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«Outermission» is the first recorded duet of British, Amsterdam-based drummer George Hadow and Belgian guitarist Dirk Serries. Hadow works primarily in the field of free-improvisation and jazz, studied with legendary drummer Han Bennink and reeds player Michael Moore, collaborates frequently with sax player John Dikeman, guitarists Terrie Hessels and Andy Moor of The Ex and bass player Gonçalo Almeida and plays in the Blue Lines Trio. Prolific Serries began to explore in recent years free-improvised music after many years of exploring ambient and drone soundscapes. He recorded last year his first solo album of purely improvised material, «Etched Above The Bow Grip» (Raw Tonk Records, 2016). Hadow and Serries collaborated before on the live recording, «Live at Zaal 100» (Nachtstück Records, 2016), with Dikeman, trumpeter Luís Vicente and double bass player Martina Verhoeven.

«Outermission» was recorded in the Sunny Side Inc. Studio, Anderlecht, Belgium on February 2016, and as all Raw Tonk Records it is a DIY release. Serries did the mastering and label owner, sax player Colin Webster did the artwork. The 11 concise duets are raw and immediate, presenting Hadow and Serries searching for common ground, but very often refusing to subscribe to any form of structure, narrative or pulse. This restless format adds an element of danger and risk taking and stresses the explosive potential of these two fearless improvisers. But most of the time it is devoid of any possibility of resolution or the option of nurturing a musical idea beyond few, fleeting seconds.

The exceptional pieces here are the ones that don’t follow this format. The reserved and patient «Out», «Open» and «Remission», where Serries bridges his rich musical universes – past and present ones – and suggests enigmatic soundscapes, while Hadow colors beautifully and cleverly these cinematic pieces. Or «Apart» and «Night» that sound as touching the noisy, improvised territories of The Ex, still, without the infectious rhythmic drive of The Ex.

Eyal Hareuveni

George Hadow (dr), Dirk Serries (g)

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