Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Butchy Fuego (Pickled Egg)

Whatever happened to this guy, anyway? Butchy Fuego is some weird visionary in Chicago who hung around with a lot of artrock/freejazz dudes, and made this beautifully designed solo record back in 2001 or so. And like most things on the vastly underrated Pickled Egg label, it failed to make much impact and thus, Butchy Fuego has disappeared into the pile of early 00s experimental CDs. A shame too, cause there's some astoundingly precise cuts here that run between spazzy neo-electro ('The Conquering of Planet Argotron') to Bügsküll-like collage mastery ('Music for Sarah's Film'). The opening would suggest that this is a very schooled bit of post-academy Henry Cow worship, but Butchy Fuego shifts gears constantly, with just enough cohesion to avoid feeling like a weird compilation. 'The Paleontologist' has some buried vocals, as the piece lumbers along in a sort of improv scuzz-rock, not unlike stuff like the Lowdown or Mouthus only a few years precognizant to them - the basement jam band returns in 'Menstrual Motorcycle', only significantly thrashier. 'Bumbleplight' actually sounds like Squarepusher at times, with a cut-up flitter-flutter that doesn't overdo the amp-buzz electronica, feeling again like a logical extension of the acoustic basis we hear earlier. 'Hot Balls' is my mixtape selection - it's an anthemic punch to the jugular that rips out of the speakers through it's lo-fi production, in a fairly calculated stance. But awesome nonetheless. I can imagine that Butchy Fuego is a fairly studio-based project, though the live instrumentation feels organic, not like samples. 'My Experience with Electronics' is maybe the centerpiece, both sequentially and musically. Despite the weak title, Butchy's throwing everything into the bag here and it gels nicely. The album comes to a polite close with 'Bunny', which is delicately sung like a Bedhead song, farting and wheezing until an accordion-driven 4-track indierock second part explodes. I shouldn't keep comparing elements of this CD to other artists, because Butchy Fuego certainly has eked out his own sound, one that should have found some fans. But fans of what? Eclectic, genre-bending art-rock, fractured songforms, complex compositions -- all things that sound great on paper but reveal themselves to be distinct and idiosyncratic when you actually hear them. But if any of those keywords tickle your fancy, then this is one to seek out, undeniably.

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