Andy Moor • electric guuitar
Thermal began as a trio in 2001.
Taking the sonic possibilities of their respective instruments (electric guitar, tenor and soprano saxophones and EMS synthesizer) through surprising and playful avenues, this is an exquisite example of the meeting of three experienced improvisers, each bringing to this exchange the perspective of their mixed musical backrounds.
The trio of John Butcher, Andy Moor and Thomas Lehn have played concerts all over Europe at major jazz and improvisation festivals and released their debut CD Thermal on the Unsounds label in 2003 which was selected by the Wire as one of the best Cds of that year.
© Joe Strobel
Thermal | Ice In A Hot World
THERMAL - Thermal
released 2003 on dutch label unsounds
www.unsounds.com | 04U | reviews | bandcamp
01. Thermal (5:00)
02. Once Gravity Strikes For Real (6:56)
03. Miss Universal Happiness (0:26)
04. Weak Alarm (1:47)
05. Tongue (1:48)
06. Broken Fighter Plane (8:09)
07. Pan Asian Love Buds (3:28)
08. Gongs Not Bombs (4:33)
09. Cat Funeral (1:49)
10. Quarry Traffic (1:48)
11. Imperfect Vehicle (4:31)
12. Graphite (1:21)
13. Teeth (6:41)
14. Thomas Builds A Shelter (2:06)
Recorded in 2001 by Zlaya Sagovic at Studio One at OT301, Amsterdam.
Mixed and mastered by Andy Moor and John Butcher. Cover artwork by Isabelle Vigier.
THERMAL - Ice In A Hot World
released March 2023 on dutch label unsounds
www.unsounds.com | 78U | reviews
01. Dreams Are Fraying (12:56)
02. Autumn Fireflies (17:34)
03. Echoes of a Clucking Tongue (15:12)
04. Back to Vapour (3:46)
05. Ice in a Hot World (6:06)
All compositions by John Butcher (PRS), Andy Moor (PRS) and Thomas Lehn (GEMA).
All tracks recorded by Bruno Levée on 8th February 2020 at AJMI, Avignon, France.
Mixed by Thomas Lehn, mastered by Andy Moor.
Cover photo by Andy Moor, design by Isabelle Vigier.
Production Unsounds 2023. Album release March 2023..
visit Thermal on John Butcher's website
homepage John Butcher
wikipedia page Andy Moor
© Barka Fabiánová
audio / video
listen to the CD Thermal on bandcamp
watch video of the concert at festival ArtActs 2016 in St. Johann/Austria
watch video of concert at Area Sismica in Forli/Italy in January 2017
watch video by Barka Fabianová of the concert Prague in March 2016
© Barka Fabiánová
Thermal meshes horizons and welds disparate trajectories. It’s a highly persuasive point of access to the work of all three musicians. … One of the most thrilling improv outings released this year so far.
Julian Cowley, The Wire
… it looks like the trio was created by a computer, such is the perfect disposition of sounds, minds and absolute respect for one another… Andy Moor has his strings going from a rusty scrape to an ethereal drone of adjacent tones, while Lehn gets incredibly various manifestations from his analogue EMS synthesizer, resulting maybe in the most creative synthetist in recent and not so recent years; Thomas literally puts to shame the ones who use Oberheims and Wavestations for a single low note… . But something must be said for many sax players, because after they'll experience John Butcher's talent, his multiphonic control, his dynamics domination, the beauty of his 'regular' (??) tone – well, they won't be missed when they'll finally put their instrument away, together with their dusty Real Books.
