particular place, detours then returns, without feeling forced or over thought. And this I think is a hard thing to do in a timeline - create a sense of time and pace that doesn’t feel too rushed or too static. There’s some great moments: the placement of an environmental recording, as if offered for our consideration and then just removed. And the underlying undulations of a cello placed outside its musical frame, simultaneously both fragile and grounded, a haunting subaquatic echo, a prelinguistic memory, drawing the listener impossibly close. - Mark Fell -- Tina Jander - Cello & field recordings -- Mastered by Oli Barrett

Tina Jander – Ice Cubes