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The Sunbather

released Sept 16, 2022 (Hi4Head Records)

1. Joker Family Reunion

2. The Sunbather

3. Spinning Wheel

4. Slow Motion

5. The Alex Detector

6. Unatamam Seni

7. The Necklace

8. Trance Dance

9. It's Fine

10. Lost

11. The Birdcage

"A work of often searing beauty and intimidating presence that demands you to bask in its aura." -Michael Mayer, Broadway World

"The follow-up to 2020's acclaimed Thirteen Dances, the NYC saxophonist, technologist, dancer, and composer returns with a radiant, radical new release." -1st 3 Magazine

JOHNNY BUTLER returns in 2022 with the convention-shredding new album: ‘The Sunbather’ (out 16th September, via Hi4Head Records).

The follow-up to 2020’s critically acclaimed ‘Thirteen Dances’, the NYC saxophonist, technologist, dancer and composer returns with a radiant, radical new release. Comprising 11 songs of his pioneering brand of cosmic jazz, Butler delivers a concept album of maverick instrumentals tied together by a cryptic central protagonist known only as ‘The Sunbather’. As Butler explains: 

“The Sunbather does not soak in the sun, he lays in a bath of noise. The Sunbather is a dance, a film, a song, a person. He is me, of me, and not me at all.”

Like its predecessor, ‘Thirteen Dances’, all of the songs on ‘The Sunbather’ were performed by Butler in single takes using just a tenor saxophone, a handful of electronic devices, breathing techniques, and body movement (with the exception of “It’s Fine” - which was performed on a Korg Prologue). All of the music was also performed live with no edits, no overdubs, no samples, no loops, and no pre-recorded materials.

Alive with a palpable sense of drama and movement, nine of the eleven songs here were initially written for a number of dance productions staged throughout 2021. “Spinning Wheel” was written for Sleepwalkers, a dance-theatre work presented at The Visionary in Mount Vision, New York with dancer-choreographers Michelle Thompson Ulerich and Caleb Patterson. “The Necklace” was composed for Warriors, which premiered at The Visionary with dancer-choreographers Gwendolyn Gussman and Xenia Mansour and lighting designer Alex Taylor. “Unatamam Seni”, “It’s Fine”, “Lost,” and “The Birdcage” were all written for HOLDTIGHT’s immersive production What Keeps You Going, which took place at The Cell Theatre in Manhattan. “The Alex Detector”, “Slow Motion”, and “Joker Family Reunion” were composed for performances in Brooklyn and Manhattan with Alex Oliva.


Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Julian Picado and Francisco Gonzalez, November-December 2021
Photography by Jeremy Studdard Carroll, depicting The Sunbather (Johnny Butler) and Alex Oliva
The Sunbather costume by Allison Dyke