Vinyl

Pre-order. Stock due aprox 18.6.19 Masayuki “Jojo” Takayanagi (1932 - 1991) was a maverick Japanese guitarist, a revolutionary spirit whose oeuvre embodied the radical political movements of late ‘60s Japan. Having cut his teeth as an accomplished Lennie Tristano disciple playing cool jazz in the late ‘50s, Takayanagi had his mind blown by the Chicago Transit Authority’s “Free Form Guitar” in 1969 and promptly turned his back on the jazz scene by which he was beloved, going as far as to call his former peers and admirers “a bunch of losers” in the press. Takayanagi had found a new direction, an annihilation of jazz and its associated idolatry of hegemonic American culture. Aiming his virtuoso chops towards the stratosphere, Takayanagi dedicated himself to the art of the freakout, laying waste to tradition left and right, most notably via the all-out assault of his aptly-named New Direction for the Arts (later New Direction Unit) and collaborations with like-minded outsider saxophonist Kaoru Abe. His innovations on the instrument parallel those of Sonny Sharrock and Derek Bailey and paved the way for the Japanese necromancy of Keiji Haino and Otomo Yoshihide, but even at its most limitless hurdling Takayanagi’s playing is propelled by the dexterous grasp of his foundations, to which he paid tribute with elegant takes on flamenco and Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman.” In the autumn of his life, Takayanagi’s solo Action Direct performances made him one of the first guitarists, alongside but independent of Keith Rowe, to use tabletop guitar for pure noise improvisation. Culled from 1975 sessions by the Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit, April is the cruellest month was originally slated for release on ESP-Disk before the pioneering free jazz label’s untimely demise that year, eventually being released on a 1991 CD in Japan. Part of the period of Takayanagi’s career which he termed “Non-Section Music,” one can only imagine how its unholy racket might have altered an international understanding of Japanese noise had the LP reached American shores upon its inception. On “We Have Existed” and “What Have We Given?”, the classic lineup of Takayanagi with Kenji Mori (alto sax, flute, bass clarinet), Nobuyoshi Ino (bass, cello), and Hiroshi Yamazaki (percussion) prove that free improvisation was thriving well beyond Western Europe with a set of dilapidated, spacious clanging, Takayanagi’s squalling feedback and Mori’s Eric Dolphy moves undulating atop the joyous clamor. The cataclysmic “My Friend, Blood Shaking My Heart” is another story altogether. With the vertiginous abandon of a jet engine, the unit immediately launches into an unrelenting sidelong barrage of frenzied, blistering noise. Infernal sheets of contorted sound find the berserk instrumentalists hopelessly entangled as they urge the explosion deeper and deeper into ecstatic oblivion. Takayanagi’s finely honed guitar abuse, Ino’s demonic squirming, and Mori’s ferocious reed attack occasionally rise above the din only to subsumed once more by the maelstrom. And then, twenty minutes later, it’s over as quickly as it began. Rivaled in intensity only by John Coltrane’s The Olatunji Concert, Peter Brötzmann’s Machine Gun, and Dave Burrell’s Echo, April is the cruellest month finally, deservedly sees the light of day on the vinyl format for which it was originally conceived, marking the first issue of Takayanagi’s music outside of Japan.

Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit – April is the cruellest month LP

