Resonant Spaces

Resonant Spaces by John Butcher
Bandcamp Link: Resonant Spaces

This is a recent reissue of an album Butcher recorded in 2006 while on tour in Scotland.

The “Resonant Spaces” of the title are varied, from the interior of an old Military Fuel tank (with a 15 second echo) to a piece recorded at the Standing Stones of Stenness on the Orkney mainland, but all the environments are notable in the pieces, shaping Butcher’s choices and providing shapes for him to interact with.

“Wind Piece” recorded outdoors at the Standing Stones is particularly nice. Birds chirp, the wind blows across the mic, and Butcher’s sax at first is almost indistinguishable from the environmental sounds.

“Close by, a waterfall” is also nice, perhaps recorded in a cave near a waterfall, as other tourists, and the waterfall, babble in the background.

Some of the pieces utilize amplified sax and the variation of feedback produced by manipulating the resonant cavity of both the sax and the environment.

Though, lest you think it is all peaceful sound field and environmental work, the torrent of notes which fills the second half of “Calls from a Rusty Cage” is particularly impressive in its speed and the fact that he doesn’t appear to take a breath for the duration of about 3 1/2 minutes. Circular breathing, I know, but the fierceness of this section, taking into account circular breathing, is notable.

A fine piece of work from Mr Butcher that manages to straddle being both meditative at points and at other times invigorating.

#John Butcher #ResonantSpaces #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Tangle

Tangle by John Butcher, Thomas Lehn, Matthew Shipp.
Bandcamp Link: Tangle

Saxophones/Feedback, Analogue Synthesizer, and Piano, respectively.

After the last set I played at Doors That Open in Silence, someone asked me if I had listened to John Butcher and Thomas Lehn’s work together, as I was mining sort of similar territory with feedback from mic’d saxophone running back into processing with digital effects. While I was familiar with them separately, I hadn’t heard their work together.

So I quickly added their couple albums together to my bandcamp wishlist!

This is the first one I have had a chance to listen to, recorded live at the Cafe Oto in London, in 2014.

It’s a pretty great record, by turns noisy, tender, and abstract. It is quite interesting to hear “analogue sythesizer” used as an actual instrument in a live improvised setting. Matthew Shipp is sort of the straight man here to Butcher and Lehn’s jokers, but he provides a grounding force that keeps things from flying off too far into the stratosphere.

And I can see why my compatriot mentioned Lehn and Butcher’s work to me. Something to aspire to!

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #JohnButcher #ThomasLehn #MatthewShipp #Tangle