All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

2

John Butcher, Thomas Lehn, Matthew Shipp: Tangle

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Recorded at Café Oto in February 2014, on the first night of pianist Matthew Shipp's three-day residency at the venue, Tangle is the first recording of the trio of saxophonist John Butcher and synthesiser player Thomas Lehn with Shipp. (The YouTube clip, below, was filmed on the night in question.) Typically, there were previous links between the three, with evidence being available on past Fataka releases; Butcher and Lehn had first collaborated as far back as 1996 and, in June 2012, the two had recorded with John Tilbury as captured on Exta (Fataka, 2013); at a previous Shipp residency at Oto, in 2010, he and Butcher had played as a duo for the first time , as heard on At Oto (Fataka, 2012). Lehn and Shipp seem to have had no previous contact prior to this date, though.

The music consists of four tracks, totalling just over forty-three minutes, so they probably represent an entire set by the trio. The first three tracks, together entitled "Cluster," play seamlessly as one continuous piece which takes up the lion's share of the album, with the six-minute "Tiefenschärfe" rounding it off. "Cluster" begins in subdued fashion, with Shipp playing a series of chords so formally that one might suspect this to be a notated composition by the pianist; however, the sleeve credits all three members for the piece, usually a sure sign of an improvisation. Alongside Shipp, Lehn's synthesiser acts as a welcome anarchic element, interjecting occasional beats, clicks and glitches that complement the piano.

When Butcher enters on saxophone, a couple of minutes in, things rapidly shift onto more familiar improv territory, with the sax and piano exchanging phrases while the synth finds plenty of space to comment without detracting from them. Once Butcher has found his feet, his playing becomes noticeably freer and he soon cuts loose and blows, bringing a similar reaction from Shipp. In fact, the dynamic between Butcher and Shipp resembles that on At Oto where, through subtle musical negotiation, they found common ground on which they were both comfortable.

The end result is a model of trio improvisation in that all three seem constantly aware of the others' playing, so that each contribution from any of the three has an obvious effect. Changes of mood or tempo do not happen at the behest of any one player but evolve organically from the playing of all three. The music is at its most thrilling when all three are playing full-on together—but even then, it never becomes, um, tangled. Just as impressive are the more measured, ensemble passages. If, as we must hope, this trio records together again, they should not name the group after this album!


Track Listing: Cluster I; Cluster II; Cluster III; Tiefenschärfe.

Personnel: John Butcher: saxophone, feedback; Thomas Lehn: analogue synthesiser; Matthew Shipp: piano.

Title: Tangle | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Fataka

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Building a Jazz Library
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
Read more articles
Into Darkness

Into Darkness

Iluso Records
2018

buy
So Beautiful, It Starts to Rain

So Beautiful, It...

Clean Feed Records
2017

buy
Last Dream at the Morning

Last Dream at the...

Relative Pitch Records
2017

buy
Tangle

Tangle

Fataka
2016

buy
So Beautiful, It Starts To Rain

So Beautiful, It...

Clean Feed Records
2016

buy
 

Plume

Challenge Jazz
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Fearless And Kind CD/LP/Track Review
Fearless And Kind
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Any Day Now CD/LP/Track Review
Any Day Now
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Adrift CD/LP/Track Review
Adrift
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Folkjazz from Finland CD/LP/Track Review
Folkjazz from Finland
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Circulate Susanna CD/LP/Track Review
Circulate Susanna
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "Meltdown (Live in Mexico City)" CD/LP/Track Review Meltdown (Live in Mexico City)
by John Kelman
Published: October 13, 2018
Read "Oneiric Sounds" CD/LP/Track Review Oneiric Sounds
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 12, 2018
Read "Terrestrial" CD/LP/Track Review Terrestrial
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2018
Read "Kurrent" CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "UpRoot" CD/LP/Track Review UpRoot
by John Sharpe
Published: May 4, 2018
Read "Hotel California: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Hotel California: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017