Maryanne Amacher (1938 - 2009) was a composer of large-scale fixed-duration sound installations and a highly original thinker in the areas of perception, sound spatialization, creative intelligence, and aural architecture. She is frequently cited as a pioneer of what has come to be called “sound art,” although her thought and creative practice consistently challenge key assumptions about the capacities and limitations of the genre. Amacher’s work anticipates some of the most important developments in network culture, media arts, acoustic ecology, and sound studies, yet due to its expansive interdisciplinary nature it has rarely been documented. Following two CDs for Tzadik and her inclusion in the monumental collection OHM: The Early Gurus Of Electronic Music (1948-1980), this publication of Amacher’s 1991 piece Petramarks her first commercially available instrumental work as well as the first time her music has ever been available on vinyl. Petra was originally commissioned for the ISCM World Music Days in Switzerland. Written for two pianos, the piece is a unique example of Amacher’s late work, a direct extension of her working methodologies for electronic composition taken into an acoustic realm that alludes to the music of Giacinto Scelsi and Galina Ustvolskaya. Petra is a sweeping, durational work based on both Amacher’s impressions of the church in Boswil where the piece was premiered and science-fiction writer Greg Bear’s short story of the same name, in which gargoyles come to life and breed with humans in a post-apocalyptic Notre Dame. This solemn interpretation of Petra was recorded at its 2017 American premiere at New York’s St. Peter’s Episcopal Church with pianists Marianne Schroeder, who originally performed the piece alongside Amacher in 1991, and Stefan Tcherepnin, who performed it alongside Schroeder in 2012 at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. Weighing tranquilizing passages of glacially-paced serenity against stretches of dilapidated, jagged dissonance, the recording illuminates a crucial node in the constellation of Amacher’s enigmatic oeuvre. Artistic director of the Giacinto Scelsi Festival in Basel, Marianne Schroeder is a Swiss composer and pianist specializing in the interpretation of New Music. She has collaborated with and premiered work by John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Dieter Schnebel, Anthony Braxton, Morton Feldman, Pauline Oliveros and Giacinto Scelsi, with whom she studied. She is currently a professor at Hochschule der Künste Bern, and has also taught at the International Summer Courses in Darmstadt. Stefan Tcherepnin is an American electronic music performer, contemporary artist, and composer in fourth generation, continuing the family heritage of his great-grandfather Nicholas, grandfather Alexander, and father Ivan Tcherepnin. As a family friend of Amacher’s and a student of hers at Bard College he is uniquely qualified to navigate the labyrinth of Amacher interpretation.

Maryanne Amacher – Petra LP

“Debut full length from London based 3 piece originally hailing from New Zealand (Matthew Hyland), Germany (Anja Büchele) and Romania (Dennis Debitsev) Precious Waste In Our Wake (full title written nowhere: “The Fucking Terrible Receding Shapes, We Shed Precious Waste In Our Wake”) is an endlessly beautiful, dense and chaotic crawl through so many forms it can be difficult to ascertain what is actually at play. Ostensibly a ‘rock’ band carved from the same plank as previous outfits Philosopie Queen, The Mean Streaks, etc Triple Negative have shaken a somewhat complacent London with their wildly original blend of chaos and beauty rolling around a maelstrom of politics, spite and humour. Bloodclaat Orange, Fatna Bent Lhoucine, The Associates, Aby Ngana Diop, Royal Trux, Brigitte Fontaine/Areski, and Babyfather are all somehow wished into the scenario, either suggestively, explicitly quoted or manifesting as some malformed degree of inspiration. Precious Waste features bloody-minded Schlagzeugspiel by Stephen Robinson (Aufgehoben) & Rohan P. Thomas (The Mean Streaks, Sigma Editions) + guest verses by Maria Callas/P.-P. Pasolini, Marlene Dietrich & actually existing urban foxes of Northeast & South London. Also contains “Destroyer”, the 1st song written by Cameron Bain for The Mean Streaks (2000. complete lyric sheet: Destroyer!), followed immediately by Dr Moreau-style fusion of Herman Melville & Peter Perrett in glass-all-void Immigrant Song. Also bass sound of the miraculous Stylophone Beatbox, plus Casio MT 45 psychick dancehall and 3 pairs of strings, not 4, on the bouzouki. Following on from the quietly released TOWERS, OPEN, FIRE/Looking For Business 7″ on Penultimate Press towards the end of 2018, Precious Waste In Our Wake is a Malediction Forbidding Mourning, a portfolio of old pathologies folded into a sleek new nervous wreck. Precious Waste In Our Wake is a hulking ride of audacious rhythmic passages swaying alongside the meanest of melodies suddenly swept over by flights most fragile. Packaged in a high gloss sleeve with insert and precious zero by way of peers.” “An endearingly honest and outrageously artful sense of seemingly forgetful prowess - having played together for seventeen years (!) and only now releasing their debut album, “Precious Waste..” really gives weight to the idea that it can take a long time to sound like yourself. Triple Negative's entirely unique breed of dynamic chaos providing the thrill and bewilderment of observing that which is so close to collapse, evolve into a fully realised slab of INFINITE potential.” - Low Company

