Friday, November 10, 2006

Lieux Communs : John Butcher solo

The second solo is by John Butcher. The concert is divided in two parts: tenor then soprano.
I have to say my favorite part was by far the first section where Butcher starts with a powerful agitated improvisation on atonal scales often exploding the notes with multiphonics or giving them a granulated texture. Shades of jazz, deconstructed, dislocated, shaky, with a powerful sound enabled by his masterful blowing that draws for his stomach up to his throat and mouth. The movement culminates into a long circular breathing topped with his unique multiphonics that was personally one of my first crazes in improvised music years ago. Brilliant.
At this point, and for the first time in my experience Butcher uses amplification on his sax, playing on close-micking effects. The result was severely anecdotal, often the process would turn into accidental feedback and the volume was never ideal, later on Butcher admitted that he has not yet found a way to master this method in a live setting.
He then switches to soprano with the same amplification, more effective, but again I don't see the interest in it appart from a few sections with high pitches reaching an almost aquatic quality with a significant enhancement of the sound. The concert ends with a "ballad" type soprano improvisation, kind of a distant homage to Steve Lacy, bits of Evan Parker, and again the destructured scales on which Butcher is totally at ease. The softness of the "ballad" then wares off to some more intense playing, but I hardly find my way back into the music.
At least one thing I have to recognise is that every one of his solo performances that I have seen is completely different, which requires a certain amount of risk taking that sometimes pays off, sometimes not.


Blogger illusion of progress said...


It sounds like there are some nice concerts happening these days in Paris. Thank you keeping me updated on these events. Tonight I will play a concert with Axel, Fred Lonberg-Holm and Raymond Strid after the memorial for Malachi. See you next week.

5:45 AM  

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