John Butcher & Steve Noble - 5.7.16

First duo from these two unique voices in 15 years. Butcher has all the extended technique you like but it’s his subtle delivery that makes this duo so wonderful. He etches melodies across Noble’s imaginative percussion, peels off the sax's lacquer with multiphonic rattling and dances those classic Butcher squeals neatly through Noble’s vocal and rather spiritual bowed textures. The two end on an energetic sort of fanfare - skilled but playful - and you can only hope that it’s not so long before they meet again.  


John Butcher / saxophone

Steve Noble / drums



1. 5.7.16 - 28.50


Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Tuesday 5th of July by Simon Holliday. Mixed by John Butcher. Mastered by James Dunn.

Available as 320k MP3 or 24bit FLAC  

John Butcher

John Butcher was born in Brighton, England and has lived in London since the late 1970s. His music ranges through improvisation, his own compositions, multitracked pieces and explorations with feedback and extreme acoustics. 

Originally a theoretical physicist, he published his Ph.D in 1982 and then left academia for music. He has since collaborated with hundreds of musicians, mostly involved with improvisation - including Derek Bailey, John Stevens, Polwechsel, Gino Robair, Rhodri Davies, Okkyung Lee, Gerry Hemingway, Toshimaru Nakamura, Eddie Prevost, Paul Lovens, Christian Marclay and Andy Moor. 

Compositions include “Penny Wands” for reconstructed Futurist Intonarumori, pieces for the Rova and Quasar saxophone quartets, "somethingtobesaid" for the John Butcher Group and “Tarab Cuts”. In 2011 he was one of three recipients of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Composers. 

Steve Noble

Steve Noble is London's leading drummer, a fearless and constantly inventive improviser whose super-precise, ultra-propulsive and hyper-detailed playing has galvanized encounters with Derek Bailey, Matthew Shipp, Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, Stephen O'Malley, Joe McPhee, Alex Ward, Rhodri Davies and many, many more. 

In the early eighties, Noble played with the Nigerian master drummer Elkan Ogunde, Rip Rig and Panic, Brion Gysin and the Bow Gamelan Ensemble, before going on to work with the pianist Alex Maguire and with Derek Bailey (including Company Weeks 1987, 89 and 90). He was featured in the Bailey's excellent TV series on Improvisation for Channel 4 based on his book ‘Improvisation; its nature and practise’. He has toured and performed throughout Europe, Africa and America and currently leads the groups N.E.W (with John Edwards and Alex Ward) and DECOY (with John Edwards and Alexander Hawkins).