Triple Negative – Precious Waste In Our Wake

O YAMA O explores a certain domestic and democratic quality of everyday life, born through associations to folk music of Japan and a folding of myth, tradition, and routine; the non-spectacular and the sublime. Formed of musician and artist Rie Nakajima and Cafe OTO co-founder Keiko Yamamoto, the group has performed since 2014 at venues and festivals such as noshowspace, Ikon Gallery, Wysing Arts Centre, Supernormal, Borealis Festival, Mayhem, and allEars Festival. Nakajima’s performance often focuses on the use of found and kinetic objects, using modest items such as rice bowls, toys, clockwork, balloons and small motors as instruments to create a “micro orchestra”. Elements are layered into impressive and immersive atmospheres. Yamamoto alternatively floats and charges through this with body and voice; chanting, incanting, thundering, whispering, stamping on the floor. Their debut album consolidates their musical conversations into keenly paced studio music, the duo working with additional instrumentation and a resolved focus on melody to provide vivid portraits of folkloric Japan in song. They move between pop and the philosophical, defined by the overall space afforded to texture and movement. In small, delicate sound an intimate musical climate is established that reflects on life, telling stories of improvised clockwork, whispered dreams, small movements of the hand and the rhythm to be found in the shuffle of a deck of cards. Grandly theatric and dramatic flourishes add solidity to these illustrations, operas driven by the swooping energy and power of Yamamoto’s voice can be playful or emotionally charged, particularly when the duo arrange themselves in ensemble with violinist Billy Steiger and percussionist Marie Roux. Production by David Cunningham creates the shadowy presence of a leftfield Flying Lizards dubwise depth that adds subtle strangeness to the atmosphere. The result is something raw, full-bodied; full of energy, grace and mystery.

O Yama O – O Yama O LP

Keiji Haino, one of the foremost exponents of the Japanese avant-garde, always provides a masterclass in constantly shifting improvisation. John Butcher is a saxophonist of rare grace and power, who has expanded the vocabulary of the saxophone far beyond the conventions of jazz and other musics, to encompass a staggering range of multiphonics, overtones, percussive sounds, and electronic feedback. Haino and Butcher met when Butcher opened for Fushitsusha at the show Cafe OTO arranged at St. John, Hackney - 5 years ago. In 2016 they were invited to play two duo concerts – at The Empty Gallery in Hong Kong and at Cafe OTO in London. Otoroku is proud to present the audio documentation of their first UK meeting. Recorded live at Cafe OTO in July 2016 the results are an uncompromising milieu of swirling sound played out as a total union of these two legendary performers.  Haino’s blues drenched guitar entices skittering notes from Butcher’s sax playing as numerous sonic clues unravel over the course of of this unique and compelling journey. Light Never Bright Enough comes in a limited edition of 500 LPs and 500 CDs with matt sleeves and japanese removable obi-strip. --- Keiji Haino / vocal, guitar, flutes   John Butcher / saxophones and feedback --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO on the 9th July 2016 by Luca Consonni. Mixed by John Butcher. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Photography and design by ORGAN. 

HAINO KEIJI / JOHN BUTCHER - LIGHT NEVER BRIGHT ENOUGH

Fresh output from John Chantler's 1703 Skivbolaget - the new duo from two masters of very different string instruments. ‘The Air Around Her’ beguiled its audience when recorded live in a bakery at Edition Festival in 2016, and carries beautifully through to this release. Microtonal timbres meet gnarled defiance - the result is surprisingly symbiotic. Ellen Fullman’s Long String Instrument has been a long-term life-work of incredible ambition and dedication. The result is immediate, exciting and inspirational. Okkyung Lee has completed rewritten the possibilities for the cello in solo and group improvisation whilst maintaining a steadfast defiance to the many attempts to contain her work within pre-defined genres. ‘The Air Around Her’ was recorded on 20 February 2016 during the First Edition Festival for Other Music in Stockholm, Sweden at Kronobageriet — the former bakery to Swedish Royalty that dates back to the 17th Century and is now the site of the city’s Performing Arts Museum. The Edition Festival was given access to the space while renovations took place and Fullman allowed the requisite time to install and tune her long string instrument along the full 26 metre length of the room. --- Music by Ellen Fullman and Okkyung Lee. Recorded during the First Edition Festival for Other Music, Stockholm on 20th February 2016. Concert producer: John Chantler. Recording Engineer: Maria W Horn. Mixed by Ellen Fullman and Thomas Dimuzio. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx, Berlin. Artwork by Bill Nace. Made possible in part by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists (2015). The title, "The Air Around Her" is a quote from "Vermeer Interiors" a poem by Margaret Rabb, from her book, "Granite Dives". This release has been supported by the Swedish Arts Council. © 2018 Ellen Fullman (BMI) / Okkyung Lee (ASCAP) Released by 1703 Skivbolaget in cooperation with Ideell Edition

