Genre

Label

Date

Vinyl

'The latest entry in An’archives’ ‘Free Wind Mood’ series, Ki is a trio that pits long-time collaborators Tamio Shiraishi (saxophone, voice) and Takahashi Michiko aka Mico (drums, voice, vocoder, melodica, piano, percussion) against drummer, percussionist and vocalist Fritz Welch. They each bring a wealth of experience, from Shiraishi’s early moves in the Japanese underground of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s – he was a founding member of Fushitsusha, and played with Taco and Machinegun Tango – to his legendary, late-night solo New York subway performances; he and Mico also spent some time playing with No Neck Blues Band, while Welch, currently based in Glasgow, has a long history taking in stints with Peeesseye, Lambs Gamble and FvRTvR. Tearful Face Of My Cute Love (Is Begging To Me), named after a yakuza song, is Ki’s first LP, after CD-Rs on Chocolate Monk (Ki No Sei, 2009) and Unverified (Stops Dropping, 2010). Documenting two live performances from 2008, it’s a startling, wild freedom chase, each piece stretching languorously across one side of the vinyl, giving the trio maximum space to thunder their way through space and time. Their West Nile 2008 show, on side one, opens with a battery of drums, fierce and livid, before Shiraishi’s unmistakable and remarkable whinnying, high-zone tone slithers into earshot. The stage is set, the battle moves forward, yet there’s remarkable simpatico between the three players, with Mico and Welch volleying guttural vocal exhortations at each other. When it does offer respite – see the sudden swoop into near- silence at around 12:30– everything’s still tense; who knows what’s around the corner? For all its fury, though, Tearful Face Of My Cute Love… is full of oddly lyrical moments, too – see the sweet melody that winds out, with gentle melancholy, near the very end of the West Nile performance. This lyricism also haunts the second side of the album, a performance from Glassland, Brooklyn, which seems more focused on the intersection of incidents, from clattering cymbals to ghostly swarms of sax scream, to dive-bombing spirals of vocoder. There’s an appealing sense of audio verité here, as though you’re in theroom with the performers, shaken and stirred by every movement, lost in the interlocking maze they’re weaving in real time. It’s a bracing, thrilling document of very immediate, human music – of three bodies moving through the world, sounding their environment.' - John Dale

Ki – Tearful face of my cute love [is begging to me]

3LP wooden box set, edition of 275.  An'archives presents three documents, three vinyl records carved by the illuminations of Masayoshi Urabe, six performances engraved like epitaphs in the stone that covers the Living World. These are recordings made in small suburban venues in Japan where Urabe would play in front of a meagre audience: the Bitches Brew in Yokohama, the Groove in Okinawa and the Gari Gari in Tokyo. In the corridors of cult label P.S.F. Records, Urabe came across the likes of Kan Mikami, Chie Mukai, Rinji Fukuoka, Hiroshi Hasegawa, with whom he played, and sometimes recorded albums of unfathomable beauty. But he is most disturbing, luminous and dark, violent and poignant, during his solo sets. Hideo Ikeezumi (the cultural ambassador behind P.S.F.) supported him more than others and tried to offer him all the space he could hope for. His only kindred spirits are Kaoru Abe and Albert Ayler, with whom he shares a sense of tragedy, the same jealous string to swing into the sound, to turn the heavens over to our feet. Urabe mates with his alto sax, assaults it, snuff jazz calling fallen angels to come and haunt us. Death, like Eros, haunts Masayoshi Urabe’s body of work, and unravels through copper sounds. He follows the sound, inhales it, spits it like an air bag turned inside out until exhaustion, violent, playing and dancing, willing the front rows to give in to his murky eroticism. Urabe is a magnificent musician, even though he ends up trashing everything, leaving only a mutilated musical body behind. Strangled notes, no melody, just breath, spat air, un chant d'amour - Michel Henritzi ---

