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If you’ve ever found Jeff Tweedy’s lyrics inscrutable, consider this: When he was writing “I Might,” the first single off Wilco’s new effort, The Whole Love, the enigmatic frontman started without any words at all. “I would grunt and chant, then listen until they sounded like words. continue→

It’s really dis-associated,” he says. (As evidence: “The Magna Carta’s / On a Slim Jim blood / Brutha!”)

On the other hand, Tweedy is heart-wrenchingly direct on “One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend),” the album’s sadly lovely 12-minute finale, which describes a man’s relief at the death of his religiously condemnatory father. “Now he’s going to know he was wrong and that there is an only loving God,” Tweedy explains.

In a way, The Whole Love, due out September 27, itself is an act of faith. Wilco’s eighth studio release is coming out on the band’s own newly formed label, dBpm Records—a major departure from its predecessors, which were all on major labels. The group sounds emboldened by the move, embellishing Tweedy’s songs with deft, adventuresome accompaniment that reflects the Chicago sextet’s trust in one another’s abilities.

Wilco’s contract with their previous label, Nonesuch Records, concluded with the release of 2009’s Wilco (The Album), which has sold more than 270,000 U.S. copies to date, a solid performance at a time when illegal file sharing has decimated record sales. However, disappointed with the offers they were receiving and Nonesuch’s lack of engagement, the band members decided to take matters into their own hands. “Over the years, we’ve worked toward being more and more self-sufficient and less dependent on the labels,” Tweedy says, sitting at the kitchen table of the band’s loft recording studio and rehearsal space in the Irving Park neighborhood. “We’re doing the same thing we’ve done for a long time, which is making a record we like and putting it out into the world.”

“There may be an added level of pressure on our management, but from our perspective the pressure is really off,” he adds. In fact, not having to share revenues with a label means the band will make more money even if sales for The Whole Love fall short of previous efforts. (Wilco’s sales typically average around 550,000 per album worldwide—with the exception of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which, boosted by a media frenzy over record label woes, reached 890,000.)

Wilco took advantage of an extended break from touring to record The Whole Love on and off over a period of about a year, beginning in the summer of 2010. In a first for the group, all recording was done in their loft, an instrument-crammed space that would make a collector’s mouth water. Guitars stand upright in neat rows and instrument cases are piled to the ceiling. One corner houses a massive soundboard, another a drum kit. In this environment, the group worked out the arrangements for Tweedy’s songs. “Everybody has a part of the process that’s their chance to put their two cents in,” Tweedy says. “What’s unusual is the level of trust that everyone’s going to add something cool.”

That trust has been forged by years of playing and traveling together. Tweedy points out that the current version of the band has been together almost as long as all of the prior incarnations combined: Wilco formed in 1994 and had a revolving-door membership until the present lineup coalesced in 2004. (The 44-year-old frontman and the bassist John Stirratt are the only remaining original members.) “It’s liberating not having to worry about all the things you need to worry about when you’re learning to play together,” Tweedy says. “Everybody was able to play to their strengths and contribute to what we’re making without a lot of baggage.”

For example, keyboard player Mikael Jorgensen suggested the band extend the experimental dance-rock groove of the opening track, “Art of Almost,” which led to Nels Cline’s nearly two and a half minutes of firestorm guitar. (See chart.) Multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone, who coproduced The Whole Love with Tweedy, asked if he could add a string arrangement to the country-folk ballad “Black Moon” after the song was seemingly finished, with gorgeous results.

Those songs reflect the breadth of styles that has marked the band’s music since its 1996 sophomore release, Being There. While previous records largely emphasized one genre or another, The Whole Love mixes them together, sometimes within a song. The music ranges across jangle pop (the title track), garage rock (“Standing O”), keyboard-drenched balladry (“Sunloathe”), and even jazz (“Capital City”). “These are all things we’ve carved out that we’re good at,” Tweedy says. Kevin McKeough

Throughout the record, Wilco sounds assured and relaxed, from the blazing guitar decrescendo at the end of “Born Alone” to the graceful flourishes of “One Sunday Morning.”

“It feels fresh to me,” Tweedy says. “It sounds like Wilco.”

