John Butcher - Winter Gardens (2013)
So here is my Christmas present to all of you, and another big 'fuck you' to vinyl-only releases everywhere (especially the ones without download codes). This year may have been another series of victories for you, lots of (probably) great music has been locked away in the dusty grooves of unwieldy, fragile black platters purchased by a few dozen diehards who are probably to enamored of their mint condition fetish object to dare to actually play it anyway (so much beauty basically thrown in the trash!), but in the end you will never win! There will be a CD reissue eventually, or, as in this case, some good soul with the necessary equipment will manage to rescue the music from its vinyl tomb and release it unto the world - even if it is somewhat tainted by the vinyl crackle and occasional hiccup that inevitably comes with it (oh I'm sorry, that is 'warmth', or 'tactile charm', or 'personality and physicality'. Right.). Oh ye fanciers of the rare and pretty artifact over the actual sounds contained therein, what is the purpose of music if not to be heard?
Here some wag actually asserts that 'this music is made to be heard on vinyl', unfortunately without any further explanation. I sure would have liked to know the logic behind such a bizarre claim.
In any case. After months of searching, all of a sudden in some dark recess of the interweb up popped a rip of this solo LP by John Butcher (1 file per side), released early in 2013 on a Greek label called Kukuruku. Thank you, anonymous music liberator! For this momentous occasion I downloaded some special software that allowed me to split up the tracks into separate mp3 files, making me feel like a genuine computer wizard - a rush which lasted several minutes. I'm pretty sure I've found the correct point at which a new track begins, even! And here is the fruit of our joint labour: now we can all have a listen, undistracted by the split seams and bent corners we would have had to pine over if we had bought a physical copy. And this definitely is worth a listen: Butcher already has about 10 solo albums out, but up to now every new one has repaid the attentive listener with some new thrills, and this one is no different. Since I'm still reeling from last night's pre-Christmas dinner and I suck at describing music anyway, I'm just going to leave you with an excerpt from the label blurb:
"The album’s two longer tracks were recorded in December 2011 at St. Anne's & St. Agnes Church in London by Simon Reynell (Another Timbre label) and document his acoustic solo while interacting with the environment’s natural feedback; evolving tonal patterns and harmonics of circular breathing, repetitive musical riffs and silent moments create an atmosphere with a special character. Two shorter tracks in “Winter Gardens” document Butcher’s skills incorporating microphone feedbacks. Recorded in Milwaukee, October 2011, the result is resembling electronically synthesized sounds while resonances of different parts of the saxophone blend with oscillating re-amplified sounds." So there you go. Tell me, what more could you possibly want in your stocking?
Here it is.
320 kbps, but of course that doesn't really mean much in this case.
PS. Sorry about the shitty picture of the cover. I had to make do with what I could find online. And of course 12" covers don't fit in most scanners anyway. Also, in case you hadn't noticed, despite springing from an actual pet peeve of mine, this was mostly written in jest. It is not an insult to your glorious collection of black and swirly colour slabs of wax in their pristine gatefolds, nor an invitation to engage in yet another tiresome 'CD versus vinyl' debate. Comments on that subject will be ignored, possibly deleted. Merry fucking Christmas!
And just like that I'm back to hibernating.