167

Nels Cline/Andrea Parkins/Tom Rainey: Out Trios Volume Three: Ash and Tabula

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Nels Cline/Andrea Parkins/Tom Rainey: Out Trios Volume Three: Ash and Tabula Guitarist Nels Cline sure does get around. In the past few months we've seen the release of the latest Nels Cline Singers disc, The Giant Pin ; a collaboration with Vinny Golia, The Entire Time ; and a quasi-ambient duet with bassist Devin Sarno, Buried on Bunker Hill. This, in addition to hitting the road with Wilco, makes Cline one very busy boy. As if that weren't enough, he has a new album of adventurous soundscapes with accordionist/keyboardist Andrea Parkins and drummer Tom Rainey. Ash and Tabula may not appeal to fans of more structured music, but for those who can open their ears and embrace music as a textural affair that doesn't have to rely on fixed rhythmic or melodic conceits, it makes for a remarkably varied and rewarding listen.

People can be easily frightened away from music classified as free improvisation or, as some prefer it, spontaneous composition. Without a specific harmonic or rhythmic centre, things can be just too abstract, too oblique. And all too often this kind of record has a certain uniformity of intent that makes for a monotonous experience. But by opening the mind to the possibility of stretching the boundaries of conventional instruments, and listening to the music as much with the eyes as the ears, the kind of music that Cline, Parkins and Rainey make can be highly evocative. And whereas some trios work within restricted confines of ambience and timbre, this one creates a wide breadth of sound and style, concept and texture.

"Ruination" starts things off on an anarchistic note, with Parkins and Cline pulling ever-increasing layers of noise from their instruments while Rainey, one of the most capable listeners in free jazz today, feeds off their chaos, building the intensity to an almost ear-shattering level. "Lower Story" builds on the chaos, with Cline's effects-laden guitar and Parkins' dark organ held together loosely by Rainey's sometimes metronomic, other times highly irregular rhythms.

In contrast to these edgier pieces, "Alleys of North America," which begins with Parkins' abstract piano and Cline's chordal swells, is a more spacious piece that conjures images of dark and dangerous corners. "Poem in an Ashtray" straddles the line between mysterious introspection and more direct expressionism.

But what distinguishes this from some free recordings is the chemistry that Cline, Parkins and Rainey clearly share. Even at its most obscure, there's a sense that the players are working off rather than against each other. Rainey, in particular, demonstrates the kind of intuitive inner logic that has made him so essential to the music of Tim Berne over the past eight years. And while he works with a more strictly organic instrument, avoiding all use of effects and electronics, he manages to squeeze out sounds that are surprisingly diverse.

Ash and Tabula is a daring recording, proving that three like-minded artists can create, from the humblest beginnings, a rich and unlikely record that, while clearly challenging, has much to offer the intrepid listener.

Visit Nels Cline and Andrea Parkins on the web. Also see AAJ's recent Nels Cline interview .

Track Listing: Ruination; Lower Story; Alleys of North America; Poem in an Ashtry; Pearly Turbo; Raptor; Problem Child

Personnel: Nels Cline (guitar, effects), Andrea Parkins (accordion, effects, piano, electric keyboards), Tom Rainey (drums)

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Reflections CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Back In Your Own Backyard CD/LP/Track Review Back In Your Own Backyard
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin' CD/LP/Track Review Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Through The Glass CD/LP/Track Review Through The Glass
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Circles CD/LP/Track Review Circles
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Perihelion" CD/LP/Track Review Perihelion
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 21, 2016
Read "We Live Here" CD/LP/Track Review We Live Here
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "Il Dodicesimo Nano" CD/LP/Track Review Il Dodicesimo Nano
by Jim Olin
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Colors for the Masters" CD/LP/Track Review Colors for the Masters
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: August 6, 2016
Read "Mundo" CD/LP/Track Review Mundo
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 30, 2016
Read "In Praise of Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review In Praise of Shadows
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 19, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!