This album is “Outside” – the wild spontaneous nature of our music, “The Maze” – the complex environment in which we all live. This music invites you to step ‘outside the maze’, and to hear music from a unique and fascinating perspective.
Free improv presents an ultimate test for any musician. It requires a total commitment to live in the moment while being acutely sensitive to, and mindful of, the other players and listening carefully in order to find one’s place in what is inevitably an ambiguous sonic situation as it unfolds, develops and ends as a completed piece.
We sincerely hope that you will share the same sense of adventure that we, as the performers, shared in making this music.
Bill Gilliam: piano
Eugene Martynec: electroacoustics
Bill McBirnie: flute / alto flute
Produced by: Bill Gilliam, Eugene Martynec & Bill McBirnie
Engineering / Mixing/ Mastering: Gary Honess, Khul Muzik, Toronto, Ontario
Cover Image: Abstract futuristic motion lines on horizontal surface by Mobilee
Layout / Design: Ambrose Pottie, Castleton, Ontario
MEDIA COMMENTS & REVIEWS (MAY, JUNE, JULY 2023)
The quality that most separates Outside the Maze from the norm is its once-in-a-lifetime idiosyncratic chemistry and synergy. No other three musicians could collaborate in such a way and achieve such remarkable results in such an unusual instrumental configuration. Bill Gilliam, Eugene Martynec, and Bill McBirnie hit a higher creative zenith than ever before with this usual collection. HEATHER SAVAGE (Top Buzz Magazine)
In collaboration with electroacoustic player Eugene Martynec and piano player Bill Gilliam,[McBirnie’s] recent output ranks among the finest in his career. Together, they create spontaneous compositions relying on little else beyond their innate interplay to make the performances work…It all seizes upon the moment without pretension…Even the most skeptical listener will be entranced by their power. CHADWICK EASTON (Melody Maker Magazine)
Bill Gilliam, Eugene Martynec and Bill McBirnie’s improv approach in this trio format is an unmitigated success, thanks to the musician’s willingness to take chances, listen to each other, and respond accordingly. All three are without doubt virtuosos. McBirnie’s flute, Martynec’s electroacoustics, and Gilliam’s piano speak directly to listeners without ever sacrifcing their artistic self respect or losing the listener. They…check their egos at the door and play as one…Outside the Maze defies description!… COLIN JORDAN (Medium.com)
These are not traditional compositions, but rather the result of inspired improvisation that clearly avoids any of the self-indulgent nonsense that you might associate with working in such a way. It never sounds slapdash. Rather, it boasts real polish, without ever sounding wayward…It is impressive how seamlessly it all comes together…They make coherence a top priority. Balancing all of these competing elements in a free-flowing framework is a real eye opener…A spellbinding release! NICOLE KILLIAN (The Mob’s Press)
Outside the Maze, consists of ten diverse tracks, no two of which alike. While the piano and the flutes (both C and alto) are pretty much distinguishable throughout, Martynec’s contributions range from atmospheric to percussive. At times, it is hard to imagine that his convincing sounds are not being created on physical drums and cymbals; at others it’s hard to imagine what their origins might be. It’s also hard to imagine that these cohesive “compositions” are being created spontaneously in real time, without premeditation or formal structure. The results are entrancing. DAVID OLDS (Editor’s Choice, WholeNote Magazine)
Those who are inclined to dismiss instrumental music driven by piano and flute as easy-listening tripe will do well to give the new release from Gilliam/ Martynec/ McBirnie, Outside the Maze, a close listen. The trio enlarges the possibilities of instrumental music in ways that will surely surprise and delight even the most cynical listener…It is evocative and accessible, and without ever flaunting its musically iconoclastic approach…It’s all an impressive mix of the familiar and the improbable that works, from beginning to end…They manage to achieve a near orchestral quality, portraying something that approaches the endless expanse of space…These are musicians who, rather than adhering to the status quo, take real chances—and they produce a result that is one of the most offbeat, yet enduring, instrumental releases in recent memory. MARK DRUERY (IndieShark Music Magazine – Pick of the Week –Nomination for Album of the Year)