Si alguna vez has encontrado inescrutables las letras de Tweedy, considera lo siguiente: Cuando estaba escribiendo “I Might”, el primer sencillo de lo nuevo de Wilco, The Whole Love, el enigmático cantante comenzó sin palabra alguna. “Gruño y canto, hasta que suenen como letras. Es realmente muy disociado”.
Como evidencia: “The Magna Carta’s / On a Slim Jim blood / Brutha!”

Por otro lado, es desgarradoramente directo en “One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend),” del tristemente hermoso final del álbum (de 12′!), que describe el alivio de un hombre, en la muerte de su padre y su religiosa condenatoria. “Ahora él va a saber que estaba equivocado y que no hay solo un dios amoroso”, explica Tweedy.

En cierto modo, The Whole Love, es en sí mismo un acto de fé. El octavo álbum de estudio de Wilco saldrá el 27 de septiembre a través del recién formado sello de la banda, dBpm Records, a diferencia de sus predecesores, todos de importantes sellos discográficos.

El grupo suena animado por el movimiento, embelleciendo las canciones de Tweedy con agilidad, con acompañamientos aventureros que reflejan la confianza en las habilidades de cada uno de los miembros del sexteto de Chicago.

El contrato de Wilco con Nonesuch Records, concluyó con el lanzamiento en 2009 de Wilco (The Album), que ha vendido más de 270.000 copias en USA hasta la fecha, una sólida actuación en un momento en que el intercambio de archivos ilegales ha diezmado las ventas de discos. Sin embargo, decepcionados con las ofertas recibidas y la falta de compromiso de Nonesuch, los miembros de la banda decidieron tomar el asunto en sus propias manos. “Con los años, hemos trabajado para ser más y más autosuficientes y menos dependientes de los sellos”, dice Tweedy. “Estamos haciendo lo mismo que hemos hecho durante mucho tiempo, que es hacer un disco que nos gusta y ponerlo fuera en el mundo.”

“Puede haber un mayor nivel de presión sobre nuestra gestión, pero desde nuestra perspectiva, la presión está realmente fuera”, añade. De hecho, no tener que compartir los ingresos con una etiqueta, significa que la banda va a ganar más dinero, incluso si las ventas no están a la altura de sus anteriores. (Las ventas de Wilco promedian alrededor de las 550.000 copias por álbum en todo el mundo, con la excepción de Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, disparado por problemas del sello)

Por primera vez en el grupo, todas las grabaciones que se hicieron en su propio loft, un espacio abarrotado de instrumentos que harían a un coleccionista babearse. En este entorno, el grupo trabajó sobre arreglos de las canciones de Tweedy.: “Todo el mundo tiene parte en el proceso, y oportunidad de poner su granito de arena”. “Lo que es inusual es el nivel de confianza para que todos añadan algo fresco.”

Esa confianza ha sido forjada por años de tocar y viajar juntos. Tweedy señala que la formación actual de la banda ha estado junta casi tanto como todas las encarnaciones anteriores combinados. Wilco se formó en 1994 y contaba con una puerta giratoria hasta la actual formación desde 2004. Jeff y el bajista John Stirratt son los únicos miembros originales que quedan. “Es muy liberador no tener que preocuparse de todas las cosas de cuando estás aprendiendo a tocar con alguién más, y sin un montón de equipaje”, dice Tweedy.

Por ejemplo, el teclista Mikael Jorgensen sugirió extender el dance-rock-groove experimental de la canción de apertura, “Art Of Almost”, que conduce Nels Cline por cerca de dos minutos y medio de firestorm guitar. El multi-instrumentista Pat Sansone, quien ha co-producido con Tweedy, sugirió agregar un arreglo de cuerdas a la balada country-folk “Black Moon”, con magníficos resultados.

Esas canciones reflejan la amplitud de estilos que han marcado la música de la banda desde su segundo lanzamiento de 1996, Being There. Mientras que en registros anteriores hacían hincapié en un género u otro, en The Whole Love se combinan, a veces, en una misma canción. La música se extiende a través del jangle pop, garage rock de “Standing O”, el teclado empapado de baladas de “Sunloathe”, e incluso el jazz de “Capitol City”.

A lo largo del disco, Wilco parece seguro y relajado, de la guitarra llameante en decrescendo de “Born Alone”, a los elegantes adornos de “One Sunday Morning”.

“Se siente fresco para mí”, dice Tweedy. “Suena como Wilco”.

