This classic minimal music album is now available again on vinyl for the first time since the 70s.Primed with a glass of cognac Charlemagne Palestine sits at the keyboard of a Bösendorfer Imperial grand piano. One foot firmly holds down the sustain pedal while both hands perform an insistent strum-like alternation on the keys. Soon Palestine and his Bösendorfer are enveloped in sound and bathed in a shimmering haze of multi-coloured overtones. For 45 minutes this rich pulsating music swells and intensifies, filling the air.When Strumming Music first appeared on the adventurous French label Shandar during the mid-1970s, it seemed a straightforward matter to place Charlemagne Palestine in the so-called Minimalist company of La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Philip Glass, whose work also featured in the Shandar catalogue. Palestine too used a deliberately restricted range of materials and a repetitive technique, but as he has often pointed out in more recent times the opulent fullness of his music would more accurately be described as Maximalist.Strumming Music, recorded in Palestine’s own loft in Manhattan, has no written score. In an age of recorded sound he still feels no need for traditional notation. The surging energy of this particular recording stands comparison with the improvising of jazz visionaries who impressed and inspired him while living in New York, as a young man. But, as Palestine himself has made clear, primarily he brings to music-making the sensibility of an artist rather than a musician.Although the technique of the piece has roots in Palestine’s daily practice, when a teenager, of playing the carillon at a church, hammering sonorous chimes from a rack of tuned bells, it also draws on his later work as a body artist, staging vigorously muscular, physically demanding and often reckless performances. In addition, Strumming Music can be heard as a sculptural tour de force, while its textures connect with the colour moods, plastic rhythms and tactile space of Mark Rothko’s Abstract Expressionist canvases.At the time when Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Terry Riley were becoming well-respected and widely heard composers, welcomed in concert halls and opera houses around the world, Charlemagne Palestine actually stopped making music altogether. He relocated to Europe and devoted his creative energies to the making of stuffed animal sculptures including the mighty God Bear, three-headed and six metres high. His involvement with music was revived and renewed during the 1990s, when younger generations of musicians and listeners, attuned to immersive noise and sensual sounds, were rediscovering Strumming Music and recognising that Palestine had blazed an idiosyncratic trail into their emerging world.Since then he has returned enthusiastically to musical performance and his formerly meagre discography has steadily grown. Still Strumming Music remains the essential index of Palestine’s singular creative vision. Fundamentally this fascinating piece is a collaboration between an artist and an instrument. Palestine had first encountered the Bösendorfer Imperial back in 1969. He had already been playing church organs for several years, relishing their power and presence. Now he had found a piano that satisfied his need for sonic depth and weight. “The Bösendorfer at its best is a very noisy, thick molasses piano,” he has remarked. Charlemagne Palestine embraced its clinging sonorousness, its clangorous resonance and out of that embrace came the voluptuous sonic fabric of Strumming Music.“My rhythms are sexual, not machine-like.” Charlemagne Palestine, in 2013.TracklistA Strumming Music part I 26:05B Strumming Music part II 26:05Notes° Insert with liner notes by Julian Cowley° Comes with download code° Lacquer cut by Rashad Becker° Lay-out by Jeroen Wille° Re-mastered by Equus° Licensed from FGL Productions° Edition of 1000 copies
Charlemagne Palestine - Strumming Music LP
Krutch is Newcastle duo Yeah You's black-hearted return to Slip: poisonous, weaponised pop, spat out on the roam. Father-daughter Mykl Jaxn-Elvin Brandhi's defiantly other improvisations tangle up defouling sermons with ragged beats, gnashing bass, and ear-worm synths. Recorded in a black Renault Clio in Holland and Germany, and at Aurora, Budapest throughout early 2017, Krutch is the 'You at a freshly terrifying apex, filtering the desperation of black metal through an unerring pop nous.
Yeah You - Krutch LP
Two previously unreleased works from the late Danish composer, musician, publisher, artist and performer Henning Christiansen.
Rødhætte (1985) is a rendition of Little Red Riding Hood featuring Ursula Reuter Christiansen as narrator. All the hallmarks of Henning’s unique approach to music/sound appear as the tale goes deeper into the depths of animalistic frenzy.
