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Nels Cline Singers: Initiate

img  Tobias Fischer

The 4th collaborative set with Scott Amendola and Devin Hoff from the Jazz Times-dubbed “world’s most dangerous guitarist” is a double-disker, one studio (featuring the trio alone, none of whom sing, by the by) and one live (including guest shots from Deerhoof guys), and meanwhile, a Bad Brains dude helped produce the whole thing.

Thus your ingredients, some strange bedfellows on face, and what a fricking old slog I had during the initial listen – it’s a hard read the first time through, the aural equivalent of parsing a Simon Schama accounting of Henry V’s Anglicizing of the Norman court. But time invested in the album as a sequential package – things like this don’t produce “singles” or “money” – uncovers a wealth of delightful tinkering, half of it lush, pensive landscaping a la Tales From Topographic Oceans (as in the intro track, dedicated to the memory of Weather Report chief Joe Zawinul’s recent passing, a huge personal loss to Cline), the rest a mixture of time-signature experimentation, slo-mo Tool grinding and various shades of techno-jacked prog-rock puttering.

There’s a lot of edge to this stuff, a great choice if you’re looking for modern grooves not foreign to Relayer.

By Eric Saeger

Homepage: Nels Cline Singers
Homepage: Cryptogramophone Records