Album Review

Butcher, John Group – “somethingtobesaid” – [Weight of Wax]

Thurston Hunger   7/21/2009   A Library, CD

Live improvisation from a pocket octet. Mostly subtle playing
with drags, scrapes and tone-drones to start. A reverbed
thump, connects to a ladder of guzheng zings. Butcher includes
very few pre-recordings that command attention, notably the
dictaphone dream about 40 seconds into the second track (all
tracks here are part of one piece). Something about the tone,
cadence of that voice helps launch a nice field of tension,
led by percussion by all, but the mighty Gino Robair at the
forefront. Chris Burn often floats a piano chord in at the
exact right moment to initiate a reset of the improvisers.
Is that Jack Kerouac deep in segment 5 popcorned and pitch
shifted? Segment 6 traces a Burn flurry piano solo over a
cracking glacier and then veering quadruple bass from John
Edwards and Adam Linson amd some simple but effective spin
outs from turntablist dieb13. Sputter sax by Butcher down low.
It’s not until segment 8 that the Butchery gets cooking and
his chops are hung out to flair. Segment 9 returns to the
dominant flavor of this, an icy murk. Eight players and
the ensemble does move with the coordinated grace and
solemn spook of a spider. A lot to this, including soap opera
organ on segment 6 that just now leapt out at me. At times
they capture the soul of a dot matrix printer, in a good way.
Butcher’s own label by the by…

-Thurston Hunger

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