Ellen Fullman & Okkyung Lee - The Air Around Her

Before the spectral, romantic electric guitar miniatures for which he is celebrated today, Loren Connors recorded a string of nine solo acoustic guitar improvisations under the name of Loren Mazzacane between 1979 and 1980. The records feature Loren’s contorted impressions of Delta and country blues, persistently kneaded into sidelong guitar excursions entangled with wordless, mournful vocal utterances, hummed and moaned in imitation of the dogs that often howled outside his window. Originally released on Loren’s own Daggett Records—named after the street he lived on in New Haven, Connecticut—these LPs slipped into obscurity after Daggett’s distributor went bankrupt, forcing the guitarist, who didn’t have a car, to dispose of their unsold stock rather than drag the records home without transportation. Now, thanks to a recording found by Tommy McCutchon of Unseen Worlds, Blank Forms presents the tenth volume of the series. Recorded in Woodstock, New York in front of a live audience at the Creative Music Studio (the improvised music nonprofit founded by Karl Berger, Ornette Coleman, and Ingrid Sertso), Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar Improvisations Vol. 10 provides a welcome addition to the canon of Loren’s early solo releases and is the first contemporary vinyl publication of material from his Daggett Street period. As with the original Daggett records, the LP is issued in handmade covers with paste-on art featuring a replica of a recent drawing included in Loren’s October 2018 art exhibition Wildweeds, presented by Blank Forms. One of the world’s most singular guitarists, Loren Connors is among few living musicians whose prolific body of work can be said to be wholly justified in its plenitude. On more than 100 records across almost four decades on labels like Table of the Elements, Drag City, Ecstatic Yod, and his own Daggett Records, Connors has wrung distinct shades of ephemeral blues from his guitar, its sound ever-shifting while remaining unmistakably his own. From his early, splintered take on the Delta bottleneck style through his song-based albums with Suzanne Langille and on to the painterly abstraction that defines his current work, Connors has earned the admiration of many, leading to collaborations with the likes of John Fahey, Jim O’Rourke, Keiji Haino, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Alan Licht, and Jandek.

Loren Connors – Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar Improvisations Vol. 10 LP

Dedicated to the memory of Tony Marsh The recordings on this double LP are taken from the first night of Roscoe Mitchell's inaugural two day residency at Cafe OTO in 2012 and his first time playing with drummer Tony Marsh and double bassist John Edwards. It was one of those nights where the music electrifies the room. Everyone on edge. Everything alive with the possibilities. Although there was much talk after the concert of the group playing together again this would sadly be the first and last time the trio would play. Tony passed away unexpectedly just a few weeks later making this his last documented performance and a fitting tribute to a truly great drummer and percussionist. Roscoe Mitchell is one of the most important saxophonists and composers of the 20th Century. Active since the 1960s as a bandleader, mentor, collaborator and teacher. Mitchell was a founding member of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago. He has been a pivotal figure in the collective re-imagining of what is possible in jazz, improvisation and beyond combining an instantly recognisable sound on the saxophone with staggering technique (check the lengthy stretch of sustained circular breathing on SIDE C) and an arresting, fractured melodic sensibility. On this date he quickly realised he was in the company of two musicians who could match his vision and create music that is more than the sum of its parts. John Edwards is a vital presence in London's creative music community. A true virtuoso, his staggering range of techniques and boundless musical imagination have redefined the possibility of the double bass and dramatically expanded its role. No one else played or plays drums like Tony Marsh. Richard Williams had previously described Tony's "marvelous ability to erase the boundary between time and no-time" and here, on the jerry-rigged suspended percussion set-up he'd developed (no kick or hi-hats) he opens up a beautifully resonant space, quietly directing the pulse whilst allowing you to fully hear the upper-register harmonic detail and flickering pizzicato of John Edward's bass. You'd be hard pressed to hear anything in the playing that would hint at his shock passing only a month later.
 "Listen closely, take a chance, keep going even if money's tight, and you'll find the real reward – that's why Tony was hip in the most meaningful sense … And he didn't need to play loud, or be loud, to get that intensity. It's like splitting diamonds or something. If you know exactly the right place to make the impact, you don't need to hit anything hard." - Evan Parker 

 (Quoted in John Fordham's Obituary for Marsh)