Kevin McKeough

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El guitarrista Nels Cline nombra a su nuevo trío The Nels Cline Singers a pesar de que no hay cantantes en la banda. Y nombra el álbum, Instrumentals … bueno, porque no hay cantantes en la banda. Estos Singers cuentan con las proteicas habilidades musicales de Devin Hoff en contrabajo, y Scott Amendola en la batería y electrónica. Luego por supuesto, el increíble trabajo de Nels Cline, que ha inspirado a Jazz Times a llamarlo “el guitarrista más peligroso del mundo “.

Reviews:

En voz muy baja – o no tan silencioso, Nels Cline se ha convertido en el príncipe heredero de la guitarra de vanguardia. Su constancia en conciertos, grabaciones y su espíritu inquebrantable le han convertido en el líder de un género que, por su propia naturaleza, está condenado a andar por las afueras del negocio de la música. Ellos se lo pierden. Sobre “Instrumentals”, Cline deambula libremente en el formato guitarra, bajo, batería que le permite hacer lo suyo: extraños loops, disonantes notas fragmentadas, speed metal rave-ups, y una killer-bluesy-excursion en “Lowered Boom”.

–Darrin Fox

Guitar Player Magazine

El guitarrista californiano describe Instrumentals, como “powerjazzrockfreepsychedelicate instrumental music”. Este es un power trío de los viejos tiempos: altamente electrificadas guitarras, bajo, y batería, la banda de ensueño de cada guitar shop. (Los “Singers” no existen. Sólo es una referencia irónica, explica Cline, “a todos los grupos de easy-listening de los años 60.”) En efecto, los cantantes de Nels Cline trazan una línea desde The Jimi Hendrix Experience a Triumph y luego a Bill Frisell y Prime Time.

El rango del trío es ciertamente impresionante. De hecho, los nueve originales son absolutamente diferentes. Más clásico, más brusco, scale-obsessed lines en caída libre en, “A Mug Like Mine”. Sin embargo, Cline ha tomado un gran cuidado con muchas de estas piezas. El tema inicial se transforma en secundario, y los solos se convierten en vigorosas improvisaciones colectivas.

–Greg Buium

Downbeat


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Guitarist Nels Cline calls his new trio The Nels Cline Singers even though there are no singers in the band. He calls the album, Instrumentals… well, because there are no singers in the band. These Singers feature the protean musical skills of Devin Hoff on contrabass, and Scott Amendola on drums and electronics. Then of course there’s Nels’ amazing guitar work, which has inspired Jazz Times to call him, “The world’s most dangerous guitarist.” For more information go to the Spotlight on the home page. For a taste, go to CryptoRadio by clicking on the buttons to your right..

Reviews

Very quietly – or not so quietly, Nels Cline has become the crown prince of avant-garde guitar. His constant gigging, recording and undying spirit have made him the leader of a genre that, by its very nature, is doomed to ride the outskirts of the music biz. Their loss. On Instrumentals, Cline roams freely in the guitar, bass and drums format that allows him to fully do his thing: freaky looping, dissonant shard of notes, speed metal rave-ups, and a killer bluesy excursion on the tune “Lowered Boom.” Hell, with a list like that, you’re probably asking yourself, “What’s not to like?” My sentiments exactly.

Darrin Fox

Guitar Player Magazine [May, 2002]

