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Cory Smythe

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Review by Gary Hill

The music here, like on the previous release from Cory Smythe I reviewed, is decidedly freeform and experimental. The first part of the album features additional instruments and musicians, while the later half is just Smythe's piano. That said, much of that piano is not traditional in usage, so you might see references that seem to indicate it's not just piano. The fact is, it is, but it's not the kind piano you expect. This music isn't all that well-suited for track-by-track reviews, but since that's how MSJ reviews are set up, that's how it's done.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Liquiform 1
Strange experimental music is the concept here. It has an often sparse arrangement. Noisy horn and piano interplay takes over later. It gets pretty crazed.
Combustion 1
More weird freeform sound is on the menu here. This is not a big change, but it does seem less tentative.
Liquiform 2
Again, no huge departure, this does manage some weird almost electronic-sounding space moments on some of the mellower parts.
Combustion 2
Strange space brings this in. We get some sung vocals as this gets into a bit more of a cohesive, yet still freeform and strange, jazzy arrangement. The instrumental movement later gets noisier and more involved.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes 1
This has a tendency toward the mellower end of the spectrum. It's no less strange, though.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes 2
Coming in stripped back, this gradually gets a little louder. There is an unsettling sort of feeling to this. It seems dangerous.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes 3
The piano is prominent here. The overall road-map isn't greatly changed, though. Of course, that means, the lack of road-map. At over eleven-and-a-half-minutes of music, this is the epic of the set. It gets pretty loud and crazed later along the road.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes 4
There is a weird percussive nature to this piece of experimental sound.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes 5

More melodic, but still rather sparse and definitely freeform, this moves the concepts along.    

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes 6
The piano gets louder and more dramatic on this one.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes 7
The general concept isn't altered much, but when it's this freeform, there really is no danger of anything feeling redundant in any way. This has some spacey moments for sure.
 
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