This album documents guitarist Fred Frith and saxophonist John Butcher's first head-to-head encounter in a recording studio, two titans of their instruments playing without overdubs in a single session for remarkable creative and sonic results.
Frith, Fred / John Butcher
The Natural Order
Label: Northern Spy
Released in: USA
"Guitarist Fred Frith and saxophonist John Butcher are titans within the world of improvised music. Over the last four decades, each of these two men has permanently altered the way in which his instrument is heard: Frith with his (at times literal) deconstruction of the electric guitar, and Butcher with his exploration of the physical properties of sound and extended playing techniques.
Though they've played live together a few times, The Natural Order, recorded in 2009 and mixed in 2012, documents Frith and Butcher's first head-to-head encounter in a recording studio. The album is as pure a document as possible: recorded in a single stretch, with no overdubbing, the 10 tracks appear here in the order of their creation.
Their goals were somewhat different-Frith says he wanted "to see what would happen. To have fun. To deepen the conversation," while Butcher had more specific results in mind: "A thing that's characterised a fair bit of my duo encounters with Fred is working at (for me) high volume. And I really wanted to get into, to go with, the energy of that-but without travelling to some of the overdone places where power often pushes a saxophone."
Indeed, some portions of The Natural Order do get quite loud; "Dance First, Think Later" may remind some listeners of Borbetomagus, while the album's longest track, the 13-minute "Colour of an Eye Half Seen," heads into territory somewhere between free jazz and drone metal. Other, quieter segments, like the middle portion of "Faults of His Feet," or the aptly titled "Butterflies of Vertigo," document the sensitive interplay of two men who've utterly mastered their instruments, yet continually seek to express something new and never before heard.
The Natural Order is as pure a document as possible: recorded in a single stretch, with no overdubbing, the 10 tracks appear here in the order of their creation. Butcher recalls, "It was a morning session, the day after I'd arrived from London. So I was a bit jet-lagged. It was good to be using a studio and engineer (Myles Boisen) I felt comfortable with. (I first went there in '97.) Everything was set up and we could, near enough, just start playing."
Listening to the music for the first time in five years, Frith says, "Recording and performance are so different to experience. In this case I can identify moments of discovery and self-discovery in the exchange that are really exciting to revisit. I think we both adjusted our vocabularies to accommodate what we were hearing, and did so in a spirit of absolute openness and freedom. Which is the way it's supposed to be."
The Natural Order is the perfect title for this album, which captures a single hour of unmediated interaction between two restless, creative spirits determined to make every moment with their respective instruments count. It's not jazz, it's not rock, it's not noise-it's pure music, the product of two men in one place at one time, unique and unrepeatable."-Northern Spy
Related Categories of Interest:
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
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Shipping Weight: 3.00 units
Quantity in Basket: None
Label: Northern Spy
Catalog ID: NS 060
Squidco Product Code: 19768
Recorded at Guerilla Recordings in Oakland, California on October 11th, 2009 by Myles Boison.
Fred Frith-electric guitar
John Butcher-soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
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1. That Unforgettable Line 2:34
2. Delirium Perhaps 3:46
3. Dance First, Think Later 3:30
4. Faults of His Feet 6:29
5. Colour of an Eye Half Seen 13:31
6. Turning Away in Time 3:02
7. The Welts, the Squeaks, the Belts, the Shrieks 3:05
8. Butterflies of Vertigo 4:38
9. Be Again, Be Again 5:30
10. Accommodating the Mess 8:56