"In the hands of John Butcher, the saxophone can sound like anything, from a piece of hollowed out brass baubled with pads and valves to an hermetically sealed feedback system, a miniature sound environment teeming with ever-evolving note-forms, or a huge echo chamber inflicting dub scale damage on every breath.
The first half of the CD provides some particularly hallucinatory perspectives. The Oya Stone Museum was originally a working mine and it now consists of a series of enormous resonant chambers cut clean from the rock face. “From the first note I could almost physically feel the sound hanging in the air,” Butcher recalls. “lf solo improvising is to make any sense it has to respond to the particular acoustic of wherever you're playing. It's your partner, and it tests the flexibility, the usability, of your own language.
The Oya concert makes for some very deep listening, with Butcher loosing darts of single notes and long oscillating currents deep into the bowels of the building only to hear them rebound as bat calls and foghorns. As the performance unravels, he starts to work real-time layers of overlapping call and response into a weave of ectoplasmic forms.
The Tokyo club date, alongside no-input mixing board operative Toshimaru Nakamura, forms the 19 minute duet that caps the new CD. Butcher engages with the gulf of Nakamura's almost-sounds with shrill, sibilant hisses, squeaky balloon tones and luminous single notes that swell on the horizon like pregnant suns."
WIRE - David Keenan.
released July 8, 2017
Live in Japan.
1, 2, 3, 4: John Butcher solo saxophone - Oya Stone Museum 2002.
5: John Butcher (tenor sax) Toshimaru Nakamura (no-input mixing board) - Super Deluxe 2004.
Recording by Tetuzi Akiyama.
Cover photo by Osamu Enomoto.