How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
A caveat to anyone who listens to this record on headphones: be sure to have the volume levels properly calibrated, or you will incur a jolt from the initial skronk of "Lake of Fire Memories. At this point of the opening strains of Immolation/Immersion, most traditionalists will probably opt out of this musical journey, which includes the 28-minute title track. This disc is not for everyoneand like an Ornette Coleman or John Zorn record, it has no intentions of being so. That said, it would be a shame simply to dismiss this sprawling work as just noise, for that adhesive description could barely begin to unravel the layers in these compositions.
The five pieces were all recorded in one day by Nels Cline (guitar), Wally Shoup (alto sax) and Chris Corsano (drums). Taken as a whole, they gradually reveal a meandering soundscape that often hints and occasionally explodes. The abstract quality of Immolation/Immersion requires patience above all else, until the climactic "Beard of Pine, when the trio builds and builds into a crescendo, bubbling over with the disc's overall sonic motif. Shoup provides the most melodic narrative of the trio, underscored by the inimitable Cline's barrage of effects and dissonance.
Cline, an incredibly dexterous guitarist's guitarist, has worked in a wide range of genres. In addition to the free jazz community, he has gained acclaim in the indie rock world by playing with the likes of Wilco, Mike Watt and Sonic Youth, among others. He has appeared on several albums, including releases by the Nels Cline Singers and a reinterpretation of late-period Coltrane on Interstellar Space Revisited (Atavistic, 1999) with Gregg Bendian. Immolation/Immersion will only further cement his burgeoning legend.
Track Listing: Lake of Fire Memories; Immolation/Immersion; Minus Mint; Beard of Pine; Ghost Bell Canto.
Personnel: Nels Cline: electric guitar, effects; Wally Shoup: alto saxophone; Chris Corsano: drums, wires.