AMN Reviews: The Nels Cline Singers – Macroscope (2014; Mack Avenue Records)

mac1085_200-2__mediumOver the last 30 years, Nels Cline has made the transition from upstart guitarist to an established and well respected player.  In many ways, he is now at the peak of his career, a leader of several projects, and an in-demand  sideman.  This is the fifth album from the inappropriately-named Nels Cline Singers – the group is instrumental though some vocals are moaned and chanted. Featuring Cline on guitar, Trevor Dunn on bass, and Scott Amendola on drums, the group is rounded out with contributions from Yuka Honda, Cyro Baptista, Josh Jones, and Zeena Parkins.

The first track, Companion Piece, begins as slow acoustic jazz, then builds up to explosive soloing from Cline, while the rhythm section lays down a varying base. The Wedding Band is another fun track, opening with guitar and effects over South American percussion, then settling with guitar picking and a wandering bass line. Climb Down offers a relatively steady beat overlaid with guitar fiddling and effects, while Seven Zed Heaven begins with an inside-out guitar line before moving on to processed slides and licks, and a long tension-filled crescendo.

What should be clear is that the Singers never rest on a particular style or feel. The album is varied and each track is unique, but all of them work together as a cohesive whole.  And some are downright catchy in their own weird ways.  Not exactly jazz, not exactly avant-garde, not exactly rock, Cline and company pull together aspects of those styles and more to produce an engaging release.

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Free Jazz Blog Reviews

Christian Fennesz
Cover of Christian Fennesz

From Free Jazz:

Jonas Kullhammar – Basement Sessions Vol 2 (Clean Feed, 2014) ****½
Aurélien Besnard, Jean Pierre Jullian, Adrien Dennefeld – Echos (Rude Awakening, 2013) ****
Evan Parker & Joe McPhee – What If They Both Could Fly (Rune Grammofon, 2013)
Ken Vandermark & Mats Gustafsson – Verses (Corbett vs. Dempsey, 2013)
Michel Doneda & Joris Rühl ‎– Linge (Umlaut, 2013)
Lol Coxhill & Michel Doneda – Sitting On Your Stairs (Emanem, 2013)
Steve Swell & Kirk Knuffke – Feynman’s Diagrams (Nacht Records, 2013)
Vinny Golia & Urs Leimgruber – Empricism in the West (Relative Pitch, 2014)
Aaron Novik & Arrington De Dionyso (Bandcamp, 2013)
Steve Baczkowksi, Bill Nace, Tamio Shiraishi – Live at Jack. Single Sided 12″ (Open Mouth, 2013) ****
Steve Baczkowksi, Chris Corsano, Greg Kelley, Bill Nace – Live at Spectacle. 12″ (Open Mouth, 2013) ****
Patrick Pulsinger & Christian Fennesz – In Four Parts (Col Legno, 2013) ****
Joe Morris, Fausto Sierakowski & Nigel Taylor – Part And Parcel (Bug Incision, 2013) ****

Janel and Anthony European Spring Tour

From janelandanthony.com:

Janel and Anthony European Spring Tour
May 2 – 17, 2014

May 2 – La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland – L’entre-deux Cafe, 27 rue Jaquet Drot
May 3 – Lyon, France – Kraspek, 20 montée St Sébastien
May 4 – Milan, Italy – La Casa Di Alex, 5 Via Moncalieri
May 6 – Nice, France – Le Zonme, 7 bis rue des combattants en Afrique du Nord
May 7 – Perpignan, France – L’Anthropo Asso, 28 bis rue des rois de Majorque
May 8 – Toulouse, France – Amanita Muscaria, 3 rue Viguerie
May 9 – Chateldon, France – Le Festival Rural de Chateldon
May 10 – Grandis, France – Librairie Compagnon, Rue des Ecoles
May 12 – Orleans, France – le 108, 108 rue de Bourgogne
May 13 – Paris, France – (More info TBA)
May 16, 17 – Rekjavik, Iceland – Mengi, Óðinsgata 2

Interview with Matthew Shipp

Matthew Shipp
Cover of Matthew Shipp

From Jazz Right Now:

In the early 80s—seemed in the downtown avant scene there was really a separation between the so-called black school and white school—seems to me having everyone—white and black play at the knitting factory sort of brought the idea of downtown avant more together as opposed to a William Parker-type school and a John Zorn-type school—but also there was a big division between the uptown straight ahead school with Wynton [Marsalis] as the head honcho—and the downtown school both white and black

Coming to Seattle

From Seattle’s Wayward Music Series:

Doug Wieselman + Syrinx Effect
Thu., April 3, 8 PM; $5 – $15 sliding scale

Cocoon + Shikhandi/Amba
Sat., April 5, 8 PM; $10 advance, $15 at door

Coming soon:

FRI. 4/11 – GRID, improvising ensemble plays excerpts of music for Metropolis

SAT. 4/12 – Keith Eisenbrey plays solo piano works by himself and others

THU. 4/17 – Nonsequitur presents Mark Hosler (Negativland) + Noel Brass Jr. (Afrocop)

FRI. 4/18 – electronic music by Matt Carlson + Piotr Kurek + Kaori Suzuki

SAT. 4/19 – Inverted Space + DXARTS plays works by UW student composers

A 4’33” App

4' 33"
4′ 33″ (Photo credit: nmorao)

Now there truly is an app for everything, including John Cage’s 4’33”:

As Gene Caprioglio put it: “With Cage, I always think, wow, what would he have done with the Internet?” His trying has produced 4’33,” the app. Released last month by CF Peters and the Cage Trust, 4’33” lets users not only experience the slow elapse of the work’s movements, but also record their own version of it and hear other users’ performances from around the world.