Although Eddie Prévost and John Butcher shared the stage at Derek Bailey’s 1990 London Company Week they didn’t perform together again until March 2005 – in duo at Goldie’s Oligarch in the East London Foundry. Eddie chose to work with tam-tam, bowed cymbals and drum resonators – as heard on their CD interworks.
Additionally, they have recorded in trio with John Tilbury – Eddie’s AMM partner for over 20 years in – once for a BBC broadcast, and once for the CD Trinity.
Since 2011 they have also performed in a trio with bassist Guillaume Viltard with Prévost playing drum kit.
Prévost’s free drumming flows superbly making use of his formidable technique. It’s as though there has never been an Elvin Jones or Max Roach.” — Melody Maker
John Butcher played his first solo, just a short piece, in 1982 at the Workers’ Music Association in Notting Hill Gate.
To quote from a 1998 Rubberneck piece:
“After a few concerts I’d learnt a lot about making connections – but had also noticed recognisable pieces beginning to develop. I quite liked this, but worried about what it meant for long-term solo work. For a while, I almost envied composers; able to wrap up a piece, send it out into the world, and move on to the next. But a lot of the pleasure in giving solo concerts is connected to the hope of finding, spontaneously, some music you didn’t really know about beforehand.
Playing pieces is too close to playing routines and a concert is an opportunity for much more. As a live performer, improvising usually just feels better – less acting, less theatre, and more chance for a little magic. By way of a bonus, this means engaging with what Derek Bailey described as a “search for whatever is endlessly variable“.
Whilst still close to his feelings about solo concerts – another side of solo work has been to develop compositional ideas for CD: from the 1992 multitracks on Thirteen Friendly Numbers to the microphone-based work on Invisible Ear.
These ideas then feed into concerts.
Live multitracking was explored with Stephen Moore and the 15 speakers at Issue Project Room (review).
Butcher has also had the opportunity to create solos specifically for large or especially characterful acoustics – such as inside the giant Oya Stone Mountain in Utsunomiya, Japan.
Later that year he played, for Resonance FM, in Oberhausen’s famous 200m high gazometer.
Recent site-specific works include in the medieval vaults of Southampton (WIRE review), Dunston Staiths, and Newhaven’s 19th century Fort.