This inscrutably titled disk features guitarist Cline’s new power trio, with Devin Hoff on contrabass and Scott Amendola on drums and percussion (as well as loops, live effects and processing). There are no singers, and no vocals. Other guitarists on the scene might trump Cline with a single defining attribute – funkier, flashier, more lyrical, whatever. But I can’t think of anyone right now who covers more musical ground than Cline, or who covers it half as well. You can hear everyone from Jim Hall to Sonny Sharrock here, depending upon the tune or the passage. In fact, Cline showcases so many different moods and styles that the initial effect can be a little disorienting. You have him pegged as one thing, and then he comes at you from a new direction. However, Cline is not just a musical chameleon. He always surrounds himself with strong players, and gives them ample opportunity to display their skills. This trio is fully interactive (no mere time-keepers here), and the two other members maintain a running dialogue with Cline, echoing, reinforcing and commenting on his lines. Hoff, in particular, often figures prominently on bowed bass. The solid group dynamic gives the music a continuity and cohesion beneath all the surface variation. On Instrumentals, Cline himself often favours a thick, somewhat overdriven sound, tending toward dirty or even positively filthy (as on “Lowered Boom,” a truly hardcore electric blues). The opening track, “A Mug like Mine,” teases a simple melody line almost to the point of obsession, in much the same way that John Coltrane played with all the possibilities of a simple riff or phrase in his later work. (On Cline’s remake of Coltrane’s Interstellar Space with drummer Gregg Bendian, he proved himself to be a superb Coltrane interpreter.) Cline also understands the visceral impact of a good strum, and has added some thrash elements to his musical vocabulary. (The relentless “Cause for Concern” sounds like a synthesis of Sonic Youth and the Mahavishnu Orchestra). That having been said, Cline is hardly predictable, and he can certainly play pretty for the people when he has a mind to. “Lucia,” which follows the greasy “Lowered Boom,” is so spare and understated as to be well nigh invisible at first, and has a wistful minimalism very reminiscent of Jim Hall. The CD’s closing number, “Slipped Away,” is reverbed and ruminative, bringing to mind the work of Ry Cooder and Bill Frisell. And while “Ghost of the Piñata,” is uptempo, Cline’s twelve-string chimes and rings with crystalline clarity. Every track on this CD is a winner, and with a recording as fine as this one, Cline is identifying himself as a major force in the world of electric guitar.

Bill Tilland

BBCi [April 17,2002]

Jazz-rock fusion, freely improvised tunes and rock with a hard and fast edge, the Nels Cline Singers traverse sparse, brooding pieces, touching contemplative melodies and overwhelming, almost punk, sonic bombardments with Instrumentals. Instrumentals is just that, with Devin Hoff on upright bass, Scott Amendola on percussion and some very artfully put together loops and effects, not to mention Nels Cline’s inspired yet precise guitar playing. Though there are only three members in this band, the Singers sound like a much larger ensemble. A songs like “Harbor Child” is a solitary stroll along a waterfront early in the morning, while “Cause for Concern” is a heart pounding run from a powder keg of trouble. Better still, the raunchy “Lowered Boom,” with its swaggering rhythms and hormone-driven guitar work, is a musical trip to a New Orleans bordello with a pocket full of jack. The Nels Cline singers are solid musicians and Instrumentals displays a spectrum of directions radiated from a prism of talent tempered with flair.

I. Khider

Exclaim (Canada) [May, 2002]

If Instrumentals, The Nels Cline Singers’ debut, starts with a nasty bite, by the end, it’s all country grace and good manners. Cline wouldn’t have it any other way. The California guitarist calls Instrumentals “powerjazzrockfreepsychedelicate instrumental music.” Or we could just call it a throwback. This is an old-time power trio: highly electrified guitar, bass and drums, every guitar shop’s dream band. (The “Singers” don’t exist. It’s just a “wry reference,” Cline explains, “to all those easy-listening groups from the 60’s.”) Indeed, The Nels Cline Singers draw a line from The Jimi Hendrix Experience to Triumph and then on to Bill Frisell and Prime Time. The trio’s range is certainly impressive. Indeed, the nine originals are absolutely distinct. They include the classic, gruff, scale-obsessed lines in free fall (“A Mug Like Mine”) – think Tony Williams’ Lifetime. But Cline’s taken a great deal of care with many of these pieces. Initial themes morph into secondary themes, and solos are transformed into vigorous collective improvisations. And Cline makes use of the more attractive characteristics common to guitar-centric writing: from the images drawn by driving, muted chords to passages of lush, floating arpeggios. Pair this with an unusually sophisticated dynamic reach –often not a guitar trio’s strong suit – and a real drama develops. Ironically, the disc’s fundamental fault lies in its abundance. In a set that runs nearly 80 minutes, we’re wasted by the end. Disciplined editing would have brought greater power to the material. The other Singers, bassist Devin Hoff and drummer Scott Amendola, are a compact and loose combination. Hoff’s acoustic bass is a wonderful surprise: Filled with warmth (and regularly bowed), it’s an inspired and deft touch. Amendola is also a skillful tactician, cueing a clamor with cymbals or flattening his cohorts with a backbeat.

