Nels Cline

No Sense

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No Sense or Nothing Makes Any Sense? The first title is what appears on the spine of the gatefold CD jacket; the second title is featured on the cover -- a typical noise music send-out to the music biz, I guess. So, by whatever name you know this album, we are talking about the same one. Nels Cline, Alan Licht, and Lee Ranaldo -- three top-rate noise guitarists, check out their respective bio entries if you are not familiar with them -- meet up with electronician Carlos Giffoni, also head of No Fun Productions (behind the No Fun label and festival), on the stage of Tonic, in New York City. Despite what you might think, the evening did not turn into mayhem. After all, these are not youngsters trying to prove they can get their message across with enough decibels. Here, we have a quartet of seasoned improvisers, and what they performed that night was a delicately built 53-minute piece of improvised noise. The piece begins softly with humming amps and Giffoni's home-brewed electronics, the guitarists quickly developing textures to fill in the space. This is definitely noise music -- don't waste time looking for melody or rhythm -- and electric guitars wail, the bottom end rumbles and jumps throughout, even the slightest pinch of the plectrum sounds thunderous, but the music goes down as a (very loud and eventful) drone, rather than the expected sonic attack. There is pace and drama in this piece, creativity too. In fact, the first half hour provides a thrilling aural ride. Then, the piece loses its focus for the next ten minutes, the improvisers clearly looking for something else to do. When they find it (an air raid siren-like build up), they click back together, minds reconnecting, and they bring "Nothing Makes Any Sense" to a successful close. Thanks to the artistry and the level of intuitive communication hiding behind the decibels, this is one of the best noise music offerings of 2007.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
53:02
blue highlight denotes track pick