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Release date: 21 June 2024

HYPERROMANTIC is a radical take on Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto Op.64 of 1844 (often abbreviated to MenCon in Japanese concert shorthand) from soloist Chihiro Ono and experimental music-theatre ensemble ARCO.

Whilst the solo part remains totally intact and faithful, the ensemble is a diverse array of classical players, improvisers, sound artists, and academics each navigating their way through the score, and pulling one another in unpredictable, incongruous directions. ‘Mistakes' or ‘errors’ are subsumed into a greater undulating landscape. But crucially, the performance still somehow sounds and feels like the Mendelssohn of old. The Romantics understood nostalgia as a sickness or a mania to be cured, but lately nostalgia has felt culturally pervasive. Retro music genres and videogames, rebooted TV shows and movies, the kitsch and the kawaii, all warm blankets to wrap ourselves uncritically in. Maybe the music on this album is both relishing and challenging that, pitting 18th and 19th century classical instruments against 1980s synths, MacBook Pros, live contemporary musicology, and carpentry tools.

The release is balanced out by an evil doppelgänger of a set by the improvising trio Schopenhauer. Although separated by a clear century, the aroma of Romantic affects, sensibilities, and manias seemed hyper-relevant to the modern metropolitan human; warped into new aesthetic perversions. Schopenhauer’s music coughs up ‘bleeding chunks’ of Wagner (both recorded and live) in a kind of audio mulch that’s hard to prise apart, a Freudian dredging of it all.

ARCO is an experimental music-theatre company based in London and directed by Neil Luck. They make new work for diverse contexts and audiences. Chihiro Ono is a London based Japanese violinist specialising in Baroque, Classical, Contemporary, New, Experimental musics, as well as folkloric, noise, improvisation, field recording and the art of sounds. Schopenhauer is a trio that specialises in tasteless expressionist  improvisations, dark dialectics, banal conservatism and trashy late-romantic kitsch. The album was recorded live at Cafe OTO with support from Arts Council England.

Chihiro Ono violin
ARCO ensemble / Neil Luck director
Federico Reuben live electronics
Adam de la Cour voice/guitar
Tom Jackson clarinets



Recorded live by Billy Steiger at Cafe Oto, Dalston, May 2022
Produced by Andy Fell, Neil Luck, Chihiro Ono

Release date: 21 June 2024
Catalogue number: BRC25