Nels Cline | Elliot Sharp | Duo Milano | Long Song Records

Nels Cline – guitars | Elliot Sharp – guitars

All compositions by E.S. (zOaR Music, BMI) and N.C. (Nebsonic Music ASCAP)

Recorded April 2006 at New Art Studio, Uboldo, Milano, Italy. Mixed at the New Art Studio during the second half of 2006 by Fabrizio Perissinotto and Paolo Censi with transatlantic help by Elliot and Nels. Mastered at Bips Studio, Milano, by Maurizio Giannotti March 2007. Sound engineer: Paolo Censi. Produced by Fabrizio Perissinotto. Cover photo: Ralph Gibson. Additional photos: Janene Higgins. Portrait of Elliot and Nels by Cy Phore. Thanks to Simone Massaron for his gear and studio assistance.

Tracklist: 1. Bug Or Feature? 2. Unseen 3. Strain 121 4. Balsam 5. Dot Dash 6. Bludget 7. Cobblescrabble 8. Acetylene Panorama 9. Mutha Blooter 10. Fingernests

nels cline | elliot sharp | duo milano | long song records

Duo Milano

is a no compromise, totally improvised sonic landscape by two guitar masters as Elliott Sharp and Nels Cline. This is what Nels and Elliott say about their work together. Elliott: “Nels is one of my favourite people and favourite guitarists – our playing together resonates in such a way as to create the sound of one seething bubbling bristling glowing instrument. Every gig and recording we’ve done has been different. “Duo Milano” captures some sonic moments in Italy in a fine studio in hyper real detail.” Nels: “Elliott and I have been investigating an improvised duet language/interaction in both acoustic and electric settings for several years now. It is always a pleasure and an honor, and this disc is the first document to represent our ongoing dialogue in sound and feeling. We seem to function as one empathetic, huge guitar. The result is, to my mind, a splendid example of our sometimes fragile and intimate and other times monolithic and tripped-out sensibilities.”

This fabulous disc

consists of ten amazing duets, five acoustic and five electric pieces. Superbly recorded and immensely satisfying in sonic detail. The acoustic side balances super-quick harp-like flourishes with the naked purity of spacious, bluesy e-bow drones. The electric side is dark and dreamy with strange, bent-note ballistics. From quietly cosmic to extremely intense. — Downtown Music Gallery

Duo Milano

is a wonderfully relaxed and companionable encounter between Nels Cline and Elliott Sharp, with five short acoustic guitar duets and five longer tracks featuring electric guitar. Listening to it is like eavesdropping on a conversation which flows easily from one favorite touchstone to another, from Derek Bailey to bottleneck blues, from melting rock balladry to aching Middle Eastern melismas. Though it’s freely improvised, the music always feels strongly grounded – often through persistent drones or the long, throbbing sustains created by Sharp’s eBow. On the acoustic tracks, phrases slide back and forth easily between the guitarists without a break – there’s a welcome absence of the jumpy musical ping-pong that ruins a lot of free improv. Snapping string-percussion gives the improvisations a lively, irregular rhythm, though the guitarists at times dally to search out entire worlds of expression in the small bends and twists of a single note. The electric tracks are less intimate in feeling, more mediated and soundscaped: “Bludget”, for instance, is a grainy, distortion-drenched vista where slow melodies stick out like Olympian peaks; on “Acetylene Panorama”, by contrast, even melody gets sucked into a black hole. The best tracks, though, are the avant-blues epic “Mutha Blooter”, and “Fingernests”, where Sharp’s trademark fret-tapping at verges on mutant bluegrass. — Signal To Noise

Five acoustic guitar duos

that flirt with flamenco forms, five electric duos that seem to come from Fripp & Eno territory. “Bludget” is squarely in the soundworld of No Pussyfooting, though with “Cobblescrabble” a more nuanced and detailed language is in play. The level of empathy is extraordinarily high, further testimony to Cline’s no-borders eclecticism.– The Wire

nels cline | elliot sharp | duo milano | long song records

Entirely different but equally fascinating

is the often frenetic duo of Elliott Sharp and Nels Cline. These two veteran improvisers can’t help but excel, and communication is astonishing throughout these ten widely varied tracks. The first five are acoustic, some sporting well-placed and finely executed slidework. This is often complimented by tasty bends of a pan-Eastern variety, conjuring shades of vintage Shakti with John McLaughlin. Far from anything approaching Indian classical music though, the language is more indebted to Derek Bailey or Fred Frith in its shock, rebound and shock harmonic-drenched pointillism. Even the few liquified moments, presumably Ebo-induced, do not disturb the overall aes- thetic. The succeeding tracks find pointillistic concerns subsumed, ubmerged, flow and extended tones supplanting the attack-driven gestalt of the first half. Delay-drenched clanks, metallic wrenchings, and springy retractions keep the pieces from becoming too static, and the results are satisfyingly meditative. AMM’s noisier work is certainly a guiding force, but oddly gentle sounds bring tonal implications that add another layer of interest. Both discs are extremely well played, a comfort in this time when post-everything inclusivity far too often takes the place of bona fide musicianship. This is a label to watch, and I look forward to further releases. — Cadence

Duo Milano

documents an exceptional mind-meld meeting between two of America’s finest avant-guitarists: Elliott Sharp and Nels Cline. Recorded on a single day in April2006 the results are divided into five tracks of unplugged acoustic guitar interaction and five tracks with full electrical amplification; running the gamut from improvised scrabbling to stellar string bending and hitting all manner of points in-between. Playing off each other with an ease and fluid- ity that suggests some kind of telepathic connection their acoustic interchange mixes rapid strumming with percussive strikes, fitful clusters of notes and arrhythmic picking to create a tangled, absorbing weave. Embellished with feedback and effects the electric side, meanwhile, is more open and drawn out with two of the pieces only narrowly falling short of the ten minute mark. While both parts definitely warrant investigation it’s the latter that arguably bears the most interesting fruit – eschewing discord in favour of space and a more cohesive resonance. — Rock-a-Rolla

nels cline | elliot sharp | duo milano | long song records


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