“One of music’s most ingenious and eccentric personalities.”
John Zorn, Tzadik records, 10/97

“..a crazy instrument builder who can get virtuoso riffs from anything.”
Kyle Gann, The Village Voice, 12/29/92

“Ken Butler’s work is enormously interesting, particularly his idea of recycling and giving voice to found objects.”
Laurence Libin, curator of musical instruments at The Metropolitan Museum, The New York Times, 6/12/94

“It’s not just that Ken Butler knows how to bow stringed parade rifles, play dental dams like trumpets, and construct keyboards from aluminum crutches, it’s that he knows how to play them well.”
Neil Strauss, The Village Voice, 5/14/91

Bumbershoot Festival, Seattle, 1985   Performing Garage, NYC, 1993    


The artist/musician performs mesmerizing world trance textures and driving melodic gypsy grooves on an amazing arsenal of amplified hybrid string instruments made from household objects and tools. Duchampian Dada meets Hybrid Hindu Hendrix.
Ken Butler is an astonishing performer who delivers fiery world-infused compositions not unlike a Hindu avatar coming to “burn the midnight lamp”. With releases on John Zorn’s Tzadik label he has established his reputation across the globe as a pioneer of guitar and dental hygeine. Expect to gain a new appreciation for hockey sticks and snow shovels.
Function and form collide as audio-visual antics and explorations create a provoking cultural portrait of man/machine adaptation and transformation.
Assemblages of hammers, hockey sticks, tennis rackets, golf clubs, and brooms become (when amplified) violin, guitar, and cello-like instruments with multiple playing surfaces and a diverse range of percussive (and assorted odd) sounds as well as those produced by the strings.


"Insects and Anxious Objects," The Kitchen, NYC, 1996

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"Household Exotica," The Brooklyn Museum, 1999