Masayoshi Urabe – Mobilis In Mobili

out of stock

On their latest release, An’archives dives into the past, disinterring a revelatory collection of recordings from Japanese free-sound quintet Gu-N. Formed in 1994 by Fumio Kosakai (Incapacitants, Hijokaidan, C.C.C.C.) and Hidenobu Kaneda (Yuragi), alongside Ikuro Takahashi (Fushitsusha, Kousokuya, LSD March), Ryuichi Nagakubo (C.C.C.C., Yuragi), and Morihide Sawada (Yura Yura Teikoku, Marble Sheep), Gu-N played regularly at Plan-B in Tokyo, but released little during their relatively short time together. Hazy and hypnotic, their laminar improvisations, four of which appear on this untitled album, are compelling, oneiric visions for the ear. In his liner notes for the album, Michel Henritzi writes that these Gu-N recordings situate the group within a broader trajectory of free improvisation and collective sound within Japan –Taj Mahal Travellers, East Bionic Symphonia, Marginal Consort, each of whom sprung, in many ways, from the radical vision and creativity of Takehisa Kosugi. But there’s a unique spirit here that aligns Gu-N with these predecessors, while also marking out singular territory. Kosakai’s background in noise, via his participation in Hijokaidan and Incapacitants, can be heard in the unrelenting oscillations and heavyweight drones that purr throughout each of these four tracks. Both Kosakai and Nagakubo were members of C.C.C.C., perhaps the clearest precursors to Gu-N in their psychedelic density, though Gu-N trade in C.C.C.C.’s volcanic energy fora more tempered, sensuous exploration of tone and time. There’s also a brutish element to Gu-N’s improvisations –see the saturated spectrum, rumbling and phasing throughout the album, and the crushing, almost Amon Düül-esque drum tattoos that Takahashi pounds out on the second track (recorded in 1998), punctuating the music from deep inside its hallucinatory murk. Elsewhere, as on the third track (one of three recorded in 1994), Kosakai’s cello scrapes out armfuls of buzz-tone as Sawada’s bouzouki trillsout, elastic and vibrant, across spindrift electronics and lung-spun winds.What’s most impressive here, though, is the way each player, formidable musicians in their own right, defers to the might of the communal and the collective. The quintet broke up in 1998, leaving behind scant recorded evidence –just one, self-titled CD, on Pataphysique, released in 1995. This LP is a most welcome addition to the small but blissful body of recorded work made public by this mysterious quintet of spirit channelers.  

Gu-N – G-uN

Mura were a previously little-known group from Japan, formed by friends Kota Inukai (vocals, guitar), Masaki Endo (bass) and Sho Shibata (drums) in the late noughties. Performing mostly in small events in Sapporo, they were outsiders, and felt a kinship with few other groups, though Inukai mentions rock group Green Apple Quick Step, and hardcore band Ababazure as fellow travellers. This isolation surely feeds into the uniqueness of Mura’s music – they sound little like much that we know of the taggable Japanese underground of their times, and the music they recorded for this, their debut album, spanning a decade, is gloriously all over the shop, from delirious punk wig-outs to strange pop miniatures. The group formed young – Inukai was only fourteen when they started, and Mura were his first ever band. When pressed on what they were listening to while making their music, Inukai recalls that he “used to listen to the works of Haruomi Hosono a lot”, and you can hear traces of this, perhaps, in the breadth of the sound Mura explores, from the lovely, country-esque shuffle of “In The Talk”, through the garage-y plunk of “Rest” and the reflective, melancholy “Younger Brother”. They were also big fans of video game music – “even orchestral covers of video games”, Inukai smiles – and that’s in there, too, in the split-second responsiveness of the playing, the way they flick through ideas and genres almost impatiently, taking minutes to cover terrain that other groups might spend albums and years exploring. But the songs were also grounded in Japan’s history, with many of the songs inspired by “old Hokkaidō,” Inukai recalls, “from the Meiji, Taishō, Shōwa periods.” With Inukai coming up with the melodies, and Shibata fleshing out arrangements, all three members then contributed lyrics. You can hear that collective effort in the way the music moves, every player listening carefully to each other, the songs moving gracefully, but not without verve and vim. It’s a delightful album, full of pop songs that take unexpected turns, with glinting melodies sung out, here sweetly, there with gruff candour, guitars tangling together like an unholy union of Tom Verlaine and Jad Fair, every song charged with a new, unpredictable spirit.  Kota Inukai / vcal, guitar, etcMasaki Endo / bass, etcSho Shibata / drums, etc --- Recorded and mixed by Richard Horner (2011-2021)Black Snowflake Sound StudioMastered by Matthew Gray at Matthew Gray MasteringProduced by Kota Inukai, Richard Horner & Ikuro Takahashi

