Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.


Nels Cline: Destroy All Nels Cline!

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
The nihilistic title and imposing instrumentation on this disc might cause some on-the-fence listeners to cringe, or at the very least reach for the closest pair of earplugs. Others possessing ears familiar with the Cline brothers previous projects are likely to feel the tingle of an expectant grin cross their countenances. Four electric guitars and electric bass guitar, not to mention the drum kit of Alex Cline and the guest voices of Parkins and Peet—that’s a lot of juice feeding through the stacks and the potential is present for some serious wall-of-sound pyrotechnics. The spirit of electricity tapped and wielded by these improvisors virtually mandates fret board fireworks. From the sticky string lattice of “Spider Wisdom” to the closing flameout of “Matyr,” an elapse of nearly eighty minutes, this group tests the limits of their respective ‘axes’ and as well as their ability to balance harnessed power with measured release.

Success is shown conclusively in the creative sonorities invested in each track. Each one is a celebration of amp-driven guitar noise, with plenty of attention directed toward on devising the dirtiest, most fuzzed out tones possible. Those listeners looking for cleanly articulated single note runs are likely to have their ears boxed brutally by the pugnacious racket unleashed. Blistering scribbles alternate with segments of lyric gracefulness and while there are plenty of ear-flaying passages brimming with feedback there are also a fair number that reference quieter crannies of the group’s repertoire as on the at once brooding and hopeful “The Ringing Hand.” The effect when the ensemble of guitars is operating at full amp-rattling muster is often as if numerous radio dials and switches are collectively being tuned through a broadband range of arcane frequencies. Other oddball sounds also creep into the mix, such as the ghostly operatic voice of ‘Aunt Lily’ on “After Armenia” and Bozulich’s experiments on vocalizer during “Progression.”

“Chi Cagoan” is groove-infused at its inception, scuttling along over Mair’s deep bottom bass, but eventually immolates in a protracted onslaught of distortion-scorched discord. The start and stop stutter of “Talk of a Chocolate Bed” is beautifully unnerving, the group seeming to swerve in several different directions simultaneously. “As In Life,” a five-part suite crafted in homage to Horace Tapscott conjures fleeting aural images of Sonny Sharrock in its anthemically charged flirtations with blues and rock forms. Thoughtful to the end and for the benefit of those vexed by the prospect of discerning who’s playing what and when, Nels includes an annotated list of solos for each piece in the liners. Chalk this one up as a strong contender for most cogently executed electric improv album of 2001.

Track Listing: Spider Wisdom; Chicagoan; The Ringing Hand; Talk of a Chocolate Bed; After Armenia; Progression; As In Life; Friends of Snowman; Martyr.

Personnel: Woodward Lee Aplanalp: electric guitar; Carla Bozulich: electric guitar, sampling keyboard; Alex Cline: drumset, percussion; Nels Cline: electric guitars; Bob Mair: electric bass guitar; G.E. Stinson: electric guitars; Zeena Parkins: electric harp; Wayne Peet: Db clarinet, fake mellotron.

Title: Destroy All Nels Cline! | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Solano Canyon CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "You'll Never Know" CD/LP/Track Review You'll Never Know
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Flow" CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 20, 2017
Read "Promethean" CD/LP/Track Review Promethean
by David A. Orthmann
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Float Upstream" CD/LP/Track Review Float Upstream
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 26, 2017
Read "Thinking, Whistling" CD/LP/Track Review Thinking, Whistling
by Anthony Shaw
Published: December 6, 2017
Read "Concert Of The Century" CD/LP/Track Review Concert Of The Century
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: August 10, 2017