Otoroku Vinyl, CD & tapes from this label at Norman Records
Phenomenal work from free jazz legend Evan Parker, a figure who has consistently wrestled with the heart of form. ‘The Snake Decides’ has this kinetic restlessness that won’t let up. Recorded in St Paul's Church, Oxford, this is a seminal work that’s free but not without thought or process. Reissued by Otoroku and remastered by Giuseppe Ielasi, this edition is limited to 500 copies.
Bringing together three renowned free improvisers, The Topography of the Lungs was the first release on Evan Parker and Derek Bailey’s Incus label and has been brought back to heavyweight vinyl by the OTOroku imprint. Parker’s ferocious circular breathing techniques, Bailey’s unhinged guitar and Han Bennink’s off-grid percussion sound as radical and incomparable as they must have done in 1970.
Otoroku Records (Thurston Moore, Mats Gustafsson) tends to focus on archiving performances at the London experimental hub Cafe OTO, but this release sees them making a play in the reissues game. Originally released in 1975, this record sees two titans of the British avant garde lining up alongside one other on a London stage. Guitarist Derek Bailey and saxophonist Evan Parker twang, bang and skronk away to intriguing effect on The London Concert.
Kan Mikami / John Edwards / Alex Nielson
Live at Cafe Oto
Kan Mikami is sometimes simplistically portrayed as the Japanese Bob Dylan, but he’s been an important figure in his homeland since the 70s. International renown has perhaps been limited by the language barrier versus his musically sparse, lyric-heavy songs. However that’s less of an issue here, where he’s joined by drummer Alex Nielson and bassist John Edwards for some fiery and volatile improv, recorded in Cafe OTO and released by their archival label. On LP and CD, both limited to 500 copies.
This record captures the first UK gig by a couple of the underground’s most prolific collaborators, recorded in Cafe OTO in 2016 and presented by their in-house label. Butcher is on saxes and feedback and Haino is credited with “vocals, guitars, etc”, which will do little to prepare you for this otherworldly and ritualistic racket. LP and CD both limited to 500 and with obi strips.
A live recording from Pat Thomas comes in the form of a full length record entitled The Elephant Clock Of Al Jazari. An improvised piece of sound art that focuses around sounds on the piano, including using the piano as the occasional piece of percussion. The hypnotic record was mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi and is available on vinyl LP.
Asiq Nargile is an important keeper of the aşıq musical traditions of Georgia, performing a mixture of traditional melodies, original lyrics and folk instrumentals with her powerful voice and intricate saz techniques. Yurt Yeri is a recording of her first ever live show in the UK, at London’s Cafe Oto. 500 vinyl copies on Oto’s own Otoroku label.
More explosive sonic encounters recorded at London’s home of experimental music, Cafe Oto. Guitarists Bill Orcutt (formerly of Harry Pussy) met phenomenal cellist Okkyung Lee last year for a first-time improvised collaboration documented in full here. Both musicians approach their instruments with fierce originality, and the new territories they find grind together wonderfully here. 500 copies on Oto’s own Otoroku label.
Document of the first (ever!) trio performance of German saxophone lord Peter Brötzmann with London’s finest free-improvising rhythm section, John Edwards and Steve Noble, recorded live at Cafe Oto back in 2010. The sweet free-jazz meat of The Worse The Better is so delicious that the first pressing sold-out a few years back, so Otoroku have issued 500 more. Killer stuff!
It's always a good time for Brötzmann, especially when the old sax-man is playing with the unbeatable rhythm section of William Parker and Hamid Drake. Totally intuitive and highly inventive interplay is the name of the game. The sounds of Song Sentimentale were recorded live in front of a rapt audience at London’s Cafe Oto last year: the record is released by Oto’s own Otoroku label.
Roger Turner / Yukihiro Isso
More explosive sonic encounters recorded at London’s home of experimental music, Cafe Oto. Yukihiro Isso, a flautist and pianist, was paired for the first time with English free drummer Roger Turner for an expansive improvisation, reaching alternately thoughtful and fierce sonic spaces. 500 vinyl copies on Oto’s own Otoroku label.
Evan Parker / John Edwards / Chris Corsano
Last year’s Chris Corsano residency at Cafe Oto saw the wonderkid drummer playing with a wide range of amazing performers: The Hurrah documents him with John Edwards and Evan Parker on bass and saxophone respectively. If you know the players, you don’t need me to tell you how remarkable this music is. LP on Otoroku, 500 copies.
Otomo Yoshihide / Sachiko M / Evan Parker / John Edwards / Tony Marsh / John Butcher
Quintet / Sextet
Recording extracted from an evidently amazing couple of nights at London’s Cafe Oto, on their own Otoroku label. Otomo Yoshihide on guitar, Sachiko M on sine-waves (yeah just that, she’s brilliant), Evan Parker and John Butcher on impossible saxophones, and John Edwards and Tony Marsh providing the rhythm section. High, high grade improv.
A record named Piano Solo sets up certain expectations doesn’t it? Well Otomo Yoshihide is here to undermine those expectations: his Piano Solo involves using the piano as a conduit for feedback and noise, but with a depth and a richness that is suggestive of the instrument’s musical power. Amazing, surprising work, and beautifully released by Otoroku too.
Vi Är Alla Guds Slavar consists of Thurston Moore with his experimental, ear-fudging costume on, teaming up with Mats Gustafsson. Mats contributes blown-out electronics and a little soprano Sax, whilst Thurston messes heartily with his guitar. Highly invigorating improvisations on LP in a screen-printed sleeve on OTOroku.