Saxophonist John Butcher and violinist Phil Durrant had been playing together on the English improv scene in various formations for 14 years when they decided to start a live electro-acoustic project in 1997, a project not unlike Evan Parker's own unit at the same time. The Butcher/Durrant duo released a first CD, Secret Measures, on Wobbly Rail, recorded live at the beginning of the experiment. Requests and Antisongs is a studio performance taped in January and February 2000, over two years later. By then, the project had reached maturity. As John Butcher improvises on the saxophone, Phil Durrant processes the sound in real time through two unrelated electronic chains. The music is fed back to Butcher, allowing both players to interact with each other. The saxophonist's already varied palette takes humongous proportions. At times, Durrant only filters parts of the sound specter, but he might also add overtones, decay, or completely masquerade the saxophone's sound. It is fascinating to hear Butcher adapt as Durrant plays tricks on him: He always seems to find a way to exploit the electronician's ideas and use the perfect phrasing to take advantage of the processes applied the second before. Requests and Antisongs opens a new form of dialogue in a duo setting.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture