John Butcher: Fixations (14) - Solo Saxophone 1997-2000
So the pursuit of a new musical vocabulary and style dominates each solo saxophone exploration on Fixations. Butcher is quite eager to take a simple idea and gradually build it through time and space until it acquires special meaning. His gentle exhalations at the start of "Third Bottle," for example, hover at the extreme lower end of audibility. However, they gradually acquire texture and body until the bubbling froth assumes tonal character, then progresses to a bird-like timbre, then oscillates into labyrinthian note flurries that defy conventional rules of order.
The other improvisations on Fixations reflect a similar inspiration and spirit, though they differ dramatically in organization and tone. Butcher's sound (especially on the soprano saxophone) tends to be deliberate, understated, and delicate. Though he makes plenty use of extended techniques on this record, you'll find no extroverted Aylerisms here. Fixations is improvised solo chamber music, carefully measured and explored with an ear for coherence and lyricism. In light of the great volcanic explosiveness of many of today's free improvisers, John Butcher offers a reminder that subtlety has an equally important role to play in improvisation.
Track Listing: Woodland Drift; First Bottle; Second Bottle; Third Bottle; Last Bottle; The Train and the Gate, part 1; The Train and the Gate, part 2; Robusta; Liberica; Almost New; Nearly Art; Sinking Down; Flag a Ride; Clarence.
Personnel: John Butcher: soprano and tenor saxophones.
Record Label: Emanem