One Track Mind: Johnny Butler, “Macaroni Dip” (2014)

Earlier this year, outlier saxophonist Johnny Butler made an EP titled Raise It Up, pulling most everything from the pantry and throwing it into a logic board-laden blender. This time, he’s back with just one song, but no matter, he’s stuffing that one song full of originality and befuddling music critics who try to slot it into some genre or compare it to some other musician.

As usual, whenever you might think Butler might run out of ideas, he comes up with a new one. For “Macaroni Dip,” he brings in Jackson Kincheloe from Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds (a vintage style RnB horn band for which Butler has recorded) on harmonica. Kincheloe’s country-folk blues harp instantly adds some hillbilly to Butler’s odd alchemy of EDM, hip-hop and bebop.

It’s like a string and jug band without the strings or the jug, replaced by technologically produced sounds and a technologically assisted saxophone that’s sampled and looped and contorted who knows how else. And yes, I’m befuddled, too, but fascinated.

The trippy quotient is raised ever higher by the video the French film director Héloïse Haddad made for the song. I won’t bother to break that down, just view the vid above and let your own eyes try to make sense out of that. That said, it’s probably safe to state that Haddad does to videos what Butler does to music: keep the audience engaged by giving them what they don’t expect. And stay weird.

Johnny Butler stays weird, but as long as he stays madly inventive as well, I’m going to stick around.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is a CPA and mid-level data analyst for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.