Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Johnny Butler's Looped Based Solo Saxophone Music
Johnny Butler plays the alto sax. He heads up an interesting ensemble, Scurvy, which I cover in one of my other blogs (see www.gapplegate.com/musicalblog.htm). He also has developed a composition-performance style using his sax and live loops. An EP of this music has just been released, Johnny Butler Solo (no label listed). He gives a nod to Robert Fripp's work with guitar and loops, and when you listen to the EP you can see he has taken the concept and come up with his own distinctive approach and sound.
There are four pieces on the disk, each different, each in its own way evocative, musically inspired and a pleasure to hear. He goes with the rhythmic possibilities of the loop format on one piece, the saxophone choir sound with (nice) soloing on top on another, and there are two that flesh out fully orchestral soundscape panoramas.
That all of the results develop out of Mr. Butler's saxophone in a live setting is impressive. The results are stunning musically, which of course is what counts in the end. Johnny Butler creates music that shows a keen ear for honing in on good musical ideas and then deftly handling the loop technology to get some highly interesting sounds. Mr. Butler is a gas!