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Trace - Boomkat

John Butcher

This new John Butcher release on the Tapeworm cassette label features two distinct works from the legendary Brit improvisor, the first (on the A-side) capturing a concert recorded last October at L'Eglise Saint-Merri in Paris, featuring unaccompanied tenor and soprano saxophone solo work, the second (on the B-side) taking more of an abstract and intimate feel.
This latter piece, titled More Of An Urge Than An Idea merges sax, controlled feedback and piano, all seemingly played simultaneously by Butcher in an act of elaborate, one-man-band style autonomy. Across nearly twenty minutes, Butcher coaxes some incredible sounds from his horn - sustaining deep, resonant tides of feedback tonality, whilst intermittently harmonising or punctuating all this with the subtlest of piano keyings. Through certain stretches you'll even encounter some ear-defying percussive runs; it's extraordinary stuff.

In the light of such innovations the A-side's concert recordings could easily seem comparatively humdrum, but in the fine tradition of fellow experimental soloists such as Evan Parker, Butcher's performance is filled with clever melodic developments and ferocious explorations of overtones. The natural reverb of the Church setting further adds to to the power of the document and late into the set, Butcher's staccato, quack-like voicings play off the performance space's acoustics. Trace is quite some album, and certainly one of Tapeworm's most memorable outings to date.

© Boomkat