Review: DJG & Playworker – Tired Out (Outsider Art, Oct 29)

The U.K.-based Outsider Art label continues to consistently impress with both musical curation and visual aesthetic (I’ve written before about how tired and casually offensive the classic “noise art” style has become, so it’s great to see it refreshed and repurposed in such an appealing way) with their most recent batch of releases, which dropped on October 29—and though there’s not a dud among them, my favorite of the new tapes has to be Tired Out, the short but savage duo collaboration between Aylesbury “object botherer” Daniel J. Gregory and OA veteran Playworker. To me, Gregory’s greatest strength is the nuance and micro-drama with which he imbues his restless, chaotic movement of whatever pile of tabletop- or floor-strewn miscellany is the current flavor(s), and it’s not much of a leap to assume these idiosyncrasies may be lost in the caustic torrent of maxed-out-levels junk noise, but that assumption would be wrong. Opening cut (and that word choice is much more apt than usual) “Torn Out” immediately demonstrates the double-edged blade of complexity and brutishness that’s in store for anyone who puts this tape on with its gloriously grating squall that sounds like an industrial blender full of loose machine parts shredding itself to pieces while someone below (or above?) works on the motor with a power drill. For all of its brash cacophony, though, Tired Out has a well-implemented quieter side that surfaces in the downtime of longer tracks “Ripped Out” and “Tired Out,” cold electronic tones and gently agitated scrap metal that make the inevitable return of the noise (whether that’s in the form of the next track or the first as you replay it over again) even more cathartic.

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