Friday 28 November 2014, 8pm
A very special two-day residency to celebrate the 60th birthday of one of the greats of improvised music - John Butcher. Featuring a line-up comprised of some of Butcher's closest and most long-standing collaborators as well as some brand-new groupings brought together specially for these two days, this should be a unmissable celebratory residency for a musician who has provided a whole host of highlights at Cafe OTO since we opened.
John Butcher is a saxophonist of rare grace and power, who has expanded the vocabulary of the saxophone far beyond the conventions of jazz and other musics, to encompass a staggering range of harmonics, multiphonics, overtones, percussive sounds, and electronic feedback. But his playing is far more than merely an array of special effects: it's characterised by an intensity that propels it into strange new places that are both incredibly beautiful and deeply exhilarating.
[ TWO DAY EVENT – Series pass available ]
When he was finished there were audible exclamations from the audience and the question was asked, not for the first time: ‘why does no one else play saxophone like that?’ – Dalston Sound, review of John Butcher at Cafe OTO, 2012
John Butcher + Rhodri Davies (electric harp)
Magda Mayas (piano) + Angharad Davies (amplified violin)
John Butcher + Gino Robair (drums & electronics) + dieb13 (turntables)
Butcher is well known as a saxophonist who attempts to engage with the uniqueness of time and place. His music ranges through improvisation, his own compositions, multitracked pieces and explorations with feedback and unusual acoustics. Since the early 80s he has collaborated with hundreds of musicians – including Derek Bailey, Rhodri Davies, Andy Moor (EX), Phil Minton, Christian Marclay, Eddie Prevost, John Stevens’ SME, Gino Robair, Polwechsel, Mark Sanders, John Tilbury, and Okkyung Lee.
Alongside long term projects he values occasional encounters; from large groups such as the EX Orkestra & Butch Morris’ “London Skyscraper”, to duo concerts with Fred Frith, Akio Suzuki, Paal Nilssen-Love, Keiji Haino, David Toop, Otomo Yoshihide, Sophie Agnel and Matthew Shipp.
Recent compositions include “Penny Wands” for Futurist Intonarumori, two HCMF commissions for his own groups, “Good Liquor Caused my Heart for to Sing” for the London Sinfonietta and “Tarab Cuts”, a response to recordings of early Arabic classical music which was shortlisted for a 2014 British Composer’s Award.
“English saxophonist John Butcher may be among the world’s most influential musicians, operating at the cutting-edge of improvisatory practice since the ‘80s. Whenever an acoustic musician starts to sound like a bank of oscillators, a tropical forest, a brook or an insect factory, Butcher’s influence is likely nearby.” – New York City Jazz Record.
Rhodri Davies is immersed in the worlds of improvisation, musical experimentation, composition and contemporary classical performance. He plays harp, electric harp, live-electronics and builds wind, water, ice, dry ice and fire harp installations and has released six solo albums. His regular groups include: HEN OGLEDD, Cranc, Common Objects and a duo with John Butcher. He has worked with the following artists: David Sylvian, Jenny Hval, Derek Bailey, Sofia Jernberg, Lina Lapelyte, Pat Thomas, Simon H Fell and Will Gaines.
For the last ten years Davies has been closely associated with the pioneering composer Eliane Radigue performing seventeen of her pieces. She composed OCCAM I for Davies in 2011, the first in an ongoing series of solo and ensemble pieces for individual instrumentalists in which a performer’s personal performance technique and particular relationship to their instrument function as the compositional material of the piece. New pieces for solo harp have also been composed for him by: Christian Wolff, Carole Finer, Philip Corner, Phill Niblock, Ben Patterson, Alison Knowles, Mieko Shiomi and Yasunao Tone.
In 2008 he collaborated with the visual artist Gustav Metzger on ‘Self-cancellation’, a large-scale audio-visual collaboration in London and Glasgow. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Grants to Artists Award, he was a Chapter Associate Artist (2016-19) and in 2017 he received a Creative Wales Award. He is a co-organiser of the NAWR concert series in Swansea.
Magda Mayas is a pianist living in Berlin. Developing a vocabulary utilizing both the inside as well as the exterior parts of the piano, using preparations and objects, she explores textural, linear and fast moving sound collage.
Alongside the piano, Mayas has recently been performing on a Clavinet/Pianet, an electric piano from the 60s with strings and metal chimes, where she engages with noise and more visceral sound material, equally extending the instrumental sound palette using extended techniques and devices.
ANGHARAD DAVIES is a Welsh violinist based in London working with free improvisation, compositions and performance. Her approach to sound involves attentive listening and exploring beyond the sonic confines of her instrument, her classical training and performance expectation. Much of her work involves collaboration. She has long-standing duos with Tisha Mukarji, Dominic Lash and Lina Lapelyte and plays with Common Objects, Cranc and Skogen. She has been involved in projects with Tarek Atui, Tony Conrad, Richard Dawson, Gwenno, Roberta Jean, Jack McNamara, Rie Nakajima, Tim Parkinson, Eliane Radigue, Georgia Ruth and J. G. Thirlwell. Most of her records are released on Another Timbre but she also has releases on Absinth Records, all that dust, Confrontrecords, Emanem, Potlatch and winds measure recordings. Her first orchestral piece was commissioned by LCMF in 2019. She is currently writing a piece for Juliet Fraser and Explore Ensemble.
Gino Robair is a San Francisco Bay Area-based percussionist and composer who has performed and recorded with Anthony Braxton, Tom Waits, John Butcher, LaDonna Smith, Otomo Yoshihide, Eugene Chadbourne, John Zorn, Nina Hagen, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Myra Melford, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, and the Club Foot Orchestra. He is a founding member of the Splatter Trio and Pink Mountain. Robair's multimedia work "Grand Electric Skull" was commissioned and performed by the ROVA Saxophone Quartet with Ikue Mori in San Francisco in 2013, while his theater piece "The Amanuensis" was premiered at GIOfest VI in Glasgow the same year. His opera "I, Norton," based on the life of Norton I, Emperor of the United States, has been staged throughout North America, Europe, and Japan.
"[Gino Robair] holds the listener captive as he oscillates between the accidental and the intentional; between the tiniest, most delicate noise and a torrential outpouring of sound." - San Francisco Bay Guardian
dieb13 is the performing name of Dieter Kovačič, a Viennese based avant-garde musician. He has also performed under the names Takeshi Fumimoto, Echelon, Dieter Bohlen, and dieb14. After appearing on several compilations documenting the burgeoning Viennese avant-garde scene of the late 1990s, he released his first solo album in 2000. He has gone on to perform in a number of collaborations with other notable performers, including Burkhard Stangl, erikm, Mats Gustafsson and the John Butcher Group.