John Butcher and Phil Durrant have both been prominent members of the English improv scene since the mid-eighties, releasing everything from solo records to being members of all-star orchestras. In 1984, they formed a trio with John Russell, with Durrant on violin, a band which is in its 17th year together. In 1997, the two began their electromanipulation project, in which Durrant transforms Butcher's sounds electronically in real time, interacting with Butcher's live playing. The music has three potential strands; the amplified saxophone and two electronic processing chains - individually controlled by Durrant - which are triggered by and/or derived from the saxophone's signal. No sampling is used.
This is the second CD which Butcher and Durrant have released utilizing this approach. The first was the critically acclaimed Secret Measures (Wobbly Rail), which was a recording of the first concert they played in this style in November of 1997. Requests and Antisongs captures the duo more than two years later, carefully recorded in a London studio by Toby Robinson. Butcher demonstrates his seemingly effortless mastery of his instrument(s) throughout, while Durrant applies all of the numerous live processing skills he's carefully honed, not least as an integral part of Keith Rowe's all-star MIMEO electronic orchestra.
"Durrant's electronic wizardry has moved beyond the role of reflector, as he alters the shape of Butcher's musings with burly squelches and thick fuzz tones, which in turn force Butcher to react to his own deceptively modified palette of metallic buzzes and vigorous multi-phonics. Having received this recording the same week I was fortunate enough to see this duo perform live, I can safely say that what was once an intriguing work in progress has evolved into one of the most satisfying electro/acoustic experiments being documented today." - Jon Morgan