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Nels Cline: The Inkling

Mark Corroto By

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Sometimes you are out there, listening, working the brain, catching the precious moments of truly creative music. The avant-garde today presents guitarists such as Nels Cline in digital (on disc), allowing you to listen to this Californian all the way from Iowa. But who has the time or the energy to patiently absorb harmonically challenging music? Maybe you, like I can stop from the hyper-speed of our daily lives to breath in Cline’s latest vision.

Nels Cline prior projects have included the remake of John Coltrane’s Interstellar Space with Gregg Bendian, the Nels Cline Trio, a sextet – Destroy All Nels Cline, and recordings for Vinny Golia’s Nine Winds label. He was raised on Hendrix, Jeff Beck, and Duane Allman. Later influences included John McLaughlin, Fred Frith, and Television’s Tom Verlaine.

The new quartet of drummer Billy Mintz, bassist Mark Dresser, and harpist Zeena Parkins explore the eerie side of sound. Parkins and Cline slowly develop patterns of energy, webs of ideas. The tension and release comes not from rhythms but flurried guitar and harp energies. Songs are alternately composed and free. Cline reminds me a bit of Derek Bailey, but where Bailey got his start in jazz; Cline comes at it from a rock background, with more recognizable techniques. Cline’s dictionary is generally know to us, making the conversation he starts understandable, even if it’s not of the daily kind.

Track List:New Old Hat; Spider Wisdom; Circular; Sunken Song; Shale Bed; Alstromeria; Moth Song; Cork arm; Queen Of Angels; Lullaby For Ian.


Title: The Inkling | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Atavistic


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