Mark Sanders & John Butcher

Metro Al Medina, Beirut, Lebanon - 2019

Tarab Cuts

In 2014 Out of the Machine commisioned John Butcher to compose the hour long Tarab Cuts.
It’s origins lie in an earlier invitation from the Lebanese artist Tarek Atoui, who asked a number of composers to create short pieces for his "Visiting Tarab" project in New York (and later Sharjah).
The idea was to produce a modern day response to the pre-WWII Arabic music collection of Kamal Kassar of the AMAR Foundation in Beirut.

Butcher contributed "Between the Skies" - for  saxophones and sound files derived from edits of  Kassar's 78 rpm records.
Tarab Cuts expands this earlier work, utilising re-imaginings of many other recorded sources, and featuring percussionist Mark Sanders.

Live reviews:
Wire / 5:4 (Bristol) - Point of Departure (London)

Not just a ghostly meditation on nostalgia and the emphemeral nature of culture, it's also a carefully constructed investigation into the Arab concept of tarab, the merging of music and emotional transformation.
WIRE - Daniel Spicer

It is to the piece's credit that the union works to draw out and emphasise what was already modern and progressive in the Sufi originals, and what was already richly emotional in Sanders and Butcher's playing.
WIRE - Robert Barry

The Tarab Cuts LP is a precursor of the later  duo performance version. It includes a free DL code for Butcher & Sanders’ full set at the Holland Festival.

Side A  “Between the Skies” - Butcher’s solo piece devised for Tarek Atoui’s "Visiting Tarab” project.

Side B “Under the Walls” - Butcher’s reworking of other Arabic recordings in a composition for Mark Sanders.

© 2021