Wally Shoup, None of this is Implausible


Obscure & Terrible, April 2023


None of This Is Implausible is a record worth listening to twice in a row on your first sitting: once to take in the greater soundscapes, and then again with a magnifying glass and a fine-tooth comb. Spontaneously recorded in the winter of 2020, it features Wally Shoup (saxophone), Greg Kelley (trumpet), Tom Scully (guitar), and Casey Adams (drums), with Dustin Williams at the help of engineering and post-recording production. Each track is its own world for you to inhabit. 

Take, for example, the opener, “Not Really Now Not Anymore.” There are full minutes of dank, textural, and metallic environments that envelop you before musical identity begins to give way. Shoup is the first to out himself, and next Adams’ whole kit comes into focus. Scully’s guitar tones begin to dance to the forefront with Kelley’s trumpet decorating like ephemera. But if you listen again from the beginning, with a keen ear, you can parse the sounds. Kelley is holding sheet metal against the bell of his trumpet, a sound that once identified by a knowing listener evokes the imagery of Kelley himself. Someone wielding electricity is invariably responsible for the sounds of the Upside Down that sink into your shoulders.

The record’s title track offers a similarly haunting and otherworldly feeling, established by hanging gongs and drones and the solo cries of Shoup’s saxophone, giving way to animalistic group improvisation before returning to drone. Shoup’s final calls into the ether evoke a sonic sacrifice upon a granite slab.

While these two tracks align in shape and timbre, the two that remain come with different offerings. “Shivering in a Warm Room” offers traditional sounds in equal participation — there is no “star” of this show, this is not a rhythm section backing up horns. Every player is present, all ears are open. The closer, “The Wrecking Process,” is both loud and thoughtful in equal measure and pleasure. As a package, this record is both a perfect encapsulation of free improvisation in Seattle and an honest portrayal of these particular musicians and their personal tastes and artistic backgrounds. Beyond that, it is an incredible artifact of its time — to the point and without a moment to lose.


Posted on

August 28, 2023