MARK WINGFIELD & GARY HUSBAND, Tor & Vale (MoonJune Records, 2019)
PERSONNEL: Mark Wingfield (guitar, soundscapes); Gary Husband (acoustic piano)
- The Golden Thread
- Night Song
- Tor & Vale
- Shape of Light
- Silver Sky
ALBAN & CEDRIC THEYS, Sirius (Mad Ducks Records, 2019)
PERSONNEL: Alban Theys (drums, percussion, sampling, programming); Cedric Theys (U8 touch guitar); Adrian Benavides (sound design)
While recorded in two different locations by four different musicians and released on two different labels, one cannot help but feel a bit of musical kinship between the albums released by Mark Wingfield and Gary Husband (Tor & Vale) and the Theys brothers, Alban and Cedric (Sirius). Both albums tackle the sounds of the ambient and electronic, even as they come at it from slightly different angles.
The soaring wails and cries springing forth from Wingfield’s guitar are unmistakable, and have established him as a most valued commodity in the prog/jazz world. Adding his voice to that of a legend in pianist Gary Husband (who has played alongside musical stalwarts Allan Holdsworth and John McLaughlin, among countless others, as keyboardist and drummer) makes for a most fascinating duet. That they make this music without the aid of a true rhythm section makes it all the more fascinating. Wingfield’s tone — normally blunted and held within the mix by bass and drums — is now allowed to float away effortlessly while Husband’s piano holds down the middle. He fires off authoritative chords and graceful single-note lines that augment the guitarist’s lines beautifully.
The Theys brothers also play within the ethereal ambient, albeit with a heavier backbeat. Alban provides marvelous grooves and augmentations to Cedric’s previously recorded touch-guitar improvisations, which were recorded live. From Brussels, Alban added additional percussion sounds and various noises, while Cedric added U8 sounds from his home in Austin. Together, they create a sound that fits perfectly in both the foreground and the background, depending on the listener’s needs.
Both albums capture the joy that comes from two people interacting musically on the highest level, whether they were in the same room or not. For Wingfield and Husband, this chemistry enabled them to improvise three full-length pieces on the album, totaling nearly 38 minutes. The Theys brothers also put on display the importance of listening to your musical partner, as each gives the other what is needed in the right place at the right time, creating a poignant sound of musical symbiosis not easily achieved by the musically selfish.
Both albums also possess an “out” kind of sound, not easily grasped by those not paying attention. These are albums meant to demand the listener’s complete attention and focus. Only then can said listener be taken on the journey being navigated within these two albums. They are adventures well worth taking.
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