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Album Review

Paul G. Smyth & John Wiese: The Outlier

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Paul G. Smyth & John Wiese: The Outlier
The Outlier! by Paul G. Smyth and John Wiese is an ambient recording. No, it's a free improvisation set, or could it be industrial sound or noise? Yes, and yes again. Recorded before an audience in The National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland, this duo brings together pianist and Weekertoft Records label chief Smyth with the American electronics artist Wiese for a 53 minute continuous improvisation. Smyth's piano and prepared piano have been heard in the company of improvising luminaries such as Peter Brötzmann, Evan Parker, John Russell, Chris Corsano, Charles Gayle, Rachel Musson, and Wadada Leo Smith. Wiese is a maestro of noise, performs with the grindcore project Sissy Spacek, and with artists such as Merzbow, Thurston Moore, Sunn O))), and Wolf Eyes.

How did their varied backgrounds inform this set? Quite well, in fact. The performances of both artists gravitate towards the other's style. Smyth's prepared piano acts as a noise generator, distributing percussive wave upon wave, and Wiese's electronics surf those waves with an ambient sound. The pair seem to agree (mostly) on their approach here. They cooperate to create a unified sound, sometimes gentle ambience and at other times industrial noise. The insides of Smyth's piano often parallel Wiese's electronics as a sound generator. Smyth's piano can be both percussive and metallic, with Wiese processing fragments which can confuse one as to which artist is making which sound. All that is credit to a great improvising duo.

Track Listing

The Outlier!.

Personnel

Paul G. Smyth: piano; John Wiese: electronics.

Album information

Title: The Outlier | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Weekertoft

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