Nick Butcher: Guitar Machine (WMD006)

by Nick Butcher



To appreciate what Nick Butcher does, it helps if you know a few things.

1) Nick only uses old and broken things to make sounds: ancient dictation and GE cassette recorders, first-generation Casio keyboards, a nylon-stringed guitar with only four strings, and cassettes he's unscrewed, cut, looped, and taped back together by hand.
2) When performing, Nick plays a recording from one of the cassettes, then records that on another half-broken machine, creating a loop, then re-records both of them to create yet another loop, slowly repeating the process with various tapes and instruments (the aforementioned guitar, wind chimes, a small bell), carefully pressing the clicky and creaky buttons on his machines as quietly as he can.
3) When Nick starts playing, he does so with very little idea about how these various sounds he create will fit together, or if they will at all. This particular recording captures Nick in performance at the Swanson Reed Contemporary, an art gallery in the East Market District of Louisville, KY, playing shows on his way to Austin, TX for SXSW, and having heard many of Nick's shows around this time, I can attest to the fact that this was a special one.
4) Nick is an amazing visual artist, and you should check out the work of he and Nadine Nakanishi, who operate in Chicago under the name Sonnenzimmer (
5) Nick is from Tennessee.
6) Nick has two releases on the fabulous Hometapes label, The Complicated Bicycle and Bee Removal. The former was packaged in a 28-page, handprinted book made by Nick, and got a great review in The Wire, and the new one was pressed on white vinyl. White vinyl is the noisiest type of vinyl.
7) All those clicks you hear are Nick pressing buttons, and the "whoosh" sounds are his feet as he moves in between artifacts on the table in front of him. You can also occasionally hear the gallery door opening and closing, people breathing, and various other human sounds.
8) This will take you time to listen to, and patience. It's not for everybody.


released February 16, 2015

Recorded live at Swanson Gallery, Louisville, KY, 3/10/07.



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West Main Development Baltimore, Maryland

West Main Development is the B-sides label, specializing in singles and EP’s, mostly. Most of what we release wouldn’t see the light of day otherwise - throwaways, one-off collaborations, covers, live recordings - and we specialize in catching artists we love during these, their most unguarded moments. ... more

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