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Butcher, John

Resonant Spaces [VINYL]

Butcher, John: Resonant Spaces [VINYL] (Blume)

Extreme acoustic space recordings from saxophonist John Butcher, part of Arika's Resonant Spaces event, with performances from resonant and remote corners of Scotland.

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product information:

UPC: 769791966956

Label: Blume
Catalog ID: BLUME 006LP
Squidco Product Code: 24726

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: Italy
Packaging: LP
Recorded by Ruari Cormack in Scotland and Orkney, June 2006: 20th-Standing Stones of Tenness, Orkney Mainland; 21st - Lyness Oil Tank, Hoy; 23rd - Smoo Cave, Durness; 25th - Tugnet Iced House, Spey Bay; 28th - Wormit Reservoir, Fife; 29th - Hamilton Mausoleum, South Lanarkshire.


John Butcher-feedback tenor, feedback soprano, acoustic soprano, amplified/feedback soprano, acoustic/amplified/feedback soprano

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Artist Biographies:

"John Butcher's work ranges through improvisation, his own compositions, multitracked pieces and explorations with feedback and extreme acoustics.Originally a physicist, he left academia in '82, and has since collaborated with hundreds of musicians - Derek Bailey, John Tilbury, John Stevens, The EX, Akio Suzuki, Gerry Hemingway, Polwechsel, Gino Robair, Rhodri Davies, Okkyung Lee, John Edwards, Toshi Nakamura, Paul Lovens, Eddie Prevost, Mark Sanders, Christian Marclay, Otomo Yoshihide, Phil Minton, and Andy Moor - to name a few.

He is well known as a solo performer who attempts to engage with the uniqueness of place. Resonant Spaces is a collection of site-specific performances collected during a tour of unusual locations in Scotland and the Orkney Islands.His first solo album, Thirteen Friendly Numbers, includes compositions for multitracked saxophones, whilst later solo CDs focus on live performance, composition, amplification and saxophone-controlled feedback.

HCMF has twice commissioned him to compose for his own large ensembles. Other commissions include for Elision (Australia), the Rova (USA) & Quasar (Canada) Saxophone Quartets, reconstructed Futurist Intonarumori (USA), "Tarab Cuts" (based on pre-WWII Arabic recordings, and shortlisted for the 2014 British Composer's Award) and "Good Liquor .." for the London Sinfonietta. In 2011 he received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists.

Recent groupings include The Apophonics with Robair and Edwards, Anemone with Peter Evans, Plume with Tony Buck & Magda Mayas and a trio with Okkyung Lee & Mark Sanders.Butcher values playing in occasional encounters - ranging from large groups such as Butch Morris' London Skyscraper and the EX Orkestra, to duo concerts with David Toop, Kevin Drumm, Claudia Binder, Paal Nilssen-Love, Thomas Lehn, Fred Frith, Keiji Haino, Ute Kangeisser, Matthew Shipp and Yuji Takahashi."

-John Butcher Website (

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track listing:


1. Sympathetic Magic (Stone) 7:49

2. Calls From A Rusty Cage 7:28

3. Wind Piece 3:09

4. Floating Cult 6:15


1. Close By, A Waterfall 6:10

2. New Scapa Flow 6:19

3. Styptic 3:24

4. Frost Piece 2:17

5. Sympathetic Magic (Metal) 5:49
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The first vinyl issue of John Butcher's Resonant Spaces, originally released on CD in 2008.

More than a half century into its development, free improvisation remains nearly impossible to define. Of course there are concrete definitions, canons, and well-trod paths -- familiar idioms, structures, relationships, textures, and tones, but by its very nature -- something free, when practiced with faith, it is elusive, constantly shifting, and reforming in the hands of those who call the art form their own. Of the improvisers emerging from the remarkable European contexts over the last four decades, few demand the respect, or have plumbed the depths of the English saxophonist John Butcher. An entirely singular voice, since appearing on the scene during the late 1970s and early '80s, Butcher has continuously defied and shattered standing presumptions of his form.

Exemplifying this, there may be no better example than a series of solo performances recorded on a lonely tour of remote areas of Scotland with Akio Susuki during 2006. Entitled Resonant Spaces, the album stands as one of his most ambitious, radical, and revelatory bodies of work. Across the '80s and '90s, he performed with the lion's share of Britain's leading lights: Derek Bailey, Phil Minton, John Russell, Phil Durrant, Steve Beresford, and countless others. It was during this period that he began to develop the trajectories for which he is often most recognized: solo performances, capitalizing on resonance, overtone, and space. Resonant Spaces is the fruit born of decades of work; a rare product of artistry, seeming to have simply appeared -- an organic disembodied form.

Astounding on nearly every count -- miles from the social unrest from which this idiom was born -- an uncharted meditative realm -- a towering body of creativity and tone. Recorded in the wilds of Scotland against Neolithic standing stones, within an emptied oil storage tank, and caves, like all free improvisations, Resonant Spaces is a conversation, but one unlike others before. Where musicians working in ensembles and groups, shift, adapt, and respond to those with whom they share the stage, Butcher's conversation is with the unexpected responses of a given space and the returned transmogrified body of his creative self. A shimmering world of resonance, ambience, structure, and craft."-Blume

"The recordings on this disc were made as part of Arika's Resonant Spaces event, a touring project that we ran in summer 2006. Visiting spaces which displayed extreme acoustic properties we asked John Butcher (and sound artist Akio Suzuki) to be informed by the acoustic space they found themselves in. Around the more remote corners of Scotland we presented performances in sites with specific acoustic properties: standing stone circles, a WWII military fuel storage tank, a sea cave, an ice-house, an abandoned reservoir and a mausoleum. (Barry Esson, Arika)"-John Butcher

Also available on CD.
Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
European Improvisation and Experimental Forms
John Butcher
Electro-Acoustic Improv
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Free Improvisation
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Solo Artist Recordings
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Immediate Landscapes
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Common Objects: Butcher / Davies / Davies / Patterson
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(Relative Pitch)
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Butcher / Durrant / Lee
AMM w/ John Butcher
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Butcher / Muller / van der Schyff
Way Out Northwest
(Drip Audio)
Butcher, John
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Spin Networks
Sandell Trio, Sten / Butcher, John
(Clean Feed)
Butcher, John / Nilssen-Love, Pal
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Butcher, John / Kurzmann, Christof
The Big Misunderstanding Between Hertz and Megahertz
Butcher / Charles / Dorner - The Contest of Pleasures
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Archives of the North
Butcher, John
13 Friendly Numbers
Butcher / Durrant / Lovens /Malfatti / Russell
News From The Shed
London Improvisers Orchestra
Responses, Reproduction & Reality (freedom of the city 2003-4)
Moor / Lehn / Butcher
Minton, Phil Quartet
Mouthfull of Ecstasy
(Les Disques Victo)
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