All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

567

John Butcher: The Geometry of Sentiment

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
A new John Butcher solo album always sends a shiver of anticipation down the spine. Given Butcher's impressive track record as a solo explorer, any new release is sure to contain stimulating, exciting music. And so it proves here, with 2007's The Geometry of Sentiment.

This music comes from five different dates between November 2004 and November 2006. More tellingly, it comes from five very different locations and playing situations. The two opening tracks were recorded on a return visit to Japan's Oya Stone Museum, the vast resonant space created by stone mining that was featured on Butcher's Cavern With Nightlife (Weight of Wax, 2002). On the first, Butcher plays with (in both senses) the echoes. Subtly varying their tone and attack, he allows time between his deliberate, measured phrases for the echoes to be heard—literally, playing with himself. Then, he is suddenly into a rapid-fire barrage of notes—sustained by circular breathing—that allows no space to hear the echoes, a duel for dominance between the sax and its own reflection. Butcher has pioneered the use of electronics in his playing, but here none are necessary, the cavern naturally providing similar effects to those that electronics can.

Even more experimental are two tracks on which Butcher does not blow through his saxophones, instead creating feedback and then playing it with the keys of his instruments. The end results do not sound much like saxophones, having a far colder, more brittle quality. As always with feedback, it is constantly on the verge of spiraling out of control, giving the pieces an edgy feel, like walking on a tightrope. Daredevil stuff.

Strangely, one of the more conventional pieces, "But More So,"is dedicated to the very far from conventional Derek Bailey. Of course, conventional is a relative term. The track sounds conventional in the context of this album, but for most other saxophonists it would be iconoclastic. The title of the piece refers to a comment from Bailey at a gig in the 1970s, where he was billed as playing blues guitar. During the opening piece, Bailey announced, "The music we'll be playing for the rest of the evening will be like this, but more so. Some of you might like to take the opportunity to leave now." A fitting tribute to the late, great.

The concluding track again shifts the scene, but links back to the opener. Recorded in Germany, inside the disused gasometer in Oberhausen. the vast space is even more resonant than the Stone Museum, with multiple echoes and a long delay time. Again the effect is similar to those created electronically, using loops, delays and multi-tracking. Butcher again demonstrates masterly restraint, enabling his playing to be enhanced by the acoustics, but also allowing the space to be heard to dramatic effect. He is playing the space even more than he is playing the sax. One could almost be inside that gasometer, so immediate is the sound.

A Butcher solo album is always a treat. This is well up to the usual high standard.


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

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
Catching Up With
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 Live! CD/LP/Track Review
Live!
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 19, 2018
Read My Favorite Things(1960-1969) CD/LP/Track Review
My Favorite Things(1960-1969)
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 19, 2018
Read The Acadian Orogeny CD/LP/Track Review
The Acadian Orogeny
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 19, 2018
Read Drift CD/LP/Track Review
Drift
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Journey Moments CD/LP/Track Review
Journey Moments
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Moku Maluhia - Peaceful Island CD/LP/Track Review
Moku Maluhia - Peaceful Island
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 18, 2018
Read "Second Act" CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read "Loneliness Road" CD/LP/Track Review Loneliness Road
by Doug Collette
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Lala Belu" CD/LP/Track Review Lala Belu
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 27, 2018
Read "A Tribute to Geri Allen" CD/LP/Track Review A Tribute to Geri Allen
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 1, 2018
Read "Platinum on Tap" CD/LP/Track Review Platinum on Tap
by Geannine Reid
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Freedom Of Speech" CD/LP/Track Review Freedom Of Speech
by Chris May
Published: April 27, 2018