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Takuroku

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

Nour Mobarak is a compelling new artist from Los Angeles whose work, as she describes "excavates violence and desire – the compulsions, and glitches in both a person or nation state." We fell in love with what she does thanks to her 2019 album 'Father Fugue', released on Sean McCann's Recital label. In it, the left channel of the audio documents conversations with her father Jean Mobarak - a polyglot who has a 30-second memory and lives in the mountains of Lebanon - while the right channel is composed simply of improvised song. The result conjures a similar effect that of Godard's 'Numéro deux' - whereby documented, composed and improvised elements are projected through two channels, then coagulate to form a multi-faceted, beguiling whole. To understand Nour as a film-maker - someone who acts behind and in-front of the lens - is perhaps easier than that of a musician. When we asked Nour to do a release for Takuroku she kindly responded by offering us compositions used in her multi-disciplinary, multi-channel live performances over the past 2 years, mixed down to stereo as self-contained works. What we hear is just one part of her overall projection, but that of which delves deep; investigating the voices of others, her own voice and vocal material that forms human languages. It's poetry, a Cassavetes set piece, a walk in the park, a voice in abandon, a philosophical meditation on voice, agency and human beings - but of course much more than ideas projected on a flat canvas. Each piece moves and shakes, creating rhythms emanating from the syntax and intonation of language and the voice. Toothtone sounds like rippling streams of water running concurrently, splashing into themselves and overlapping one another. Allophone Movement and its arrangement of voices captures the immediacy of machine-funk sampling techniques, whipping the immediacy of vocal expression into a composition that swings back and forth, like a Ron Hardy edit stripped to its bones. On Phoneme Movement her own vocals take centre stage with spirals, gurgles, purrs and cries that reach ecstatic heights: the voice excavated from its bodily origins. Hopefully we'll be able to present Nour's work in Cafe OTO some time in the not too distant future. -- All music & recording by Nour Mobarak Photo: Performance of “Phoneme Movement II”, Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, December 8, 2018. Photo by Marco Kane Braunschweiler, design by Oli Barrett. “Allophone Movement” samples sourced from the UCLA Phonetics Archive. “Toothtone” voices recorded in Pershing Square, Los Angeles, September 2019.This project was supported, in part, by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant. Editing technical assistance for “Allophone Movement” and “Toothtone” by Sean McCann & Juliette Amoroso

Nour Mobarak – 3 Performance Works

Cara Tolmie's practice centres itself upon the voice, the body and the complex ties between the two. All at once subjective as well as socially determined, she explores voice and body as two codependent entities able to prompt as well as contradict one another.  Here, on her debut release, her vocal ruminations explore a practice of sounding on both the inhale and exhale as well as a self-soothing touch strategy she developed in reaction to symptoms triggered by post-concussion syndrome. In an attempt to displace vocality towards and through parts of the body extraneous to the mouth, Cara lets sounds forge paths and encircle the body's inner topography, soaking her voice through a labyrinth of pumping blood, organs and the touch of skin. The result is a music that offers snapshots of the body tempered by different conditions; resting, moving, listening, pleasure, strain and sensitivity. Cara invokes waves of sound; sometimes calm and meditative, sometimes teetering on discomfort; sometimes falling into an anxious refrain. 'Lit by a Car' offers the space and time to come to terms with these feelings and give them life - letting the breath of voice twist and turn in compellingly peculiar new directions. -- All music & recording by Cara Tolmie -- Artwork design by Oliver Barrett Special thanks to Nisse Bergman, Stine Janvin, Gavin Maycroft, Kimberley O'Neill, Duncan Marquiss, Deirdre J. Humphrys, Frida Sandström, Birk Gjerlufsen and Susanna Jablonski for lending their ears

Cara Tolmie – LIT BY A CAR

Zach Rowden is a singular young voice in the American experimental music scene, dealing with the acoustic and performative possibilities of the upright/electric bass, violin and other instrumentation. Whether embracing microtonal fiddle music in his duo Tongue Depressor, contributing as a member and soloist in Iancu Dumitrescu and the late Ana-Maria Avram’s Hyperion Ensemble, collaborating with Tyshawn Sorey, Leila Bordreuil, Michael Foster and many others, Zach lends a distinct focus and sense of adventure to everything he touches. For this release on Takuroku, Zach uses loops, bass drones and a caustic field recording, letting each element mesh together in a circling broth, like a Tony Conrad jam slowly digging itself a hole in the muck and mud. There's a distinct US tape jam flavour to this, caking the layers of folkloric laments and eerie distant signals in a foggy murk and hiss. At once a sacred dirge and zoned DIY junk experiment, 'We Were Listening to Music' feels like a dimmed apparition - a recurring anomalous vibration from a bubbling underworld. -- We were talking about music:  Talk about it to get it or? The history of histories of histories of people bumping into each other “Now how many instruments you play?” People usually describe music to other people with these conjuring looking hand gestures “when y’all started playin I passed OUT” “Haha yeah I’ll have to listen to that again”  Is this all we talk about?  “It’s kind of like if you mixed the first ______ record with _______ and slowed down”  - Zach Rowden -- Zach Rowden - loops, drone, field recording, strings -- Artwork design by Oliver Barrett

