A Short Personal History of Takuroku 

Source: Cafe OTO.

When lockdown was announced, income dropped to zero not just for venues but for artists and others in the surrounding infrastructure of live music. Takuroku sprung up in response to provide some mutual support for those with shows that were cancelled, and people from their network. The direction was to try something new, with a minimum total running time of 20 minutes. The proceeds were split 50/50 with the artists and each release was priced at £6. The experiment was a success: there has been a batch of two or more releases almost every week since 13th May 2020, meaning that when the label is mothballed at the end of the month, it will have clocked up an impressive 196 releases. In this is both hope and horror – the passion and ability to act fast and well to keep the ship afloat, and sadness at what was lost and how long it has been since this tragedy began.

I’d love to say I’d listened to all the Takuroku releases, but 195 makes that impossible. However, looking back over what cut through the noise internal and external gave me pause to reflect on 18 months of the pandemic. I find I remember the state of things through what I listened to. I was at home doing jigsaws and drinking cocktails to @xcrswx; booking last minute pub tables to catch the football to Xenia Pestova; reacquainting myself with the bustle of public transport to Triple Negative. However, now Oto is open again, with soundwaves reverberating off its whitewashed walls, percolating in the wicker lamp and overwhelming the doof-doof from the rooftop bar above, it is time for TakuRoku to be put to bed. It is now somewhat obsolete, and those running it are needed elsewhere. Farewell, and thanks!