Mura – 2008​-​2021

"Reissue of Derek Bailey and Tristan Honsinger Duo, originally released by Incus in 1976. Born in Burlington, Vermont, and conservatory-trained in the US, the cellist Tristan Honsinger moved from Montreal to Amsterdam in 1974, quickly linking with Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg and opening a long and fruitful musical relationship with Derek Bailey. Recorded in 1976, Duo displays a performative musical approach already characterized by the lack of inhibition which would later endear him to The Pop Group: he is knockabout, exclamatory, explosively rhythmic; burping Bach and folk melodies with spasmodic lyricism, in amongst the garrulous textures and accents of his scraping, bowing, and plucking, and gibbering like a monkey; throwing out his arms and stamping the floor, grappling with his instrument like an expert clown, always tripping himself up. You can hear Bailey reveling in the company, as he ranges between scrabbling solidarity and an askance skewering of his partner's antics, on prepared (nineteen-string) and standard electric guitars -- and a Waisvisz Crackle-box, for the garbled, quizzical, cross-species natter which closes "The Shadow". Throughout, the spirited interplay between laconic, analytic wit, and guttural, sometimes slapstick physicality is consistently droll, often laugh-out-loud funny; vigorously alert, alive, and gripping.” --- Tristan Honsigner / cello, voice Derek Bailey / electric guitar, crackle box --- Recorded at Verity's Place 7th February 1976, except for A1 and B2 which were recorded at Tangent Studio 6th February 1976.

Derek Bailey & Tristan Honsinger – Duo

At the tender age of twenty-five, while he was working part-time at an Italian restaurant in Tokyo’s Kamata district Kazuki Tomokawa released his debut record, fittingly titled Finally, His First Album. While he had already penned hundreds of songs, including his first single “Try Saying You’re Alive!,” written on a long train ride past fields and rice paddies, it was this  recording that introduced  Japan to one of its most unique musicians of the postwar era. Each track, as record label exec Kiichi Takahara writes in the LP’s liner notes (here translated for the first time), is not a song but a “flesh-and-blood human being,” birthed by the singer-songwriter and the raw, guttural cries that would become a hallmark of his incomparable sound. 1970s Japan was a time and place marked by a profound desire for authenticity amidst the onset of television and media saturation. Tomokawa arrived on the scene as a musician with“the personality of a hydrogen bomb,” to borrow a phrase from his frequent collaborator Toshi Ishizuka. In an unwieldy interview included here, members of the notorious leftist band Zunō Keisatsu (Brain Police) put it bluntly: here was a man surrounded by the “disingenuous,” the “wishy-washy,” and the “superficial,” who was delivering “real life, unvarnished.” These songs are lullabies for the lost, staring not into the void but—as the fourth track declares—from inside it. Finally, His First Album is the first of three Tomokawa records to be reissued by Blank Forms Editions in conjunction with the US release of Tomokawa’s memoir, Try Saying You’re Alive!, the first-ever English translation of his writing. This debut captures the self-assured trademarks that Tomokawa would hone over the course of decades. Multiple tracks are performed in his native Akita dialect, a distinct and highly regional vernacular of northern Japan seldom heard outside the prefecture—and even more rarely heard in music. Tomokawa’s lyrics locate profound interiority in the rituals of everyday life, and are sung against sparse folk arrangements of tender, lilting chords—a prelude to the rock and electronic stylings to come in later years. A self-proclaimed “living corpse,” Tomokawa wallows, whispers, shouts, and cries, yet still, through his existential doubt, asks to be heard

