Nels Cline — Coward
(Cryptogramophone CG 141, 2009, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2010-07-01Make no mistake: Nels Cline is a modern guitar hero of high caliber. This recording begins with a looped drone reminiscent of Soft Machine before carefully exploring new channels. Cline gracefully drifts into Ralph Towner and Steve Tibbetts spatial terrain on “Prayer Wheel” and “Androgyne.” The former piece carries the stamp of Tibbetts’ ECM pastel twelve string moods while the former comes closer to Towner’s occasional introspection as does monster tracks “Rod Poole’s Ascent to Heaven.” The improviser’s ability to retain his own identity while leaning on the shoulders of guitar giants is a testament to his ability to weave new tapestry from old yarn. “The Onan” suite of pieces also presents an intuitive mesh between improvisational and Eastern influences that significantly differentiate this recording from any other in his wide catalog. Michael Hedges’ wide exotic technique can also be called out as an implied reference as well. Cline’s apparent tribute to Thurston Moore, “Thurston Country,” relies on the guitarist’s instinctive means to speed up, twist and turn his fretboard while carrying a shuddering melody to a natural conclusion. The end raga section is quite convincing as well. The Wilco six-slinger can also craft keen sensitive moments as heard on “The Divine Homegirl” and “The Nomad’s Home,” with its surreal slide part. Overall this is the most satisfying Nels Cline recording I have heard and welcome a set of live dates to back it up.
Related artist(s): Nels Cline
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more