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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Rhodri Davies & John Butcher - Routing Lynn (Ftarri, 2014) ****

By Stef

Rhodri Davies on electric harp, and John Butcher on saxophones bring us a fantastic thirty-five minutes of forward-thinking music, a collaboration with sound technician Chris Watson.

The somewhat complex process was the following : "In January 2014, together with sound recordist Chris Watson, Butcher and Davies visited Routing Lynn, an area of ancient rock carvings in Northumberland, northern England. In this natural setting, Davies and Butcher played music and Watson recorded. Two months later, at a festival in Gateshead, England, Davies and Butcher performed along with the 4-channel playback of the recording made by Watson in Routing Lynn. The performance is documented on this CD as a single 35-minute track. The instrumental sounds blend with the sounds of nature (water, warbling birds) from this area of ancient rock".

The result is quite interesting and fascinating. The two musicians interact with their previous recording and with the sounds of nature, giving feedback (literally and electrically) to birds and water as if they are all part of one organic and natural sound. Butcher's saxes can flutter like birds, but he is equally capable of long extended drone-like sounds, and Davies harp, with electronics, is as we know,  unlike any harp sound you've heard before. The two artists blend these sounds into moments of quiet contemplation alternated by moments of heightened frenzy. You also get confronted with the paradoxical juxtaposition of sounds recorded indoors (more intimate) and outdoors (more expansive), yet presented simultaneously.

The amazing natural environment of Routing Lynn, with its cascades and incomprehensible but beautiful rock carvings, finds a great musical extension in this album, which is equally profound, with a touch of mysticism, reverence and wonder. Music to experience.

Available from InstantJazz.


Colin Green said...

I also recommend Rhodri Davies' "Pedwar" (Alt.Vinyl, 2014)