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Experiments with a Leaf

by Andy Moor & John Butcher

Five Eyes 03:40


Originally released on CD from Unsounds

JOHN BUTCHER: saxophones
ANDY MOOR: guitars

"In the world of free improvisation—that is, improvising with no particular genre in mind—players can sometimes fall back on a “bag of tricks” with various techniques or instant strategies to keep things moving along. So, it’s refreshing to hear a musician who can always surprise and impress, even with a familiarity of that performer’s musical personality.
One such musician is British saxophonist John Butcher, who not only has a virtuosic command of his instrument but also has a seemingly infinite palette with which to work.

On the new album Experiments with a Leaf, recorded live in a cathedral in Switzerland in October 2013, Butcher and electric guitarist Andy Moor both provoke each other yet mostly work toward synthesis, building new sounds that complement each other in complex, stimulating and satisfying ways.
Moor is best known as a member of the Dutch post-punk band The Ex, and that band’s fruitful collaborations with Ethiopian saxophonist Getatchew Mekurya are one example of how versatile Moor can be.
On “Fantasy Downsize,” Moor accompanies Butcher’s fluttering bird noises with woozy low notes and scratches before he stabs with harmonics and atonal mini-blasts; the mood is one of playful and curious confusion, with kissing noises and the tense wringing of notes.

“Joy is the Headlight” begins with bright flashes of sax melodies before scurrying away from recognizable, hummable tunes using frantic runs; the track ends with a half-minute of chilling near- silence to cleanse the palate, with barely audible sounds of what sounds like dangling strings rustling.

On the 11-minute “The Tongue Is a Flame,” Moor uses a slide and alternates between low buzzes and inebriated high notes, and later, he generates ambient tones while Butcher’s desperate squawks reverberate gloriously in the cathedral space; notably, Butcher also manages to make his saxophone sound exactly like amplifier feedback."


released June 29, 2021

"zoom in" festival, Munster, Berne, Switzerland - 26 October 2013
Recorded by Fabio Oehrli
Cover photo by Andy Moor taken at the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium
Thanks to Christian Kobi
Unsounds 48


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John Butcher London, UK

Improviser, Composer, Saxophonist.
Born in Brighton.
Lives in London.

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