KAZUKI TOMOKAWA – FINALLY, HIS FIRST ALBUM

In a generation of musicians that came of age in postwar Japan, Kazuki Tomokawa stands as a pioneer of radical individualism—forging a sound and sensibility marked by shocking intimacy and blistering honesty. In his third album, A String of Paper Cranes Clenched between My Teeth, released by Harvest Records in 1977, Tomokawa creeps “ever more inward,” as Kiichi Takahara writes in the record’s original introductory text—embracing an attitude pervasive amongst musicians of the time who interrogated the prosaic and the profound alike, eschewing politics and society in favor of an “attitude of total self-containment.” Tomokawa recorded the album over the course of a month—from August 24 to September 25, 1977—at Tokyo’s famed Onkio Haus studio in the bustling Ginza district. The arrangements, accordingly, are amped up: paired with the Black Panther Orchestra, Tomokawa’s “screaming philosopher” vocals find their match with the orchestra’s electric guitar, bass, piano, tuba, and ground-thumping drums played by the Brain Police’s Toshi Ishizuka—who appears on Tomokawa’s first three records and remains his collaborator to this day. “This is Kazuki Tomokawa in the flesh,” concludes Takahara. A String of Paper Cranes Clenched between My Teeth is, in Tomokawa’s uncanny way, able to cut through facade and artifice in pursuit of truth. “You call that life?” he heckles, exhausted by the melodrama and nihilism of youth counterculture, “try saying you’re alive!”

KAZUKI TOMOKAWA – A STRING OF PAPER CRANES CLENCHED BETWEEN MY TEETH

First LP by Nina Garcia, aka Mariachi.Guitar, pedal, that's it.  "Mariachi is Parisian guitarist Nina Garcia’ solo project, started in March 2015. Mariachi experiments between improvised and noise music. The setup is ultra minimal: 1 guitar, 1 pedal, 1 amp. Everything is focused on the gesture and the sound research of the instrument: its resonances, limits, expansions, impurities, all the audible parts of the guitar: to go with or against it, to contain it or to let it go, to support it or to hurt it. You’ll probably find: feedback, crackling, short circuits, impacts, harmonics, grindings noises, overflowings, notes and an almost perfect chord. Her first LP was released in October 2018 on No Lagos Musique and Doubtful Sounds. Nina Garcia was born in 1990, she lives and works in Paris." (Shape) "I find that there's never any point in sharing your impressions and feelings about a piece of music, but precisely when I say to myself that this music feels like a mountain weather report passed directly into my brain, it's not about feeling. Or maybe it is, and I can't help it. A short fifteen minutes of the concert, and a long, sharp, mountainous song that sinks into the skull like the echo of bad weather reverberating in the mountains. I don't know what it's about, maybe the simplicity of the sound arrangement, the brutal and purposeful simplicity of the onstage manipulations, but there's something very physical about this sound, something all muscle and tension." (No Lagos Zine)

