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John Butcher, Thomas Lehn, John Tilbury: Lights


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John Butcher,  Thomas Lehn,  John Tilbury: Lights
Lights was recorded live at Cafe Oto, London, on May 26th 2016. It features the trio of John Butcher on saxophones, German-born Thomas Lehn on analogue synthesizer and John Tilbury on piano. If the line-up looks familiar, that may be because the same trio had recorded a studio album Exta at City University Music Studio in June 2012, the album also being released on Fataka. In addition, in February 2016, a trio of Butcher, Lehn and pianist Matthew Shipp recorded live at Cafe Oto, the resulting album Tangle being released on Fataka, in 2016. Of course, Butcher's links with Tilbury date at least as far back as his 2008 recording Trinity (Matchless) with AMM comprising Tilbury and Eddie Prevost (during Keith Rowe's temporary absence)—a recording which led to speculation that Butcher might join AMM.

So, the three players were familiar with each other and had experience of playing together. More than once, Tilbury had opined that some improvising players (no names mentioned) play for too long and do not pay enough attention to what others are playing. He had suggested that an improvising musician ought not to play for more than a third of the time available. True to his views, there are long periods when Tilbury does not play and, when he does, he plays sparse piano chords or single notes which are very atmospheric. While Butcher and Lehn's playing is louder than Tilbury's, it is just as restrained and atmospheric as the pianist's. Altogether, the three players' contributions fit together and complement each other perfectly. None of the three ever sounds as if he is playing too much or too loud. Throughout, all contributions can be heard loud and clear.

The album's four tracks, economically entitled "Pilot," "Flood," "Arc" and "Sky" to fit in with the album title, range in length from 7:43 to 18:31 and total 56 minutes. The album as a whole makes enthralling listening no matter how often it is repeated. It already has all the hallmarks of a future classic;

Track Listing

Pilot; Flood; Arc; Sky.


Additional Instrumentation

Thomas Lehn: analogue synthesiser.

Album information

Title: Lights | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Fataka



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