John Butcher’s work ranges through improvisation, his own compositions, multitracked saxophone pieces and explorations with feedback and extreme acoustics.
Originally a physicist, he left academia in 1982, and has since collaborated with hundreds of musicians – including Derek Bailey, John Stevens, Gerry Hemingway, The EX, Polwechsel, Gino Robair, Rhodri Davies, John Edwards, Toshimaru Nakamura, Paul Lovens, Eddie Prevost, John Russell, Mark Sanders, John Tilbury, Christian Marclay, Andy Moor, Phil Minton, and Steve Beresford.
He is well known as a solo performer who attempts to engage with a sense of place. His first solo CD, Thirteen Friendly Numbers, also includes compositions for multitracked saxophones, whilst later releases focus both on live performance and amplification and saxophone-controlled feedback.
Resonant Spaces is a collection of site-specific performances collected during a tour of unusual locations in Scotland and the Orkney Islands.
In 2011 he received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists.
His compositions include pieces for the Austrian group Polwechsel, the Australian Elision, the Rova and Quasar Saxophone Quartets and Penny Wands for reconstructed Futurist Intonarumori.
Two larger scale commisions have been premiered at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival – somethingtobesaid(2008) for the John Butcher Group and Isola (2012) for Cranes & Freighters.
Recent collaborative projects include Anemone with trumpeter Peter Evans, The Contest of Pleasures with Axel Dörner and Xavier Charles, Way Out Northwest with Torsten Muller and Dylan van der Schyff, and The Apophonics with Gino Robair and John Edwards.
Butcher values playing in occasional encounters – ranging from large groups such as Butch Morris’ London Skyscraper and theEX Orkestra, to duo concerts with Otomo Yoshihide, David Toop, Kevin Drumm, Christof Kurzmann, Thomas Lehn, Fred Frith, Okkyung Lee, Matthew Shipp and Akio Suzuki.
Live In Morden Tower (mikroton cd 29)