Mariachi (Nina Garcia) – Mariachi

OTOROKU is proud to present the first vinyl reissue of Blue Notes for Mongezi, one of the most passionate celebrations of a life in music ever laid to tape. Recorded in late 1975 by Blue Notes, then reduced to a quartet - Dudu Pukwana on  alto sax, whistle, percussion, and vocals; Johnny Dyani on bass, bells, and vocals; Louis Moholo-Moholo on drums, percussion, and vocals; and Chris McGregor on piano, and percussion - and issued the following year by Ogun, the album is a kairos; the first commercial release by one of free jazz’s seminal ensembles, captured them 13 years after their founding - at the height of their powers - delivering an explosive dirge dedicated to Mongezi Feza, their former bandmate and friend.  Blue Notes were founded in Cape Town in 1962 and stand among the most important ensembles in the history of jazz. Artistically brilliant and groundbreaking - gathering, within a few short years, a devoted following that included Don Cherry, Steve Lacy, Abdullah Ibrahim, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Drew,Keith Tippett, Evan Parker, John Stevens, and numerous others - they were also the first widely visible multiracial band in South Africa. As a mixed race band under South African apartheid; this group of friends and like-minded artists - Chris McGregor, Mongezi Feza, Dudu Pukwana, Nikele Moyake, Johnny Dyani and Louis Moholo-Moholo -  existed within a context that viewed their mere existence as a dangerous and subversive act. In 1964, as the pressure mounted, they joined an exodus of musicians leaving for Europe, eventually settling in London during the following year. Sadly, not long after arriving and facing continued economic peril, the group buckled. Johnny Dyani left to join Don Cherry’s band. Moholo-Moholo and Dyani followed suit and joined Steve Lacy on tour, and the remaining members morphed into a number of ensembles that eventually grew to become Chris McGregor's Brotherhood Of Breath. In late 1975 however, Mongezi Feza - in the midst of a fruitful period collaborating with Dudu Pukwana, Johnny Dyani, and Okay Temiz - suddenly passed away at the age of thirty from pneumonia. Nine days later, on the 23rd December, following the memorial service to their friend, Pukwana, Dyani, McGregor, and Moholo-Moholo gathered in a rehearsal room in London and set out to play. Fittingly, no discussion took place before or during the session. The music was left to say it all.   The resulting double LP coalesced into four long-form movements that occupy a side each, collectively unleashing an onslaught of free jazz fire, fluidly covering a remarkable range of moods and tactical approaches across it’s length. For anyone encountering the Blue Notes for the first time, the album must have felt like being blindsided by a brick, adding a profound sense of credence to Moholo-Moholo’s belief that free improvisation was intrinsically linked to the Pan-African temperament. In the band’s hands, the idiom sounds like nothing else and exactly as it should.  A frenzied funeral dirge, a cry, and catharsis, the record rises and falls between playful and joyous movements of deconstructed song, rhythmic and vocal tribalism, and churning, instrumental free expression. It indicates not only a possible future for musical expression - as all truly avant-garde music does - but also the very roots of music itself, illuminating, through abstraction, the far-flung, ancient roots currently carried by the New Orleans “first line” march to the grave. It is a decidedly African vision of free jazz, coalescing as a collective expression of celebration and loss on a cold London day. It is a masterpiece unfolding in real time - out on a limb and laden with risk - created by four of the most talented voices the idiom has known.   --- DUDU PUKWANA / alto sax, whistle, percussion, vocals CHRIS McGREGOR / piano, percussion LOUIS MOHOLO / drums, percussion, vocals JOHNNY DYANI / bass, bell, vocals and most of the words --- This 2022 re-issue has been made with permission and in association with Ogun records. Transferred from the original masters and featuring an exact reproduction of the original artwork. Remastered by Giuseppe Ilelasi and packaged in a high gloss sleeve. All music by the Blue Notes. All music published by Ogun Publishing Co. Cover design by Ogun.  Front cover photograph and photograph of Mongezi Feza by Geroge Hallet. Blue Notes photograph by Jurg. Back cover photograph by George Hallet and Peter Sinclair. Xhosa translation by Z. Pallo Jordan. Produced by Keith Beal and Chris McGregor. Ogun Recording would like to thank John Martyn for his assistance in making this album possible. Reissue for OTOROKU produced by Abby Thomas. Transferred from the original masters by Shaun Crook at Lockdown Studios. Remastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Layout for reissue by Maja Larrson. 

