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Nels Cline and Devin Sarno: Buried on Bunker Hill

Rex  Butters By

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Nels Cline and Devin Sarno celebrate ten years of creating sonic solar flares with Buried on Bunker Hill , their first collaborative sound sculpture to use multi tracks rather than live performance. The fuller sound creates roaring electric soundscapes with cascading loops and rumble, an orchestra of ohms. Their drones tend more toward majestic than tedious, and they show themselves adept at generating momentum within seemingly static musical frameworks.

"Swinging London" journeys through ambient to intense, a hollow roar the only firmament. Barbed wire feedback screech plays against sweet circus organ chord, occasionally looped. Shredding guitar roar hits and sticks with swelling feedback sprouts. As with all the tracks, a palpable rising and falling suggests respiratory rhythm. Buried in the aural lava flow, Cline plays fireworks guitar, tearing through a catalogue of fast moving noise, while everything from the bass up hums.

The only brief track, "Hydrofoil," sounds at times like a fifties sci fi movie soundtrack. Backwards guitar joins transitory sound textures and several echo effects. A long piercing fanfare opens "A Knot in the Wrist," and quickly cools down. Soon enough the action turns into a buzz saw inside a jet engine. They unleash a storm of resonance that sustains and changes.

The easy gray world in "Only Peace" features ambient hum with hints of Jon Hassell, ornamented with light string shimmer and strong sparse guitar phrases.

At times reminiscent of the Death Cube K series of collaborations between Bill Laswell and Buckethead, Buried on Bunker Hill documents the intuitive ease of Cline and Sarno, while giving the guitarist a chance to flex his avant-garde chops before taking over as guitarist for Wilco.


Track Listing: Swinging London; Hydrofoil; A Knot in the Wrist; Only Peace.

Personnel: Nels Cline, guitar, effects; Devin Sarno, bass, effects.

Title: Buried on Bunker Hill | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Ground Fault


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