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John Butcher: The Geometry of Sentiment

Glenn Astarita By

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No task seems too mighty or unattainable for consummate improviser, saxophonist John Butcher. On this venture, the artist embarks upon a solo flight captured at various European and Japanese locations, spanning museums and music venues. Performing on tenor and soprano saxophones, he employs amplified/feedback on two cuts, where he shines as a polytonal sound machine of sorts.

It's a study in contrasts, where Butcher morphs minimalism with heated phrasings to convey a myriad of emotively-charged parables. On the opener titled "First Zizoku, which is a piece recorded at a Japanese museum, he uses the echo-chamber sonic attributes to his advantage via zigzagging exclamations and oscillating trills. Here and on other works, the saxophonist sports an angular gait, teeming with popping notes and split-tones. He generates a sequence of neural sparks that present notions of a jittery and somewhat volatile state of affairs while also rendering steely-edged and mind-bending phrasings.

Butcher sustains interest throughout by intimating the implications of the album moniker via a cavalcade of disparate angles. During the piece dedicated to the late, great guitar improviser Derek Bailey, "But More So (for Derek Bailey), he exploits the tonal capacity of his sax with creaky-toned notes. Yet it's all a testament to Butcher's ingenuity and scope, which surfaces throughout the entire realm of this all-encompassing and, at times, mystifying foray.

Track Listing: First Zizoku; Second Zizoku; A Short Time To Sing; But More So (for Derek Bailey); Action Theory Blues; Soft Logic; Tr

Personnel: John Butcher: tenor or soprano saxophone; amplified / feedback (3, 6).

Title: The Geometry Of Sentiment | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Emanem

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