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2018 Repress. Finally reissued, one of the key recordings in the development of free improvisation and originally the first release on Incus, the label founded by Evan Parker, Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley to document the music. Outstanding deluxe vinyl edition of one of the most iconic free improv LP ever made, a landmark album in the British avant garde.
Liner notes by Evan Parker (for the 2014 re-issue):‘The Topography of the Lungs’ was the first recording I made as a "leader" - in the somewhat antiquated terminology of the times. What this means in simple terms is that I set up the date and invited Han and Derek to participate - after that it was a matter of open interaction.
The original notes make clear my enthusiasm for the work that Derek Bailey and Han Bennink had done as a duo and it was good of them to share their discoveries with me. It was the first release on Incus, a label that I set up with Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley with financial assistance from music journalist Michael Walters. No accurate history of Incus Records has yet been written. After parting company and when the conditions of my agreement with Derek Bailey had been met, it was issued as a CD, thanks to Martin Davidson, on my label psi.
Musicians of my generation were very happy when the CD superseded the LP. I remember clearly the initial argument that CD was an elitist format... Times and attitudes have changed and the LP has made a serious return, especially in the documentation of marginal musics. OTOroku is run by and, perhaps, largely for, a new generation of listeners who have an affection for the LP format that reminds me of my youth.
I am very happy that a label associated with one of the most important music venues in London is overseeing this release.
I often travel along Dawes Road in Fulham and pass the building where the recording was made. It is on the first floor by a bus stop and was a small space with a dead acoustic, probably ideal for making low-budget rock demos, which encouraged very analytical listening.
The engineer, Bob Woolford, was not shocked by what we were doing. On the contrary he was then, and remains, one of the great engineers, along with Adam Skeaping and Michael Gerzon who enjoyed the challenges of recording alternative musics.
In the intervening forty-odd years since its first release, the idealism of the original notes has been battered almost sense-less by the Neo-Liberal (Neo-Fascist would be a more accurate term) moves to global hegemony. I take heart from the environ-mental, Occupy and anti-war movements and would encourage all younger listeners to find a way to live their lives as far as possible without interference and control by decisions made in corporate boardrooms. May the music here give you energy and fuel your imaginations. EP (August, 2014)