|Harvey Pekar's Jazz Times review of
Fixations & Points, Snags and Windings
Fixations (14) - John Butcher solo
Points, Snags and Windings - John Butcher & Dylan van der Schyff
Fixations (14) features material live from 1997 to 2000 on which John Butcher plays soprano and tenor saxes unaccompanied. Some of the pieces on the album, though improvised, resemble studies, in that various musical elements are stressed in them, like a particular extended technique or method of developing a line. Butcher's a skilled, original and creative artist who has developed a unique vocabulary of colors and textures. All of the tracks here have interesting aspects. Some, such as "Third Bottle" and "Last Bottle" have him combining unusual timbres and methods of construction. But Butcher is a melodic player with a nice sense of motivic development, and doesn't need unusual sonorities to create a stimulating performance, however, as his lyrical "Woodland Drift" indicates. Butcher plays in an unused railway station on "The Train and the Gate Part 1" and "Part 2" and the location gives the work extra resonance: you can sometimes hear trains moving along in the background, accompanying the saxophonist.