Roscoe Mitchell / Tony Marsh / John Edwards - Improvisations

We're very pleased to announce Pat Thomas's ‘The Elephant Clock of Al Jazari’ on our in-house OTOROKU label. Recorded live at OTO in May 2015 and mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi, the LP comprises four typically genre-defying and sonically dexterous pieces from one of the UK's most extraordinary pianists. In Pat's own words: The title for this Album, was inspired by the incredible automatic water clock invented by Badi' al-Zaman ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari. Al Jazari refers to the fact he was born in Al Jazira which lies between the Tigris and the Euphrates in what is now Northern Iraq. Badi al Zaman means prodigy of the age. He is known by historians of technology as the father of modern robotics. The Elephant Clock at seven metres high is a testament to his engineering genius, it utilizes Greek water raising technology, combined with an Indian elephant, Egyptian phoenix, Arabian figures, Persian carpet and Chinese Dragons celebrating the diversity of cultures in the world. This and other marvels of engineering can be found in his Book of the Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices translated by Donald Hill (Pakistan Hijra Council). Over 50 devices are mentioned. Amongst them the first analog computer, his remarkable Castle Clock, however, the debt the world owes this muslim genius is found in his remarkable water raising devices, particularly water raising device number 4 where for the first time a crank connecting rod system is used. The crank is considered to be the most important single mechanical device after the wheel, by 1206 this is found fully developed in Jazari`s machines predating Francesco di Giorgio Martini by 3 centuries. 'For Al Haytham' is dedicated to the great polymath genius who wrote the great book on vision, the first person to give us a true understanding of how we see. 'Lubb' is an Arabic word meaning innermost consciousness whilst to conclude proceedings 'Done' is loosely based on a well known standard. - Pat Thomas 26TH May 2017 Pat Thomas began playing  piano at the age of eight. He studied classical music and reggae was an early interest. Thomas was inspired to take up Jazz after seeing legendary pianist Oscar Peterson on television. By 1979, Thomas was performing seriously as an improviser. In 1980 he became a member of oxford based group Ghosts with Pete Mcphail and Matt Lewis. Has worked with Mike Cooper, Steve Beresford, Geoff Hawkins, Chuck Berry, Tim Hill, Alex Ward, Eugene Chadbourne, Steve Noble, Jimmy Carl Black, Thurston  Moore, Mats Gustafsson, Evan Parker, Oliver Lake, Alan Silva, Bill Dixon, Joe Gallivan, Alan Wilkinson, John Edwards, John Zorn, John Butcher, John Russell and a duo with Mark Sanders since 1986 a duo with Steve Noble (who first met in 1979).  Current activities include Black Top with Orphy Robinson, Valid Tractor with Lawrence Casserley and Dom Lash, About Group with Alexis Taylor and John Coxon, Albert Newton with Charles Haywood and the Founder Effect with John Coxon, a duo with Han Bennink and a trio with William Parker and Hamid Drake. Pat Thomas received Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers in 2014. --- Pat Thomas / piano --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO on the 4th May 2015 b Mark Jasper. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Photo by fabio Lugaro. Design by Maja Larsson. 

Pat Thomas - The Elephant Clock of Al Jazari

"Japanese bluesman Kan Mikami is nothing less than an unalloyed force of nature. A skin-shredding blast of frozen wind from the poor, rural north of Japan that he calls home. In the late 1960s, like thousands of other Japanese young people Mikami made his way to Tokyo in search of a life different from that of his parents. Since then he has forcefully carved out a space for himself in the culture as a modernist poet, a raging folk singer, an author, a actor, an engaging TV personality, and one of Japan’s most uniquely powerful performers. For most of Mikami’s career as a singer, he has performed solo. Just him and his electric guitar against the world, creating jagged A-minor vamps to drive along the surreal wisdom of his lyrics. But he’s equally at home in more demanding improvisational contexts such as those provided here by John Edwards on bass and Alex Neilson on drums. Their dense propulsive textures seem to spur on Mikami, his voice arcing powerfully into fragmented spaces, his guitar darting, colliding, shedding jagged and angular splinters of sound. A pulsing, raging maelstrom of serrated-edged energy. Gruff, rough, honest and very, very real." - Alan Cummings --- Kan Mikami / vocals, guitar John Edwards / bass Alex Neilson / percussion --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO on 3rd April 2013 by James Dunn. Mixed by John Chantler. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi

Kan Mikami / John Edwards / Alex Neilson - Live at Cafe OTO