The first track startles, bemuses, intrigues, and then excites. It just gets better from there. You will want to get nekkid and dance in a meadow. Put this album at the top of your to-do list for immediate acquisition. It will blow you away.
Guy Buttery is a South African musical virtuoso and his approach to music, rhythm, tonality, and all of the other bits and pieces of sound is by far one of the most unique in the world. The elements of musical sound are twisted and merged with a playful, organic approach to sophisticated, highly consumable noise-making.
The instrumentation is both familiar and foreign. Acoustic guitar predominates. In the first track, “Werner meets Egberto in manus” (6:38) the intro is an oddly plucked, zippy pizzicato guitar riff that tickles the back of your brain. A lively vocal chant alternates with more guitar plucking. Sounds include the umhupe mouth bow and concertina. Buttery slides into a harmonious guitar passage then returns to the energetic, slightly atonal theme. The second song, “Floop” downshifts into a comfortable groove with a guitar/organ r&b piece. “In the Shade of the Wild Fig” begins with a ponderous organ intro and floats into a dreamy, sensuous acoustic guitar meditation.
Track 4 “From Srinager” transfers into a slow Asian raga with a sarangi, bells, sbira and (I kid you not) “psychedelia.” Track 5 “To Goulimine” opens with another plucked pizzicato guitar intro an Irish-Celtic-style melody and dance rhythm that starts cranking after the intro. It gets wilder and more electric two minutes in. Time to get nekkid and dance! No time to breathe before “Sleep deprivation” leaps into motion. The enviable funk is a jewelry setting for the bent and twisted tonality. Five minutes allows the artist plenty of time to explore and play with motifs and rhythms. “The Upper Reaches” in another high- energy 5-minute track. The rhythmic pattern is entirely different, both in the persistent picked accompaniment and the guitar melody that floats over the rhythm tracks.
In track 10 “A piece for Rudolph Fritsh” (5:28) the tempo slows without losing a smidgeon of the explosive creativity that characterizes the entire album. Buttery kicks back and communes with his guitar and makes it sound so easy. The final track “3/4 In the Morning” is a sweet farewell, a laid-back serenade of relaxed delicacy.
Absolutely superb in concept, sound, originality and texture. Solid gold guitar work with top-notch unity in the ensemble work.
~review by Elizabeth Hazel
Artist: Guy Battery
Released Feb 29, 2016. South Africa.
CD $10.00 and limited edition vinyl for $22 at https://guybuttery.bandcamp.com/album/guy-buttery