Greg Buium

Downbeat *** 1/2 [June, 2002]

o en Cryptogramophone

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El Percusionista y compositor Gregg Bendian es un personaje poco común: un músico con serias credenciales de free jazz que también profesa una gran afición por el rock progresivo de los 70′. Independientemente de la categoría musical, Gregg Bendian’s Interzone es un conjunto fenomenal y la segunda edición de la banda es su declaración más fuerte hasta ahora. Bendian controla el vibráfono y la lira, con Alex Cline y Liebig Steuart hábilmente navegando en batería y el bajo. Nels Cline, el hermano de Alex y uno de los mejores improvisadores de guitarra eléctrica de hoy, completa el cuarteto.

Categóricamente hablando, Myriad merece la atención como uno de los principales lanzamientos de fusión posterior al 2000 o, para el caso, cualquier año. Nítido y claro como el hielo crujiente y al mismo tiempo fundido caliente, es una maravilla escuchar.

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Percussionist/composer Gregg Bendian is an unusual character: a musician with serious free jazz credentials who also professes a fondness for 1970’s-style progressive rock. Regardless of musical category, Gregg Bendian’s Interzone is a phenomenal ensemble and the band’s second release, Myriad on the Atavistic label, is its strongest statement so far. The CD’s closest stylistic antecedent might be the initial incarnation of Pierre Moerlen’s Gong, which during the late ’70s featured Alan Holdsworth’s electric guitar pyrotechnics propelled along by a crisp and driving rhythm section that included vibraphone, glockenspiel, and other tuned percussion in addition to bass and drums. Bendian handles the vibes and glock on Interzone’s Myriad, with Alex Cline and Steuart Liebig ably navigating the leader’s charts on drums and bass. Nels Cline, Alex’s brother and one of today’s finest electric guitar improvisors, rounds out the quartet. While the Pierre Moerlen ensemble of nearly a quarter-century ago ultimately fell prey to many of the same stylistic missteps that afflicted other ’70s fusionists, Gregg Bendian’s Interzone makes no compromises for the sake of commercial appeal in a jazz market now largely split between soft and retro.

Bendian is a very nimble and accomplished soloist and accompanist on the vibes and glock. As a composer and bandleader, he confidently steers the band away from the jazz-pop or new age comfort zone, even during atmospheric pieces like the opening “Interzonia 1” in which the bright timbres of the tuned percussion are prominent. (“Interzonia 1” is dedicated to filmmaker David Cronenberg, which should say something about the darker sensibilities at work.) The vibes’ crystalline clarity (sans resonator-produced vibrato) is even pushed in the direction of distorted noise rather than soft shimmer. Elsewhere, as on the track “Intrepid,” Interzone executes a fervent swing that is perhaps the quartet’s biggest stylistic tip-of-the-hat to the jazz tradition. Categorically speaking, Myriad deserves attention as one of the top post-fusion releases of 2000 or, for that matter, any year. Crisp and clear as crackling ice and simultaneously molten hot, it is a wonder to hear.

writen by David Lynch, Rovi

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Bruce Ackley: saxo soprano, saxo tenor
Steve Adams: saxo alto, saxo soprano
Scott Amendola: batería
Nels Cline: guitarra
Devin Hoff: bajo
Larry Ochs: saxo tenor, saxo soprano
Jon Raskin: saxo barítono, saxo soprano, saxo alto
Reviews.
Jason Bivins for dustedmagazine.com : “El septeto celestial es un disco que yo esperaba para disfrutar. pero no tanto!”
Sergio Piccirilli para elintruso.com : “La creatividad, como decía el psicólogo gestáltico Joseph Zinker, “es la celebración de nuestra propia grandeza, el sentimiento de que podemos hacer que cualquier cosa se vuelva posible… es un acto de valentía, es la justificación de nuestro propósito de vivir”.
The Celestial Septet es una obra musical espontánea y colectiva en la que prevalece una comunicación descentralizada, donde surgen liderazgos ocasionales que orientan alternativamente el curso de la creación. Su propuesta ofrece una nueva perspectiva en las que se vislumbran coordenadas operativas que expresan el paradigma estético del nuevo milenio instituido en la descontextualización de estilos, la hibridación de diferentes culturas o períodos temporales, la discontinuidad y la fragmentación estructural en oposición al concepto de estructura cerrada y sin fisuras y la reivindicación de lo plural y lo complejo frente a lo singular y lo sencillo.”
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