Old televisions screening work from auteurs,
dangling scissors, and an otherwise intricate set make up Jeffrey Butzerˇ¦s
stage. Without even hearing his music, it is clear the musician is indebted to
the cinema. After listening to a few minutes of his compositions, then, the ties
become even more apparent.
When played by the solo musician, Butzerˇ¦s music often
comes across as minimal, melodic French musette. Typically instrumental,
accordion, toy piano, bass drum, piano, and glockenspiel lead the songs into
succinct, poignant narratives. With this style and instrumentation, Butzer
has released two solo records, She Traded Her Leg (Lona, 2006) and The Garden of
Scissors (Lona, 2009), and has completed a record entitled Collapsible (Lona,
With his band, the Bicycle Eaters, Butzer maintains an
entirely different M.O. Comprised of Butzer on piano,
accordion, melodica and glockenspiel, as well as players on guitar, cello, bass
and percussion, the sound is closer to Ennio Morricone's spaghetti western
scores. The original songs are left intact, but rendered in a wholly unique
light, becoming more direct, intricate, and layered than the original
counterparts. This, of course, is by design. Jeffrey Butzer
& the Bicycle Eaters are releasing a debut 7ˇ¨ EP entitled Hiding Plastic Spiders
in early 2012.
Butzer alternates between performing solo and with his
full band. Every outing fits the occasion and occupies a specific place in a
personal show history. In other words, it is the unexpected which defines Butzerˇ¦s
shows. With his personal collection of songs regularly connected, altered, or
reworked, itˇ¦s as if the shows become more like movements.
Butzerˇ¦s recent work includes an album and US tour
with West End Motel featuring Brent Hinds (Mastodon) and Tom Cheshire (All Night
Drug Prowling Wolves, The Rent Boys), a soundtrack to Raymond Carrˇ¦s film Wild
is the WindˇXwhich will be re-released as a solo record entitled Sleepwalking
WinnipegˇXand a score for the play Peter Pan, which will be performed by the
Center for Puppetry Arts. He has ventured lately into the world of live scoring,
where he performs to Buster Keatonˇ¦s The Balloonatic.
Other notable achievements include touring China and Western Europe, a annual
sold-out performance of Vince Gauraldiˇ¦s A Charlie Brown Christmas, a
collaboration with Claire Lodge on a guitar album entitled Past Wansted Flats,
live collaborations with Molly Harvey (The Residents), and a score for Chris
Hefnerˇ¦s Birdcatcher, which earned him accolades from filmmaker Guy Maddin.