Monday, December 17, 2007

Abstract Index Playlist - December 12/07

The first time I heard John Butcher, I hated his sound. It seemed like a supremely introverted, unexciting jumble of spittle noises and half-hearted sighs through a soprano saxophone. At a Polwechsel show, the supremely minimal improv group of which Butcher is a member, I fell asleep. But I've kept listening to him over the years and have come around to his approach.

I've heard him in a very wide range of collaborations in which he's demonstrated his remarkable improvising skills. He seems to adapt to any setting, both stylistically and with his beyond-compare dynamic control. But what finally won me over were his good ol' listening skills; he establishes clear if oblique communication with any player, and often raises their game.

On this collection of solo pieces, he's rounded up recordings from around the world. The track heard this week was recorded in a cave in Japan, and, for a change, the reverb doesn't overwhelm the saxophone. There are about two minutes of this track which conatin some of the most ear-shredding high frequency pitches I've ever heard come from an acoustic instrument. This is contrasted with generous space between the blasts, and the tiniest flutters of almost-notes which explore the 'verb in an entirely different way. Elsewhere he experiments with feedback to great effect, pun intended. As usual his phrasing and melodic sense barely touches on jazz at all, the listener has to surrender themself to Butcher's personal sound universe. I'm no expert on this JB, but this disc is easily among my favourite work of his.

Hour 1 Podcast
Hour 2 Podcast

broken home - harlem river drive (roulette)
sun cycles - nicole mitchell/black earth ensemble (delmark)
wallou - guelewar band (syllart)
belema - opotopo (soundway)
musikana - harari (counterpoint)
do you feel it? - ohio players (westbound)
angela jeanette - juba dance (audio 8)
deja - sidestepper (palm pictures)
coro miyare - fania allstars (caliente)
first zizoku - john butcher (emanem)
let's carve together forever - fond of tigers (drip audio)
man and dog - tony wilson/peggy lee/jon bentley (drip audio)
melina's bath pt. 2 & 3 - rembetika hipsters (socrates pizza)
spanish alpha - mossman (dispensation)
mortar dub - dub trio (ipecac)
istanbul's secrets dub - up bustle and out (groove attack)
be not dismayed - daddy rings (groove attack)
don't think about me - horace andy/jah woosh (trojan)

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