RecommNeds | Nels Cline & Julian Lage, Wayne Krantz & More
Nels Cline & Julian Lage: Room
Both Nels Cline and Julian Lage have made an appearance in the RecommNeds in 2014, having both put out at least one superb album this year. Room is a guitar-lovers album: just two guys playing a mix of composed pieces and improvisations, not fully acoustic, but not a lot of amplification or any effects to speak of at all. The sound is simple, stripped down, at times challenging, at others quite beautiful. The album title and cover photo pretty much sums it up – two guys, one guitar each, one channel on the stereo each so that it sounds like you’re sitting in that room, dead between them, eyes closed and loving every minute of it.
Spotify: Nels Cline – ROOM
Xylouris White: Goats
Xylouris White is another duo: Girogis Xylouris from Greece on laouto (long necked lute) and Australian Jim White on drums, and when you put their names together it certainly sounds like something real, though, exotic and interesting. Their collaboration on Goats is definitely both of these, White delivering rhythms that alternate between a frantic march and tribal ritual and Xylouris matching with melodies and global sounds. It’s different, but accessible all the same. This is spiritual journey stuff: a road that leads somewhere, not quite sure where until you get there. Give it a shot.
Spotify: Xylouris White – Goats
Wayne Krantz: Good Piranha/Bad Piranha
There is no denying that the best way to experience Wayne Krantz is live (preferably at the 55 Bar in Greenwich Village), but seeing how those opportunities are few and far between – especially if you don’t live within striking distance – his new album, Good Piranha/Bad Piranha is a decent substitute. Krantz’s standard cast of A+ musicians (Tim Lefebvre, Keith Carlock, Nate Wood) explode with nuclear fusion, jamming out four stellar new(ish) compositions in typical Krantz style. The album is set up a bit like a riddle: the 4 songs are played twice through – I imagine two separate recorded-live, improvised takes; I think it’s up to you to decide which version is the “good piranha” and which is the “bad piranha.” Make no mistake, though, good or bad, they’re all going to shred you to pieces. A must listen.
Mark McGuire: Noctilucence
Mark McGuire’s LP Along The Way was featured in this column earlier this year and remains one of my top albums of 2014. Somehow, he may have outdone himself with this 5-track EP, Noctilucence. First of all, at over 40 minutes, it’s a pretty darn extended EP and McGuire fills every second of it with some of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring music imaginable. There is an elegance and precision in this music that sounds more like some naturally occurring phenomenon that he’s discovering rather than something a person is creating. Strata of guitars and ephemeral electronica combine to make pensive, introspective, but overall happy melodies. In a word, sublime.
Spotify: Mark McGuire – Noctilucence
Written By: Aaron Stein