In the same vein as The Tweedy Feed, I decided to create Cline Time, a source for the latest dirt on our favorite Cline: Nels. It’s kind of like the Frasier to The Tweedy Feed’s Cheers; kind of a spinoff, but very much it’s own thing (though I did try to get that delightful dog to appear in here. He said no.). Actually, it’s a lot more like The Colbert Report to The Daily Show. That’s a much better analogy; I don’t know why I said that other thing. Forget that I did, all right?
In any case, forgetting all sitcom spinoffs, many of us Wilco fans have gotten so caught up in the frenzy of anticipation and anxiety (what, you don’t have anxiety?) for The Whole Love and Wilco’s upcoming tour, we overlooked another major album release earlier this summer: BB&C (Tim Berne, Jim Black and Nels Cline)’s live album, The Veil. To many of us Wilco fans, Nels Cline is the underrated, under-appreciated, incredibly talented guitar god from Wilco; however, what many of us don’t realize is that he is one hell of an experimental free Jazz-rock musician. And he’s out there. Like Sun Ra On Jupiter out there.
Don’t believe me? Take a pull on this: It’s called “Caved-In Heart Blues” from Cline’s 2007 album, Draw Breath. It has come close to replacing Neil Young’s For The Turnstiles as the song I will hear in my head just before I go insane. Which is pretty high praise coming from me.
Did you listen to it? Pretty out there, right? Yet it’s somehow very soothing. It might be the molasses-drippingly slow tempo. Which is kind of a good thing.
Here’s a pretty sweet video of Cline performing with the Les Paul Trio in New York at Iridium last Monday:
Awesome distractions aside, The Veil, the latest from Cline, Black, and Berne (or BB&C, as they’re also known, which I like because you can hold the Shift bar the entire time you type it in) has been getting some pretty great reviews so far, and judging from Railroaded, the free MP3 download from last month, (which you can download here), they all seem justified in their praise. Here are some reviews for the record so far:
The Veil is a rapturous performance from three of New York City’s most electrifying talents at the last vestige for improvisational music left standing in Manhattan following the Blue Condo-ization of the Lower East Side.
From the opening passages you can tell that these are masters at work. Behind the doors of their industrial space, they are wrapping Waterford crystals in sheet-metal and playing catch. They are sprinkling machine nuts in the gears watching it sputter and spit out twisted scraps and unanticipated treasures.
… [The Veil performances were] mostly two continuous improvised performances from musicians who have no fear of going into simultaneous improvisation that might scare other musicians back to law school. The kind of meeting of minds that both jazz and bands like Wilco need.
The combination of the three, which for a time went under the name Sons of Champignon, makes for an alchemical fusing of explosive out-jazz and apocalyptic rock punctuated by moments of delicate beauty.
As if all this wasn’t enough for Nels, he’s also recorded an all-acoustic album called Tassili with a band called Tinariwen (here’s a little taste), who are, I kid you not, a group of nomadic Tuareg tribesmen who fought in Mali’s civil war. Also featured on the album are Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio and the horn players of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Is it cool if I speak for everyone on this one? Well I’m going to: “If I don’t get to hear this soon, I’m going to do something drastic. Like cancel my Spotify subscription. Which I don’t have.”
You’ve got time for one more awesome video before you go to bed, or work, or some other website, right? Good. Because this one’s pretty wild. I will end this edition of Cline Time with a video of Nels Cline playing the (kickass) solo to “Impossible Germany,” which so far is the frontrunner for this week’s poll. Please enjoy:
Nels Cline with Wilco – Impossible Germany