Nels Cline, guitar; Zach Hill, drums; Jonathan Hischke, bass, bass synths; Matt Zivich, synths
I bought this early last year but it seems lately I've been giving it a ridiculous amount of playing time. I'm not too familiar with any other Z. Hill projects beside Hella, so I'm not sure if he often ventures outside of his metal comfort zone, but he certainly ought to. This album could certainly be defined as avant garde, and I'm not sure that the genre sees drumming like this very often. Nels is at his best on this record, leading the tangents, with his trademark and refined union of free-jazz and free-noise guitar stylings. And Matt Zivich's intelligent noise-making is particularly impressive with it's display of subtlety and restraint, all the while remaining a powerful presence in the quartet. (Apparently he's Wilco's live sound engineer (?), but he ought to do this type of thing more often as well.) And the bass winds around Nels guitar like a true professional. All the elements are in place, here. It is a refreshingly unique improvisational exhibition, a cut above the sort of improvised-noise recording one might be expecting. Recorded in one day.
Listen to this mp3, "Deathwatch on the American Empire". Or at a myspace.
Buy the record here.