Published Jul 09, 2019Despite canonically important contributions to 20th century minimalism and contemporary music, in speaking on his recent collaborations with his guitarist/composer son Gyan, Terry Riley has claimed: "Nothing I have done in this life has given me more satisfaction than improvising on these songs with Gyan. Nothing I have done can match the intuitive synchronicity we have shared on the stage."
The second live release from the duo, Way Out Yonder, documents spontaneous improvisations and performances the duo gave in Canada, Japan and the U.S. It was originally released in 2018 but is now receiving its first pressing as a double LP via ORG Music.
The album bears many of the elder Riley's signatures — pulsing, repeated motifs; interlocked modules; an overall open-endedness — but is immediately distinct, in that it is interspersed with shocks of expressionism and is generally more vernacular than pedagogical. On the opening sort-of title track "Out Yonder," as Terry sets things spinning with what sounds like a prepared piano, Gyan adds effected guitar flourishes, suddenly striking louder notes while presumably detuning his instrument. Jarring at first, as the pair continue their extended call-and-response, the repeated insistence tends to dissolve into the landscape.
"Garden of Earthly Delights" is a shorter offering of sublime electronics, bendy yawns and bubbly ring modulations interrupting violin-like quivers, while "Dark Queen" matches Gyan's minimalist guitar with a dazzling piano jaunt from Terry before inverting the dynamic.
Elsewhere, Terry's melodica playing takes on a lyrical quality against the dreamy backdrop of his son's guitar on "Folk Song," while "Deep Night" offers up raga vocals that reach back to Terry's 1970 encounter with Pandit Pran Nath.
Comfortably locked in, it's an album speaking to a shared lifetime of experiences, father and son often bringing out the best in each other. (Org)