The White Spot by Way Out Northwest.
Label Website: The White Spot
Way Out Northwest is John Butcher on tenor and soprano saxophone, Torsten Müller on contrabass, and Dylan van der Schyff on drums.
If you’ve been reading these posts for a while, you will know that John Butcher specializes particularly in coaxing sounds from his saxophones which are unconventional. “Extended Technique” is often a term bandied about in “classical music” circles for producing non-conventional sounds from an instrument.
In the case of The White Spot, you are about 10 minutes in before you hear something like a saxophone sound you might normally hear on a “Jazz” album. And it doesn’t last long. “Extended Technique” seems like an understatement when applied to someone, like Butcher, who has so pointedly made creating a whole language of expression around finding new sounds from his horns.
Torsten Müller’s often bowed technique is a great match for Butcher, forcing him to react with pitch, rather than just texture. They both bounce unusual sounds back and forth between the two of them, while van der Schyff kicks around what sounds like a toolbox with a hammer and couple bells in it.
So, The White Spot isn’t “easy listening” or “smooth jazz”. But, it makes so much sense when listened to on its own terms, you forget, “Oh right, Saxophonists don’t normally play like that,” until you get caught listening to it by a friend or family member who doesn’t have the context. And, like my Dad said when he found me listening to Captain Beefheart’s “Ice Cream for Crow” in my bedroom during high school, they say, quizzically, “You enjoy listening to this?”
And, like I said to my Dad, way back when, I say to you now, “Why, yes I do, quite a lot.”
#WayOutNorthwest #TheWhiteRoom #JohnButcher #TorstenMüller #DylanvanderSchyff #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack