Lawrence "Butch" Morris

Conduction #70: Tit For Tat

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Recorded in abandoned watch factory in Zurich, after an of musicians from a jazz festival were assembled by saxophonist Hans Koch, Conduction #70 is one of the most provocative and strange works ever issued by Butch Morris. Working with 15 other musicians, many of whom he had never worked with before, Morris's cryptic batch of instructions for conducted improvisation were ingested whole by people like Jim O'Rourke, Fredy Studer, Koch, Stephan Wittwer, Martin Schütz, Günther Mülller, and many others. Morris unfolds the piece as a sonic construction first, with whisks of air coming through the horns and microphonic exercises. This is followed by a long, slowly developing series of short breathy phrases by the entire horn section and underscored by the guitars before becoming highlighted and accented by electronics and percussion. There are long pauses where silence comes to play as part of a tension-building device. The cycle starts over with a new group of instruments, strings this time, creating a body of notes, nuances, and monosyllabic vocal utterances before being joined by the rest of the instruments in the orchestra. This is ghost music, highly intuitive heat moving around as a subtle energy body through sound. Morris knows exactly what he's doing; his penchant for gradually developing dynamics and a slowly crafted harmonic infrastructure are uncanny.

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