Nels Cline | Coward

Cryptogramophone (2009)
By MIKAEL WOOD  |  February 18, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars

A long-time fixture of the West Coast experimental-music scene, Nels Cline might now be best known as a member of Wilco, whose Sky Blue Sky from 2007 was rescued from dad-rock irrelevance by his distinctive jazz-roots playing. There's no mistaking Coward as a dad-rock exercise: this is an unabashedly brainy (albeit beautiful) examination of the sounds one can draw out of a guitar, from acoustic plucking all the way to electric thrashing. "Thurston Country" is about as song-based as Coward gets, and its title nod to Sonic Youth's frontman is not undeserved. Fans of steel-string giants like John Fahey and Leo Kottke will recognize much in Cline's approach, though he doesn't offer up folky melodic figures quite as easily as do his forebears, and neither does he seem as interested in satisfying anyone else's idea of solid structural design. Rather than move from point A to point B, his compositions here simply inhabit a space for an amount of time, then cease to be. Being There 2, you could call it.
Related: Evolution rock, Second job, The band's the thing, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Sonic Youth, John Fahey, Leo Kottke,  More more >
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