by: Thomas D. Mooney
Lubbock music duo, Outlier, has officially released their latest album (October 20), the instrumental nine-track album, PianoViolin. As the title suggests, the album consists of beautiful arrangements on piano and violin by guitarist-pianist Anthony Garcia and violinist Melanie Lenau.
PianoViolin is the follow-up to Outlier’s previous two albums, 2014’s Live in Berlin and 2013’s Outlier. While Garcia and Lenau’s musical prowess shined brightly on Berlin and Outlier, here the two demonstrate their ability to meld their instruments together in classic elegance, opulence, and to this high of a degree. Throughout the 37-minutes, they weave the piano and violin together without losing their individual characteristics. In ways, PianoViolin is a dance between Garcia and Lenau.
Where in the past, the influence of Ennio Morricone, Spanish guitar, Spaghetti Western soundtracks reigned supreme, here the duo pick up their cues and nod at classical arrangements and film scores from contemporaries such as Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network), and Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford), and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead (There Will Be Blood, The Master)–and it’s not just with the excellent cover of Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For a Film)” either.
On “Hummingbird I” and Hummingbird II (The Storm),” there’s racing escalation and sharp drop-offs that soar with Lenau’s violin. Here, she pierces with her bow. It’s up close and intimate while Garcia’s piano creates the sprawling landscape that we’ve grown accustomed to in the past. On tracks “The Lorelei,” and specifically, “Old Sea” they create one of their gloomy and melancholy masterpiece. But, despite the overcast tones, there’s still this slight and subtle optimism that’s just below the surface.
In contrast to their previous work as Outlier, PianoViolin is a solemn side-step for the duo. By being instrumental throughout, some will dismiss it as “background music,” without ever appreciating the exploration of underlying feeling and mood that Garcia and Lenau achieve on PianoViolin. While it can be more difficult to digest those thoughts that Outlier is unfolding without a lyrical element, they’re still as present as ever.
Listen to “Hummingbird I” below.
01. Ruidoso Prelude
03. Hummingbird I
04. Hummingbird II (The Storm)
05. Summer Days
06. Exit Music (For a Film)
07. The Lorelei
08. Old Sea
09. Les Chants de Maldoror