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Requests And Antisongs represents a series of pieces performed by two prominent masters of the British improv scene, saxophonist John Butcher and violinist, electronics expert Phil Durrant. Yet here, Durrant often counters or parallels Butcher’s fragmented themes and lines by solely utilizing – live electronics and modular feedback.
With the opener, “Sheet Bends”, the listener should notice an eerie or perhaps subversive sense of tranquillity as matters gravitate towards some sort of alien dialogue between the two artists. On this piece, Durrant and Butcher engage their wares via persuasive interplay along with a dash of seemingly odd (yet all in good fun) behavior. Butcher, whether performing on tenor or soprano saxophone, implements delicately constructed themes that are marked by his penchant for exorcising shrieking lines, popping sounds and polytonal resonance amid throaty whispers or turbulent choruses which is evident on “Eye Splice” and elsewhere. In many instances, Durrant and Butcher pursue slightly distorted layers of sound yet their instruments are merely tools of expressionism and to some ideological extent, might be rendered inconsequential to the overall effect or imagery that might spur thoughts of social chaos. Far reaching? Perhaps, yet the folks at “Erstwhile Records” have provided adventure seekers with a catalogue of fine releases from distinguished and proven artists who seem infatuated with exploring new directions in music and sound. Hence, Requests And Antisongs is one of several discernible recordings that identifies these often trailblazing concepts. Recommended!
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.