Ruinmusic (1984) inhabits the last breath off the piano housed within the former Marienborg Manor, an estate once on the Danish island of Møn. Prior to the destruction of the estate Henning Christiansen played a final haunting melody before the instrument was dumped down in the dirt.
Limited edition of 500 copies with artwork by Ursula Reuter Christiansen printed on matt sleeve with insert.
Henning Christiansen – Rødhætte / Ruinmusik 7″
NOTE: The LP And CD have different audio from the same recordings.
Outside of the 2CD release ‘Never Too Late But Always Too Early’ (Eremite, 2003) there has been scant documentation of one of the most dynamic pairings in all free jazz. Featuring unique material on each format Song Sentimentale rectifies this anomaly with a full blown audio account of the breathtaking communicative heights obtained by these three legends of the living.
Over 3 nights in January 2015 the trio seduced a winter worn crowd with the kind of organic interplay only these three can conjure. Warm and urgent the material that covers both formats unveils a wide range of techniques and emotions. This is music on the edge of itself; a living, breathing and existing force documented for repeated visits.
PETER BROETZMANN - TENOR SAX, B-FLAT-CL, TAROGATOWILLIAM PARKER - DOUBLE-BASS, GUEMBRI, SHAKUHACHI, SHENAIHAMID DRAKE - DRUMS, FRAME-DRUM, VOICE
Recorded Live at Cafe Oto on the 27th, 28th and 29th January 2015
Recorded by James Dunn
Mixed by John Chantler
Mastered by Andreas (Lupo) Lubich at Calax
Photocollage by Dawid Laskowski
Artwork by bro
Design by Uniet/bro
BROETZMANN / PARKER / DRAKE - SONG SENTIMENTALE
Otoroku is proud to present the full recording of the first meeting between Bill Orcutt (USA) and Okkyung Lee (South Korea). Individually these players have focussed on an idiosyncratic approach to their chosen instruments and technique. Okkyung is one of the most singular voices to compromise the cello’s ‘classical’ origin, whilst Orcutt has spent many years developing a unique abstraction of traditional guitar blues. Live at Cafe Oto is an uncompromising combination of these individual elements and an ecstatic improvised assault of mind and sense.
Okkyung Lee / cello
Bill Orcutt / guitar
180 gram vinyl. Matte sleeve with artwork by Bill Orcutt. Limited edition of 700 copies.
Okkyung Lee / Bill Orcutt - Live at Cafe Oto LP
"This long-overdue vinyl reissue of Yoko Ono's seminal, but massively under-appreciated Plastic Ono Band has all the makings of a classic rock nostalgia trip: Ono, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voorman and free-jazz legend Ornette Coleman. All the pieces are here to stir up a dangerous amount of nostalgia. But once the needle drops, the record achieves something exactly perpendicular to nostalgia. Released in 1971, the album not only influenced the approach of other musicians for decades, it also sounds absolutely modern 44 years out, eternally fresh despite the forward march of time. Plastic Ono Band not only predicted the intersection of the avant-garde and rock that would take place in the second half of that decade, the album would sound right at home at where that intersection is happening today."
Yoko Ono - Plastic Ono Band LP
Limited edition of 100 LPs pressed as a fundraiser for Cafe OTO to acquire some new equipment.
Thurston Moore / GuitarAlex Ward / Clarinet, Amplifier
Recorded 20 March 2012 at Cafe OTO by John Chantler & Jonny McHugh.Mixed by Alex Ward, Vinyl cut by Nick @ Curved.
Cover image courtesy of Matti Braun.
All proceeds from this LP go towards Cafe OTO's equipment fund thanks to the kind generosity of Thurston, Alex and Matti. Price includes international shipping.
100 copies pressed via Curved - who use MPO in France. Two colour silkscreen print sleeves on 380gsm acid-free archival quality card stock, printed by Pat at Heavyrock, Brighton.
Thurston Moore & Alex Ward - Live at Cafe OTO (LP)
Yukihiro Isso: Nohkan (noh-flute), shinobue, dengakubue, gemshorn and recorder.
