In ancient Roman religious ritual, exta were the organs of a sacrificed animal offered up to the gods - the lungs, heart, liver and gall bladder; here, Exta is a selection of four pieces (one in two parts) carefully extracted from a long studio session.
"Butcher’s sax ranges from soft, whispery purrs to teeth-chatteringly spiteful blasts. Lehn’s analogue synth leaps in a moment from burbling tones to fiercely sizzling abstraction, and Tilbury slips from his familiar melodic interludes and fragmented arpeggios to crashing, seismic attacks on the inside of the piano. What sets this album head and shoulders above similar offerings is the understanding between the trio. It’s not just the way all three move together as one from subdued lull to explosive rupture, but how each pushes at the others, stopping the music from settling into routine. Throughout the two-part “Pulmo”, each of the trio takes the opportunity to wrench the music from one direction to another with a sudden attack just as it settles into a plateau. More than a routine outing for three old heads, Exta is as vibrant, powerful and testing as anything we have heard from any of them in a while, which in itself makes it an essential addition to Improv’s history. " - Richard Pinnell, The Wire
"This gloriously unhurried, constantly shifting music—each dynamic stimulus tempered by currents of textural stasis, notably on the initial stretch of 'lecur'—resists summation. It is an enthralling, exemplary piece of work." - Tim Owen, Dalston Sound
John Butcher / saxophones
Thomas Lehn / synthesizers
John Tilbury / piano
Recorded by Rick Campion at City University Music Studios on 25 June 2012. Mixed by Thomas Lehn. Mastered by Rupert Clervaux at Gray’s Inn Road. Photograph by Andy Moor (The Ex) Music by John Butcher (PRS), Thomas Lehn (GEMA) & John Tilbury (PRS)
Available as 320kbp MP3 or 16bit FLAC
1. Pulmo I - 7:39
2. Cor - 19:15
3. Pulmo II - 10:33
4. Iecur - 16:41
5. Fel - 3:32
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.
Schooled both as a concert pianist playing contemporary repertoire and as a recording technician, Thomas Lehn deploys a huge musicality through his unique chosen outlet the analogue synthesiser. This instrument allows him extremely close and immediate contact with all aspects of sound modification - a vast gamut of living electronic sound produced with unmatched speed and fluency. Thomas Lehn simply represents a coming-of-age of electronic sound production in the domain of concert performance that sets a standard for the entire medium. He is therefore unsurprisingly an essential member of many of the most active and significant projects in this highly international and dynamic scene.
John Tilbury is renowned for his peerless interpretation of the piano music of Morton Feldman, John Cage, Christian Wolff and Howard Skempton. In addition to the performances and seminal recordings that he has made of these composers’ works, he has been an eloquent advocate of their music in his writing and speaking about them. The same is true of the attention he has paid to the music and ideas of Cornelius Cardew, the subject of his authoritative biography published in 2008, and with whom he played in the legendary improvisation groups the Scratch Orchestra and AMM. In the last ten years John Tilbury has performed a range of plays and prose pieces by Samuel Beckett.