Keiji Haino @ Cafe Oto, 31. viii. 15 & 1. ix. 15.

Keiji Haino

Keiji Haino

Two startling nights at Cafe Oto. The first in the Project Space billed as an acoustic set and the second in the cafe with Russell Haswell. On night one KH’s performance was preceded by an announcement concerning the vocals: ‘..these are part of sound rather than actual singing.’ The ‘songs’, that book-ended instrumental improvisations, included versions of ‘Light My Fire’, ‘Cosmic Dancer’ and ‘Strange Fruit’. Night two included a dense, spatial solo set by Russell Haswell, a complex duo and another episodic collection of solo improvisations with more ‘songs’ from Haino. On this occasion he was introduced thus: ‘he’s a music machine and a singer.’ This time round the selection included ‘Yesterday’, ‘People are Strange’, ‘Song to a Siren’ and, once again, an extremely unsettling rendition of ‘Strange Fruit’.

Haino’s work occupies a space that allows a ‘singer’ to not sing and, at the same time, it is in the uneasy, overlapping zone of ‘music machine’ and musician.

Russell Haswell

Russell Haswell

Haswell and Haino

Haswell and Haino

I can’t get started


I might have bought this just for the cover but I forgot to look at the record condition before I handed over 59p at my favourite local charity shop. Just about any version of ‘I Can’t Get Started’ is worth a listen but when I slipped this disc out of the sleeve I found that someone had made a fairly determined effort to render the A-side unplayable.


I tried some mild solvent but this adhesive tape glue was ancient and immovable. I had just changed the stylus on my deck so still had the old one…it seemed like too good an opportunity to waste…

Return to the Found Tapes


I was thinking about making a mix from the cassettes that I photographed in a previous post. The first box I lifted out was this one. According to the notes on the sleeve, one side has 5 tracks by Free (+ Layla) and the other is a selection of songs by Brian Ferry and Roxy Music. I wasn’t sure of my strategy for making a mix but thought I would just listen and work it out as I went along. The ‘Free’ side – Side 1 – has a couple of songs then the music cuts out to be replaced by what follows. This is an edited version. I have taken lots out (including a burst of the aforementioned Layla) but I have not put anything else in. I have not yet listened to all of Side 2 though it begins with ‘Where do you go to my lovely’…

Atomic Bomb! play the music of William Onyeabor. Meltdown, Royal Festival Hall.

Charles Lloyd

Charles Lloyd

My second big band experience of the week after the Arkestra  at Cafe Oto on Monday night. This time round, virtually the whole audience was on its feet 2 numbers in…something I have not witnessed before at the RFH. The sound here could never compare with the intimate clarity of the Arkestra at Oto but there was certainly an electric atmosphere to the proceedings as guest stars did their turns to wildly enthusiastic response from the dancing masses. But who were these guest stars? Introductions were lost in the aural blur of the sound system…I got Charles Lloyd (who played a wonderful solo introduction on sax), Alexis Taylor and David Byrne but other names escaped me…maybe all will be revealed by others in the days to come. Not really a night for drawing; here are two from early on and a photograph of the entrance of the 200 piece choir during the finale…

Atomic Bomb!

Atomic Bomb!


Line up update:


David Byrne

Amadou and Mariam

Charles Lloyd

Sarah Jones

Money Mark

Alexis Taylor

Mahotella Queens

Voicelab Choir

Moses Sumney

Sun Ra Arkestra, Cafe Oto, 17. viii. 15

A wonderful earful at Cafe Oto…

Marshall Allen on alto saxophone.

Marshall Allen on alto saxophone.

Tyler Mitchell on double bass and unknown pianist.

Tyler Mitchell on double bass and , on piano, George Burton.

Michael ray (?) on trumpet.

Cecil Brooks on trumpet.

Michael Ray (?) on trumpet.

Cecil Brooks on trumpet.

Dave Davis - trombone.

Dave Davis – trombone.

Drawings on a 1939 copy of the British Red Cross Society Nursing Manual no. 2, 1939, 5th edition. Good semi-gloss paper surface.

From a distance

The last time I posted a sound file it was from Prague via New York and I thought it benefitted from a bit of intervention in the form of added echo. This one has its origins in Romania but needs no effects. Recorded some time in the 60s (I think) and put out on the state record label Electrecord this seems to be a folk song from the Cindrel Mountains and is sung by Ana Pop-Corondan. There are 4 tracks on the record but the others are swamped in orchestration and sound banal in comparison to the sparse arrangement of this song. Listening to it, the music jumped out at me as something quite unlike anything else I have heard. The title (Cînd Era Badea-n Cindrel) comes out in various forms using online translation tools and none of them make sense: ‘He was Uncle-n Cindrel’, ‘When was Badea-n Cindrel’ and ‘When was B-n Cindrel’.

The copy I bought in Oxfam came with this cover:


On Discogs it is shown with this rather more exciting sleeve:


Ana Pop-Corondan died in 2005 and there is not much information about her on the net.