Roger Turner: percussion
Born in 1964, Yukihiro Isso is a Japanese Noh flutist (hayashi-kata fue-kata) from a family that has been playing this instrument since the 16th century. He received his initial instruction in flute playing from his father Yukimasa Isso and performed on the Noh stage for the first time at the age of nine. From his middle school years he began to listen to a variety of different kinds of music and studying new instruments including the recorder, flute and piano. An acclaimed performer of classical Noh repertoire, Isso is also an accomplished improviser and has performed with the likes of Cecil Taylor, Peter Brötzmann and John Zorn..
Born 1946, Roger Turner grew up amongst the Canterbury musical life of the 1960’s with a strong jazz foundation. Since 1974 work has been concentrated on exploring a more personal percussion language through the processes of improvisation. Solo work, collaborations with experimental rock musics & open - form song, extensive work with dance, film and visual art, involvements in numerous jazz-based ensembles, & workshop residencies have formed part of that development.
Takanehishigu is the audio documentation of the first time these artists played together. The results are a breathtaking new music which remains respectful to the individual traditions whilst simultaneously subverting them.
Takanehishigu was recorded live at Cafe Oto on 23rd Sep 2015 by Shaun Crook
Mixed by John Chantler.
Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi.
Artwork by Paul Abbott.
Edition of 500 copies.
Roger Turner / Yukihiro Isso: Takanehishigu LP
This recording gathers all of the music from the final night of Otomo and Sachiko's first residency in 2009 which saw the pair joined by the long running trio of Evan Parker, John Edwards and Tony Marsh and special guest John Butcher. Butcher played duos with both Otomo and Sachiko and joined the quintet for a rousing sextet: stunning twin saxophone interplay, the unparalleled open-ness of the Marsh/Edwards rhythm pairing, Sachiko's deft high frequency interventions and Otomo's guitar at the centre - moving between abrasive textural invention and suggestive single note runs of ever-shifting melody.
"As for indicating a place in the curiously sculpted bridges between improvised music and sound art, well, the simple singularity of these daring and committed performances should bear out their significance." Clifford Allen, Tiny Mix Tapes
"This Quintet/Sextet album is recorded beautifully and it needed to be to capture all the nuance involved ... These are musicians at the top of their craft." Free Jazz Blog
"...fresh and inspired. The recording stands as a finely-honed classic of classically approached free improvisation: the players dance and flow smoothly and effortlessly with and around the sounds of their partners." - Henry Kuntz
Point of Departure Review
Otomo Yoshihide / Sachiko M / Evan Parker / Tony Marsh / John Edwards / John Butcher - Quintet / Sextet / Duos
Born in Bolgatanga in rural Ghana, King Ayisoba was a prodigy on the kologo, playing locally until he’d outgrown the possibilities of the area. Moving to Accra, the country’s biggest city, he eventually released the song “I Want To See You, My Father.” There was nothing modern about it. No hiplife rap, no electronic beats. But somehow it conquered the country and brought the tradition firmly into the mainstream.
“It was Song of the Year and Traditional Song of the Year,” says album producer Zea. “He also had a song called “Modern Ghanaians” that said we shouldn’t forget the tradition. Instead we should use it to fight modern problems.”
With that mantra, King Ayisoba became the unlikeliest star. His music was a strong weapon for Ghana’s traditions. What he wanted, though, was to play with a band, to bring what he called the “man-power” to give the full drive to his sound. On the album Wicked Leaders, with Zea producing, that’s exactly what he did.After that Ayisoba toured Europe together with Zea, opening up solo, providing guitar, vocals and live electronics on stage, and Francis Ayagama joined King Ayisoba’s band on djembe and bemne drums
Alone or with beats, ultimately the power that propels 1000 Can Die comes from the band itself, from the sense of history that forms every piece of music. It’s there in every musician. They all go home and farm. They’re connected to the land, and the songs are part of the harvest they bring from the fields and from their own families.“Ayisoba’s grandfather played the kologo,” Zea says. “But only in the house. He was a healer, a shaman. People would come and tell him their problems. He’d make a connection with the spirits, then play and start singing, and his stories would include solutions.”
On 1000 Can Die, King Ayisoba is digging a new future from Ghana’s soil.