Massimo Ricci | Touching Extremes
Saxophonist John Butcher is often frustratingly associated with the so-called micro-improv end of the spectrum, but there's nothing he likes nor does better than getting caught up in a bout of hard blowing; he's just as adept at screeching upper registers as he is at squeezing out delicate multiphonics, and this outing on guitarist Andy Moor's label Unsounds gives him plenty of opportunity to do both. Moor, who started out in Dog Faced Hermans before joining Dutch punk group The Ex nine years ago and relocating to Amsterdam, reveals himself as an improv guitarist to watch; his background in rock means he has no qualms about laying down the odd motoric riff ("Once Gravity Strikes For Real"), coming at the instrument from a different angle from the "usual" post-jazz techniques of Messrs Bailey, Russell et al. Thomas Lehn is in his element, conjuring forth a veritable electrical storm of blurts, zaps and fizzes from his analogue synthesizer, and giving it a good pounding to boot (dig the spring reverb), but "Thermal" is no mere brutal slugfest - far from it - behind the grit and the sweat there's a cunning sense of complicity and cogent sense of structure. A trio of tiny tracks ("Miss Universal Happiness", "Weak Alarm" and "Tongue") reveal that the trio is perfectly able to handle small forms too. Only complaint: the cover photo, which I imagine is supposed to represent a cloud, or a puff of smoke (but in fact somewhat resembles a map of France) - surely not the appropriate image for music as strong and sinewy as this.
CD Thermal review by Dan Warburton | Paris Transatlantic
… While the local improv snobs muttered tetchily at the bar - yes, dangerous music like this is far removed from the ideological purity favoured by several locals - the group lurched forward, frequently ending up in some pretty wild territory (especially for Butcher, who seemed nevertheless to be enjoying his experiments with howling feedback), but always managed to step back from the edge of all-out Borbetomagus madness. Ex guitarist Moor was quite restrained by his standards, but Lehn was in his element, his synth crackling merrily away, spitting out molten shards of metallic percussiveness. Not unsurprisingly perhaps, the overall result was less polished than the album, but in terms of sheer risk - the trio managed to box themselves into some scary corners on a number of occasions, and had to come out fighting - it certainly made a welcome change from the rather predictable fare sometimes dished up here, where gigs are so thin on the ground that improvising musicians are compelled to club together into a kind of mutual admiration society, rarely if ever doing anything that's likely to capsize the boat.
concert review by Dan Warburton | Paris Transatlantic
Thermal is the free improvisation trio of idiosyncratic sax player John Butcher, The Ex’ guitarist Andy Moor (and the head of the Unsounds label) and vintage analog synth wizard Thomas Lehn. Thermal was formed in 2001 as these three imaginative musicians who come from different musical backgrounds wanted to evolve along their personal routes to meet in free improvisations. The trio released its debut, self-titled album in 2003, and twenty years later its follow-up, Ice In A Hot World, that was recorded at AJMI in Avignon, France, in February 2020.
The dynamics of Thermal focus on spontaneous risk-taking and intuition and offers urgent, subtle and explosive sonic collisions of the distinct voices that betray all expectations. The tenor and soprano saxes with Butcher’s extended breathing techniques and his playing with feedback and extreme acoustics often transform these instruments into wind machines. The highly inventive usage of the vintage analog synth that often sounds like an unworldly noise machine and the jangled guitar lines of Moor. Twenty years of working together, and in other formats, turned Thermal into a powerful and intrepid unit, always searching for uncompromising, mysterious and unchartered sonic frontiers. Quite often it is difficult to know who produces which sounds, as most of Thermal’s sounds are unconventional and arresting and the trio weaves them into haunting textures, developed with their own accord and their own inner logic. But sometimes it surprises with a fleeting, lyrical but distorted melody like the one Butcher articulates in «Autumn Fireflies». The last, title piece even takes Thermal into a twisted dervish dance before taking its interplay into a magnificent meltdown. Hopefully, we will not have to age in another twenty years before we may enjoy the third album of this great trio.
CD Ice In A Hot World review by Eyal Hareuveni | salt peanuts
photo © Ariele Monti
CD Release Tour Ice In A Hot World
Wed. March 29, Cologne @ Stadtgarten
Thu. March 30, Stuttgart @ stromraum
Fri. March 31, Saarbrücken @ FreeJazzFestival Saarbrücken
photo © Andy Moor
updated on March 28, 2023