Blue Notes – Blue Notes for Mongezi

OTOROKU is proud to present the first vinyl reissue of Blue Notes for Johnny - a defining statement by one of the greatest ensembles in the history of jazz. Recorded in mid-1987 by Blue Notes - then reduced to the trio of Dudu Pukwana on alto sax, Louis Moholo-Moholo on drums and Chris McGregor on piano - it encounters the band 25 years after their founding embarking on an inward meditation through collective music making dedicated to Johnny Dyani, their former bandmate and friend.  Blue Notes were founded in Cape Town in 1962, and stand among the most important ensembles in the history of jazz. Artistically brilliant and groundbreaking - gathering, within a few short years, a devoted following that included Don Cherry, Steve Lacy, Abdullah Ibrahim, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Drew, Keith Tippett, Evan Parker, John Stevens and numerous others - they were also the first widely visible multiracial band in South Africa. As a mixed race band under apartheid, this group of friends and like-minded artists - Chris McGregor, Mongezi Feza, Dudu Pukwana, Nikele Moyake, Johnny Dyani and Louis Moholo-Moholo -  existed within a context that viewed their mere existence as a dangerous and subversive act. In 1964 they joined an exodus of musicians leaving for Europe and eventually settled in London the following year. Sadly, not long after arriving and facing continued economic peril, the group buckled. Johnny Dyani left to join Don Cherry’s band. Moholo-Moholo and Dyani followed suit and joined Steve Lacy on tour, and the remaining members morphed into a number of ensembles that eventually grew to become Chris McGregor's Brotherhood Of Breath.    Following the death of Mongezi Feza in 1975 the remaining members of the group had come back together to record Blue Notes For Mongezi, reigniting a sporadic period of activity over the coming years. Following the untimely passing of Johnny Dyani in late 1986, the last three members of the original line-up - McGregor, Pukwana and Moholo-Moholo - reformed to pay tribute to yet another of their fallen brothers.  Blue Notes for Johnny, the group’s second musical memorial to a band member, incorporates a considerably broader range of touchstone and practices than its predecessor, nodding toward the band’s foundations in be-bop and post-bop without abandoning where they had journeyed along the way. Internalising equal elements of hard-bop, modalism, and free improvisation, it is a startling creative statement, imbued with a tension that renders an equally radical and sophisticated challenge; a furious tide - slow in pace and it slow to reveal itself - masquerading in gentler forms.  A celebration and a memorial. Joyous and tragic. A real time resurrection of personal experience, Blue Notes for Johnny dodges, dances, and transforms across its two sides, refusing to be nailed down. As the trio pushes against each other, bristling tonal and rhythmic collisions leave the impression that something is bound to explode, without ever fully letting go.  Blue Notes for Johnny’s memorialisation is unwittingly doubled by capturing the final time that the Blue Notes would come together in the studio. Both Dudu Pukwana and Chris McGregor would pass away three years later in 1990, leaving Moholo-Moholo - who continues to carve a groundbreaking trajectory across the world of jazz - as the last surviving member. The album remains as a journey between an imaged future and the beginning of it all. Six friends meeting and communing through sound. Six friends who had triumphed against the odds, becoming some of the greatest creative voices of their generation. Six friends who were five, then four, and then three, before they were done. Friends who never failed, in whatever form, to come together and play. It is a story begun 60 years ago that remains just as prescient today. --- DUDU PUKWANA / alto sax CHRIS McGREGOR / piano LOUIS MOHOLO / drums  --- This 2022 re-issue has been made with permission and in association with Ogun records. Transferred from the original masters and featuring an exact reproduction of the original artwork. Remastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. All music by the Blue Notes. All music published by Ogun Publishing Co. Cover design by Ogun.

Blue Notes – Blue Notes for Johnny

Since the beginning of Recital, I have been trying to publish the work of Dick Higgins. He is a chief figure in my artistic world, a hero of mine. And now, with the assistance of Charlie Morrow, it has finally happened. The first vinyl album ever published of Higgins! Many know Dick Higgins as the father of Intermedia, a key player in the birth of Fluxus, and the owner/operator of the fabulous Something Else Press. His own poetry is what stirred me. Namely, his book FOEW&OMBWHNW, which contains one of my favorite of his works, “Moments in the Lives of Great Women,” along with other lovely poems (some included on this LP). This recording is of Dick himself reading his own poetry. Poems & Metapoems begins with a voice/tape manipulation piece from 1962, while the rest of the collection employs only language manipulation. Alike a cantor, each word is delivered perfectly with strong warmth. His ability to relay pattern-based poems into sonics is impressive. This album was recorded in 1982, and contains the reading of poems written between 1958-1980. Originally published as a cassette tape by New Wilderness Audiographics, which is nearly impossible to find now. The audio has been remastered and cleaned up for this edition. Dick lived large and was a busybody. All the faucets were running within him, handles broken off. Always pulling to mesh painfulness with playfulness, heartwarmth with heartbreak, comedy with tragedy etc. It is this plurality that Higgins encourages us to spark and flourish.

Dick Higgins – Poems & Metapoems