King Ayisoba - 1000 Can Die LP
"Turns out the very sound of falling in love is just as abstract, subjective and loopy as the concept itself. Yoko Ono and John Lennon are two of history's greatest lovers, and Two Virgins is the document of the pair falling in love in real time. The album is a curious and amazing suite recorded over one weekend in Spring 1968 at Lennon's Kenwood home: Distant conversations; comedic role playing and footsteps; laughter, birdcalls and plunking piano lines; silly songs and space; tape delay stretching shrieks, bass rumbles and moans to the moon and back again. The now-iconic cover (featuring Ono and Lennon standing nude together) not-with-standing, nothing about Two Virgins is safe. It would be a risky move today for artists in the larger, pop-culture conversation just as it was a risky move in 1969. But this is an uncomfortably private, two-person dialogue about - and celebration of experimentation, inspiration and play. And these two souls bravely let us look through the keyhole."
John Lennon and Yoko Ono - Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins LP
Limited edition of 100 LPs pressed as a fundraiser for Cafe OTO to acquire some new equipment.
Fred Frith - Guitar, Piano Christian Marclay - Records and Turntables
Recorded 7 July 2012 at Cafe OTO by John Chantler & James Dunn. Mixed and mastered by Myles Boysen at Headless Buddha Mastering Labs.
Design by Laurent Benner, Collages by Christian Marclay.
All proceeds from this LP go towards Cafe OTO's equipment fund. Thanks to Fred, Christian and Laurent for generously making this possible!
100 copies + 10 Artist Proofs. Two colour screenprint sleeves on 380gsm acid-free archive quality card stock, printed by Pat at Heavyrock, Brighton. Centre labels hand-stamped (Black on Black). Vinyl pressed at MPO (via Curved, London).
Fred Frith & Christian Marclay - Live at Cafe OTO - 2012
Our tenth OTOROKU release sees a return to the group that kick-started the label - the veteran German reedsman and free jazz pioneer Peter Broetzmann with the long-running London bass/drums partnership of John Edwards and Steve Noble. After the release of '…The Worse The Better' that group went on to play a series of devastating shows in Europe and to emerge as one of Broetzmann's finest working groups. Over the same period Peter was developing a deep rapport with Jason Adasiewicz, the upstart vibraphone player from Chicago. What seems on paper like an awkward pairing reveals itself on stage and on record as a symbiotic revelation. Adasiewicz's physical attack matching Broetzmann for impact whilst the extended sustain of the vibes opens up an eerie space for some of Broetzmann's most fertile lyricism.
The recording is from the last set of a two-day residency at Cafe OTO that brought these two groups together for an astonishing quartet. Adasiewicz and Noble struck up an immense partnership in rhythm. Edwards wrestled with a broken house bass and failing amplifier and still managed new levels of invention - stoking the others onwards. Broetzmann was clearly energised - I swear I saw him dancing at the side of the stage whilst exchanging a shattered reed. And for all the usual rhetoric of Free Jazz bluster and machismo, this is a meeting characterised by the joy of communal creation that makes you want to dance - even if only in your head.
Broetzmann / Adasiewicz / Edwards / Noble – MENTAL SHAKE (LP)
Born in Tbilisi, Nargilə Mehtiyeva aka Aşıq Nargilə has been playing saz (long-neck lute) and singing since the age of 15. Fluent in Azerbaijani, Georgian, and Russian, Nargilə represents the cosmopolitan heritage of old Tbilisi, a city once known as a meeting point for multilingual aşıq bards who would travel through the region serving as conduits for news, ideas, music and culture. Nargilə is currently the only female aşıq living and performing in the ethnic Azeri region of Georgia, and has been teaching the art to new generations.
This is a recording of Aşıq Nargilə's first concert in the UK. Recorded live at Cafe Oto on the 18th October 2014 by James Dunn. The pieces performed are named after the traditional saz aşıq havası (melodies) they are based on. Lyrics are taken from destan epics, regional poetry and Nargile’s own lyrics to match the rhyming patterns of these melodies. Yanıq Kerem (1) and Ruhani (7) are both instrumental pieces which depict their own stories without words. Ay Ceyranım (5) is a popular song performed at weddings across Azerbaijan.
