Album Review

Crater – “Proceed ” – [Cycling 74]

Thurston Hunger   11/12/2008   A Library, CD

If this 2005 release is your first encounter with Nels Cline,
then first congratulations for surviving that coma…and
secondly man have you got some listening ahead of you. While
this is a project conceived by drummer Scott Amendola and
turntabler jhno (pronounced ja know), it’s hard not to see
it as a Nels showcase. Two live, long distance improvisations
from 2002 and 2001 do catch Amendola and jhno locked on the
coordinates for deep space grooves, with Nels frequent nova
bursts. Actually the second older track includes Dave MacNab
on guitar as well, I’m guessing he’s the guy doing the sort
of quick cycle spins. There’s some digitial popcorn about
15+ mins into that which might be jhno or Nels. The
seamlessness of the work is a plus, and bassists Devin Hoff
(track #1) and Todd Sickafoos (#2) help to migrate the mood
and psuedo-song sections. is MacNab the guy who adds some
clunk’n’chunk melody to #2…right around the time Amendola
becomes a hi-hat train. jhno does build some interesting
chill-out phases, but Nels teaches us again and again that
effects pedals are our friends. Single-handedly he has
restored my belief in the power of guitar solos. Sometimes
Crater (used to?) perform with video mixers, this music
lends itself to visuals. Too stirring for the bliss crowd,
but blissful for the rest of us. -Thurston Hunger

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