Zach Rowden – We were talking about music

The 2nd in a series of two new releases by French tape-based experimental artist Jérôme Noetinger, who has treated us to countless unforgettable live sets at OTO. For this he presents two pieces in collaboration with Jean-Philippe Gross based on the idea of the exquisite corpse. "There is a great tradition of exchange and correspondence work in experimental music. In the 80's, there were a lot of cassettes with musicians who had never met each other but were exchanging sounds by mail. Nowadays it's even simpler and more obvious. The imposed period of confinement - in France between March 17 and May 11 - was ideal for restarting such projects.With Jean-Philippe Gross, our collaboration is older and we have had the opportunity to play several times as a duo. I have always been impressed by his dexterity, rigour and discipline in the electronic field. For the first track, a musician created a first sequence lasting between 10 seconds and seven minutes, and sent only the last 10 seconds to the next one who then mixed or pasted his sequence into it, and so on for a total of 16 exchanges. For the second, the number of exchanges has been limited to 14, with a duration of between 10 seconds and three minutes, but each having a maximum reserve of 10 minutes. The final result was only filtered and slightly equalized in terms of volume." - Jérôme Noetinger

Jean-Philippe Gross & Jérôme Noetinger – Nos cadavres

"While the Coronavirous lockdown made many things impossible or infinitely more difficult and painful, it also opened up an unprecedented space to think, to reflect and to work in ways that the usual pressures deny.  On March 17th David Toop and Lucie Stepankova were due to play in a trio with Yifeat Ziv at Café Oto; then on April 9th they were also booked to play at Iklectik as a duo. Both gigs were cancelled, of course, because of the virus. In support of Iklectik, Lucie and David agreed to record a track together in the only way possible, by exchanging files and passing mixes back and forth across the aether. The feeling of working on this first track was positive so they decided to make a mini-album. One of the elements from the first track was a reading by Lucie of a passage from Kenya Hara’s book, On White, and this preoccupation with colour became a theme for the whole project. Other tracks were inspired by the writings of Hilma af Klint on mystical blue, Hokusai on shades of black, François Jullien on the six colours of Chinese ink and Cees Noteboom on the yellow/orange hue of a ceramic bowl.  Jullien wrote of a transition from ‘physical concretion to spirit dimension’, according to the dilution of the ink. This is how these tracks felt as they emerged between April and June of extraordinary times. When the album was finished it seemed fitting to offer it to Café Oto in a gesture of support and hopefulness for the future of London’s key venues.  David Toop and Lucie Stepankova have previously played in duos at Café Oto, Iklectik and at the Jhilava documentary film festival. They have also played in trios with Yifeat Ziv at Hundred Years Gallery, Tania Caroline Chen at Iklectik and John Butcher at Hangar Bicocca, Milan." - David & Lucie   David Toop and Lucie Stepankova - composition & mixing -- Dave Hunt - mastering Oliver Barret - artwork design

David Toop & Avsluta – On White, Indigo and Lamp Black

Ute Kanngiesser - cello Daniel Kordík - field recording The release is accompanied by a PDF of writing by Evie Ward in response to the release. -- Please note that the WAV recording of this release has been recommended by the artists involved. -- "At 4AM I slip out of the house to cycle east, towards dawn, with cello on my back and a stool strapped to the rack. The word 'essential' is turning over and around in my head. I am taking the quietest roads, trying to stay invisible, worried that someone might stop me and interfere with our plans. I find Daniel with recording equipment and hand sanitizer and together we walk another distance through dawn and smell of rain. We enter the Marshes, these essential lungs of East London. It is where he had come almost every day of these locked-down weeks to field-record and breathe. And it is where Evie and I met for walks and secret music - carefully bending the laws of the officially ‘essential’. I am wondering about places and times when public music was forbidden and never driven to extinction. This time it is for pandemic reasons and the severity of consequences is unspeakable and has turned into much noise in my head. But the birds, the wind, and the rain offer such relief and I feel so shy in their presence that my music can only become the smallest of offerings to them in the rainless window between 4.48AM and 5.15AM." - (Ute Kanngiesser, June 2020) -- Photography by Daniel Kordík Cover design by Oliver Barrett

