A Californian and a Londoner do the live thing in this performance of Bottle Breaking Heart Leap from a Leeds church in 2012. John Butcher and Gino Robair have worked together extensively in a variety of exciting jazz capacities, always with intriguing results. Out on vinyl LP from alt.vinyl. Limited to 250 copies.
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- Bottle Breaking Heart Leap by John Butcher & Gino Robair
9/10 Jim Staff review, 06 March 2015
I've been laying off the free improv over the last couple of years but this record has just piqued my taste for the stuff again. It's a raw, bracing listen of two players in bruising form. Starting of with some jagged scraping textures that quickly ascend into a finger-nails-against-the-blackboard screechathon before exhaling into a big soggy chthonic snore; it's clear from the off that both players are intent on pushing each other way into the outer realms of the musical map.
The melding of Robair's 'anti'-percussion with all its frictional heat and Butcher's devastatingly measured saxophone meditations is pretty incredible, with both players almost swapping places at times, so that it becomes hard to tell who's doing what with Robair somehow generating husky reed-like timbres and Butcher belching deep percussive gobs from his horn. The pacing of their playing is exquisite too; both give each other plenty of space to develop deep subtleties but are also able to turn on a hair for some drastic dynamic shifts. The spaciousness of the music no doubt has something to do with the beautiful church acoustics evident on the recording which seems to adds depth to even the smallest gesture. All that space and the deliberate pacing gives the performance what I can only describe as a meanness; not unlike the beautifully stark landscape that adorns the cover.
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