J Butler | Found
In his fifth release since 2011 Pittsburgh’s J Butler rolls out Found an austere and unique study in looped ambient textures. Limited to only fifty tapes, this one is fueled by oscillators and guitar, and was mastered by 12K imprint + electronic whiz Taylor Deupree. Five lustrous tracks that run for just about a half-hour give you a great sense of Butler’s spatial probabilities.
Opening with Theme, which opens like a panoramic screen, a light dusting of melodic ambience broken by a dappled hiss. This plays with sound-shaping provided by modular synths and low-end, scaled drone. A universal gliding quality emerges as the ‘theme’. On Inlet he toys with a familiar buzzing quality, like a bee or various flying intruders invading your personal air space. By pairing this with a soothing harmonic layer there’s a soft glow around all of that matters, making this a tranquil stage for tingling guitar and daydreaming.
By the time you get to the final track on side one an hesitant inertia has set in. The loops, slightly draining and sleep-producing, are beginning to droop to the bottom end. Sediment is the perfect way to describe the weight of this track. The wavy lapping and winding synths define the setting something akin to a field recording from a receding tide. Once side two begins a new warbling drift of twang is slowly induced into the mix via Ascend – Meaning. The edges are soft, the mood is sensitive, a bit off-center and brightly tuned in pitch.
Each track here has it’s own signature, this is not one of those broken single tracks. Butler is instead opting to showcase many variables, which works in his favor, even on a brief collection, which bodes well for the breadth of his ability. On Reprise he pulls together an airy flow of textural themes heard throughout Found. It’s a nine minute conclusion, a sum of its parts, and it levitates with the most cerebral sonic glow. The ambient atmosphere separates ever so loosely and becomes a bit of a mind-bender, just wafting in space.