John Butcher / Thomas Lehn / John Tilbury – Exta


Standing right in front of the stereo’s speakers, two finely crafted objects — my beloved acoustic guitars — resonate sympathetically whenever a sonic emergence in the room causes them to respire.

This might sound as a singular way to introduce a write-up about an indispensable release by three chieftains of the act of improvising, but please bear with me. Exta — resulting from the distillation of “a long studio session” in 2012 — encourages the consenting auditor to intensify the analysis of issues incidental to receptivity and consequence when certain sounds propagate. On the other hand, its bulk represents a strong stimulus to set in motion the above hinted mechanism of affinity with an environment’s vibrational rate, veritably turning an absorptive receiver into a responsive instrument (if a groundwork of inherent individual sensibility is still subsisting nowadays).

Each member’s creative conduct can be sensed as the representation of an organism’s constituent. The ears — and their direct connection to the ability of learning — are typified by Lehn’s now incisively insidious, now awesomely subsonic synthetic frequencies, functioning as a constantly redesigned prospect upon which the varying dynamics and fragmented partials of wind-related pitches deriving from the saxophones ask the “whys” and the “whens” typically linked to any sensitive person’s uncertainty as they look into what’s uncharted. Thus the “feelings” transmitted by Butcher range from anxiousness (evidently linkable to the breathing apparatus) to hardly repressed emotional arousal (a visceral, utterly “physical” response), evident traits of non-acceptance of the obvious during the pursuing of a continuance’s signification. Tilbury’s percussive usage of assorted parts of the piano is expertly alternated with characteristically reserved clustering and cryptically grave shards of scales, no clues of smiles in sight. This notwithstanding we can compare his composed expressions to the serene behavior of a practiced thinker, a guide light of sorts in a number of developmental processes inside the overall recondite textural aggregate.

Everything is perceived as a necessity in this impressive set, the umpteenth reassertion of inquisitive music as an unparalleled means for probing the innermost self, ultimately coming to terms with uncomfortable truths. Contrastive timbres for the recognition of our substantial existence’s reduced significance, unresolved entities overwhelmed by stupid head games amidst inexplicably resounding demands. Something by which we are wholly owned can enhance our internal aerial’s tuning with a few degrees of additional sentience. One should thank these musicians for their capability of conveying the required type of pervasive vibrancy.