CD Reviews, Vinyl Reviews

Two from John Butcher

March 24, 2013

Bell Trove Spools CD. Northern Spy Records Winter Gardens Vinyl. Kukuruku Recordings Music can obviously be many things to many people. The music that saxophonist John Butcher makes across these two solo albums will, to many, sound confusing. To others it will be a challenge, an annoyance, an abomination, or a real leap forward in […]

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CD Reviews

John Butcher, Matthew Shipp – At Oto

January 7, 2013

CD Fataka John Butcher is one of my favourite musicians to watch live. I have been fortunate to have seen him play quite a bit over the past few years and it is always a captivating experience, for reasons I can’t quite pin down. Beyond his incredible skill with the sax there is something about […]

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CD Reviews

Monday 19th April

April 19, 2010

There are of course a number of issues with writing reviews as well as running a label. The most obvious ones are to do with conflicts of interest, perceived or otherwise that might occur when I write about a musician that has a CD released on Cathnor. The informality of this blog allows me to get away with writing about music by Cathnor musicians easier than elsewhere, though I will usually add a caveat to the text, or at least whenever I remember to do so. There are other problems though, often related to the fact that quite often when a new CD arrives I have already heard the music some months before in demo form. So can I write nice things about a CD I possibly rejected as a Cathnor release at an earlier date? Yes of course I can, but it makes things a little awkward.

In the case of Carliol, the new album by John Butcher and Rhodri Davies on the Ftarri label, I’m faced with a new scenario again. I heard this music about a year ago, as a demo, at a time when I really was not looking for new potential releases as i had already comitted to enough to keep me going for quite a while. I really liked the music though, and listened to the demo a lot, finally deciding that I should offer to release it, even though the timing wasn’t good. It needed to be heard. Anyway when I finally did offer to do so it turned out I was a few days too late and the music had found a home at Ftarri. In truth this worked out fine as I should not really have been offering to do anything at that time, and I knew the music would be well looked after by Ftarri. Now though, a year later with the very beautifully presented CD playing on the stereo I wonder just how objective I can be about the music now I have my reviewer hat on? In theory if I felt the music was good enough to release on Cathnor then I can’t have anything bad to say about it…

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CD Reviews

Friday 26th March

March 27, 2010

Invisible Ear first came out way back in 2003 on the virtually perfect and now sadly defunct Fringes label run by Guiseppe Ielasi. At the time of its release I had problems enjoying the music on the CD. This was entirely down to my own peculiar prejudices towards the saxophone that I held at that time. There was no sense in this, almost a decade earlier I had enjoyed Butcher’s playing with the Spontaneous Music Ensemble at one of the first improv concerts I attended a great deal, just as I had been a huge fan of his trio with John Russell and Phil Durrant. Still, being somewhat naive, despite being of an age when I should have known better I generally avoided the sax at roughly the time this CD was first released. My prejudice was somewhat irrational, based on a ridiculous idea that nothing new could be done with the instrument, a theory that I have long since realised neither has any basis in reality nor should be of any real relevance anyway. So it took me a few years to realise just how great an album this was (and still is). In fact it was listening to this very CD one day when somewhat disillusioned with music in general that woke me up to the sax again.

Most readers here will probably know this album. Even though it went out of print some time back (hence the reissue) it is one that has been regularly circulating through the usual download circles for quite some time. Any discussion in online communities regarding the saxophone inevitably points readers towards Invisible Ear. It is considered, for want of a better word, a classic. So there is little point in me going over the music in detail again, suffice to say you either know this album or you should do.

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CD Reviews

Friday 11th September

September 11, 2009

I am very pleased to get that week out of the way. I am day off tomorrow and intend to spend most of the day resting and soaking up music. This week’s listening time has been even more limited than usual, and even when I have been able to listen (and then write) my mental […]

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