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Incus catalogue set for digital reissue via Cafe Oto

Recordings from the foundational UK improvisation label now available for download via London venue’s OTOroku label

London's Cafe Oto has announced major plans to digitise and sell downloads of the catalogue of foundational UK improvisation label Incus.

The label, originally set up by Derek Bailey, Tony Oxley, Evan Parker and Michael Walters, released its first record The Topography Of The Lungs in 1970. It was accompanied by a manifesto: "The bulk of the revenue from any Incus recording will go directly to the musicians. Once the basic cost of each record is recovered, thus providing the finance for the next, the vast bulk of all income will be paid in royalties to the artists. Incus has no intention of making profits in the conventional sense."

Incus went on to release over 100 albums spanning the leading players of the free improvisation community in the UK and beyond, and continued to be run by Bailey and Parker until the two parted ways in the mid-1980s. Karen Brookman-Bailey has tended the label after Bailey’s death in 2005.

Cafe Oto’s OTOroku label has been in dialogue with Brookman-Bailey for several years about making its extensive archive of recordings, many of which are out of print, available once again. Work is already ongoing to offer downloads of the CD catalogue, with the two Derek Bailey and Han Bennink Post Improvisation albums from 1999 available now. Further albums in the pipeline include Eugene Chadbourne & John Zorn’s In Memory Of Nikki Arane, Alex Ward & Steve Noble’s Ya Boo, Reel And Rumble, and Derek Bailey’s solo disc Takes, Fakes And Dead She Dances. OTOroku have future plans for LP transfers from the Incus catalogue.

Recordings will be released over the coming few months over on the Café OTO shop, and are available in both MP3 and Flac format.