Buttery – Old tools, new trade

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Guy Buttery performs at the New Space Theater in Long Street, Cape Town during his Foxhill Lane album launch. Pic: Julien Fievez

Guy Buttery wafted into the South African folk music scene, releasing his first album in 2003. Popular amoungst Folk music connoisseurs and outsiders  alike, fans enjoy his mix of styles and instruments that produces truly unique sound.

Following a successful run at the National Arts Festival in 2009, Buttery continued his National tour playing stunning audiences major cities across the country. The album, Fox Hill Lane, is a characteristic mixture of styles and instruments, each track having its own feel and flavour.  With his pleasing style and gentle stage presence, Buttery has enchanted audiences from Europe, North America and the United Kingdom.  Removing his shoes to play the sitar, Buttery creates an informal atmosphere, relaxing the audience as waves of music swoon blissfully around the theatre.

Fox Hill Lane, as an album, won the 2010 South African Music Award for ?Best Instrumental Album of the Year?. This honour is not undeserved, as the talent and passion present in Buttery?s playing is made all too apparent on the album. Each track tells an elaborate story, played out on various instruments. Removing his shoes to play the sitar, Buttery creates an informal atmosphere, relaxing the audience as waves of music swoon blissfully around the theatre.   The balance between delicacy and vigour, the crests and valleys of each composition are exaggerated by the texture and layering of sounds.
Each track features a variety of intricate rhythmic changes, creating a complex sound that is clearly recognisable. Recorded at Peace of Eden studios, the album is mixed to suit the matchless sound that Buttery produces. The album features contributions from South African music legends Nibs van der Spuy, Dan Patlansky, Tony Cox and others on more than 20 instruments. Sibanisizwe incorporates a pennywistle and kwela-style guitar amoungst others, once again highlighted in Mirleft, which features the sitar, the guitar, the tabla and the violin. This melting pot of sounds and talents takes the listener upon a trip that begs for a visual experience of the performance.  Differing from conventional genres, Buttery rarely sings on his tracks, creating an instrumental, acoustic experience that is rarely seen elsewhere.  Endorsed by Flyde Instruments, he makes the every melody sound fluid and alive.

The intricate layering of instruments and sounds occasionally leave the listener confused by the various rhythms co-existing on the track. This complex sound, although demonstrating intense musical direction, can throw the casual listener off-balance. That said, the overall impression that you gain from the album conveys Buttery?s peaceful outlook and aura inviting listeners to tap their toes in time to the tunes.
Removing his shoes to play the sitar, Buttery creates an informal atmosphere, relaxing the audience as waves of music float blissfully around the theatre. On tour, he performed a track entitled , 30°12?45?S 26°31?53?E or The Martian Folk Song, which sees a hacksaw played with a violin bow amoungst other outlandish sounds. It is the spirit and atmosphere that Buttery creates that is captured in tracks like these, that of freedom and creativity. Many of the tracks have a familiar feel, like Sibanisezwe,  even if you hear there for the very first time. This mixture of sound is highlighted in Mirleft, which features the sitar, the guitar, the tabla and the violin.

Originally from KwaZulu Natal, Buttery  tours around the globe regularly, spreading his original sound to international audiences. Only 26, he has achieved more than what other musicians spend lifetimes chasing, a unique style of expression that leaves audiences begging for more. This album has brought together a number of collaborators, instruments and styles to create a musical voyage that is original and unadulterated by the downward spiral of the music industry. Harking back to days of old, Buttery captures the spirit of freedom and expresses sensations through ornately orchestrated songs.

 


Julien Fiévez

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