Aşıq Nargilə Mehtiyeva: Saz (long-necked lute) and Söz (vocals)
1. Yaniq Keremi
2. Yurt Yeri
5. Ay Ceyrani
6. Bas Saritel
8. Orta Saritel
Asiq Nargile - Yurt Yeri
One of the great 'free' avant garde lp's. As dynamic as it is frustrating. The glory of not caring about what anyone thinks in audio, on wax. "Life With The Lions is the sound of Ono and Lennon validating their love as something impenetrable and timeless. It's when we, the listener, begin to fully understand that the scope of their recording efforts was much more than a recording collaboration, and something closer to a performative documentary, a declaration of 'Our life and our love is our art - every nitty, gritty part of it.' "
JOHN LENNON AND YOKO ONO - Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With The Lions LP
Vi Är Alla Guds Slavar is the latest missive from the long-running duo pairing of Mats Gustafsson (The Thing, Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, etc) and Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth, Chelsea Light Moving, Dream/Aktion Unit, etc).
Thurston had first come across Mats' playing on a duo disc with Barry Guy and had assumed he was one of those older beardy European improv guys - Remember this was before the internet and everyone knew everything. Their first actual meeting goes back to the early 90s at Blue Tower Records in Stockholm (now Andra Jazz - arguably the greatest jazz record store in the world) on one of Thurston's frequent soundcheck-skipping discaholic binges. The young guy behind the counter was blowing his mind with side after side of crazy rare jazz, test pressings, acetates and more. Running late, he offered Thurston a lift to the gig and en route asked if there was any particular records he was looking for. "There is this sax player - Mats Gustafsson - I'm looking for some of his stuff"
"That's me" says the young guy - and there started an intense friendship that has manifested intself in music through their discaholics anonymous trio (with Jim O'Rourke), Gustafsson's large scale HIDROS 3 composition for Sonic Youth and much more besides…
You can watch a video interview with Thurston where he tells the story of their first meeting here:
Mats Gustafsson & Thurston Moore – Vi Är Alla Guds Slavar
From subterranea, sweat, haze and dedication emerging out of intimate and intense weekly meetings begun in 2009 – their first, 2012 public performance, squeezed into a London basement was a sheer, vexed and exhilarating smack of organic, heterodyning ideas, and taut, lowbeating lumps.
With the economy of familiar/traditional raw tools feedback, drumkit, altosaxophone, time, space and emotion lll人 move from molten musical pasts to grow future pleasures in sound.
The ingredients are familiar, but the listening is not.
At its heart is a still, undecorated concentration fuelling an extreme testing of limbs, language and order. This has no concern with collapsing difference into a vogueish flattened mass froth, but searches – forensically, ceaselessly – for something to chew, in the challenge of discretion and integrity or asylum in the body of its instruments.
Akilsakilan learning, Doughnut.
Finding, twisting and hammering out an expanding musical universe balanced only by its own logics – lll人 have few obvious comparisons. Their performances are consistent radical negotiations of the emotional, physical and social energies of the environments they sound out.
[The second side was recorded at a summer fundraiser concert for Project Fukushima (This followed a solo performance by Evan Parker who later joined the group for a quartet) and the first as part of the inaugural INTERSECT festival four months later.]
Recorded at Cafe OTO on 28 August 2013 (Fukshima) by Stuart Bannister and 7 December 2013 (Intersect) by Kate Arnold. Mixed by Paul Abbott. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx, Berlin.
Design by Paul Abbott. Inner sleeve by Paul Abbott, Cara Tolmie and Conal Mcstravick
lll人 – gjērhan
Klara Lewis' debut release presents an electronically charged reconstruction of organic sound matter. 10 tracks featuring a wide variety of sonic material which is subjected to Lewis' unique approach to the sonic landscape. Field recordings, small sounds, samples, ambient pot holes, repetition, and giddy disorientation are all tactics deployed by Lewis. On entering these works we take a voyage through a series of audacious audio adventures, playful musical miniatures and choppy sonic seas. There is a human warmth to much of the material as Lewis expertly crafts musical matter from the living world. ‘Ett‘ is an exemplary investigation as Lewis’ reconfigures sounds of life itself, from the delirious to the tender. A bold vision from a bright new talent.
Recorded, sampled, edited, manipulated, mixed, produced and arranged by Klara Lewis
Artwork by Dave Coppenhall
KLARA LEWIS - ETT