Ute Kanngiesser & Daniel Kordík – 5AM

Takuroku has been supporting new work by artists made during lock-down, but now and again we’ll be releasing lost archival gems that we feel need to be heard. This is one of the latter: A fiery session between two key players in OTO’s international community, featuring Denmark’s Julie Kjær (saxophone) and Thurston Moore (guitar), recorded at neighbouring experimental music hub The Hundred Years Gallery. Fans of Rudolph Grey/Arthur Doyle, Kaoru Abe/Masayuki Takayanagi and Sonny Sharrock/Peter Brötzman's explosive symbiosis will relish here in Julie & Thurstons’ bellied roars, tonal dips and dives and thick sheets of sound. Ecstatic spiritual crescendos emerge and collapse, but during which never lose their sense of focus and imaginative interplay. Here’s hoping this duo can play again once things are back to normal (whenever that maybe be). 50% of OTO’s share of the proceeds of this release will be passed to Hundred Years Gallery. Please support their great work in the experimental music community. "As I was reviewing music files of live events I had been involved with since moving to London over seven years ago, I came across a duo concert with Julie Kjær and myself from 2018. We had played at an event set up by saxophonist Alan Wilkinson at the Hundred Years Gallery in Dalston, a stone's throw from Cafe Oto, and very much a part of the community of exploratory music venues we're so blessed to have here. Julie and her paramour, the composer Paulo Dias Duarte, had been living in the same London neighborhood as my paramour Eva and myself (as well as Alan W and his paramour Gina - it's paramour wild here, kids!), before they relocated to Julie's native Denmark a couple of years back. I had first heard Julie play at one of Alan's always fabulous Flim Flam series shows in the basement of Ryan's Bar in Stoke Newington and was struck by her free playing in the moment of sub/conscious inter/action with her compatriot players. I soon realized her dynamic and long-running breadth of engagement with the London improvisational music scene, as well as the European, primarily Scandinavian, scenes. It was an honor to be asked to play this particular concert, and with eyes, ears and hearts to the past, present and future we created the music presented here. While in a shared quarantine with the world in 2020, it is astounding to see and hear voices rising in collaborative positive energy towards a renewed and consciously just planet. On Saturday June 27 Julie gave birth to her and Paulo's son Hugo, new life, new light, new music and new promise. At a time when creativity is such a significant, and profound, key to our shared consciousness - in regards to the planet and all sentient life - to grace our lives with birth is the hope and truth, the wonder and the spirit, of nature's joy." - Thurston Moore -- Thurston Moore & Julie Kjær - Guitar & saxophone recorded by Graham MacKeachan at Hundred Years Gallery, 19.1.2018 painting by Gene Moore, 2020

Thurston Moore & Julie Kjær – New Life Music

Fergus and Dee have never met in person, but through written correspondence and a shared love of songwriting and music, they have come together and continue to work remotely - writing and sharing. The album, MORNINGHAIRWATER was written under lockdown between May and June 2020. A fervent correspondence of lyrics, ideas and sounds between London and Glasgow, musicians Fergus Lawrie of cult band Urusei Yatsura and Dee Sada of NEUMES/An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump come together as Paper Birch to share their mutual feelings of despair, fragility and hope in this collection of nine songs. The video was shot on 16mm by Scottish filmmaker Grant McPhee who has directed successful music documentaries, ‘Teenage Superstars’ and ‘Big Gold Dream’. Fergus Lawrie is a guitarist and songwriter who was a founder member of fondly remembered '90s geek rockers Urusei Yatsura who emerged from the celebrated Glasgow 13th Note scene that also fostered bands such Bis, Delgados, Yummy Fur, Mogwai and Franz Ferdinand. Known for their ferocious live shows and burnt out noise pop songs such as 'Kewpies like Watermelon' and 'Hello Tiger' the band released 3 full albums and toured extensively in Europe and America and were Radio 1 favourites recording sessions for John Peel and the Evening Session. In the 00s he released the album Yoyodyne as the band Projekt A-ko with other former members of Urusei Yatsura. He also released three experimental improvised noise rock albums as Angel of Everyone Murder with fellow members Lea Cummings (Kylie Minoise/Kovorox Sounds) and Sarah Glass (The Fnords). As artist Obscure Desire of the Bourgeoisie he presented several large scale installations featuring guitars and electric fans at Northampton Fishmarket, Dundee School of Art and Glasgow Museum of Modern Art. He also co-produced a documentary about the Glasgow experimental noise scene 'Send/Receive' which was featured at Cardiff Arts Festival. Multi-instrumentalist Dee Sada has created an eclectic and diverse collection of music over the last 10 years and has worked with a number of international musicians. Whilst in percussive noise band, An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump, she recorded an album with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago. She has also been in electronic duo, Blue On Blue and performance art band ORAL ORAL, which is an ad-hoc group of improv artists that began performing together after a request by artist Wolfgang Tillmans. Dee also performs in the London-based trio, NEUMES who recently recorded a mini album at 4AD studios and supported composer Colin Stetson at the Round Chapel in 2019. She has curated a range of multimedia events which include screenings, spoken word and performances with Raindance Film Festival, Whitechapel Art Gallery and Cafe OTO.

Paper Birch – MORNINGHAIRWATER