Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Thollem/Wimberly/Cline - Radical Empathy (Relative Pitch, 2015))

This collective trio makes very interesting music that ranges from deep abstraction to riveting electric free improvisation that has flashes of Sonny Sharrock and Tony William’s Lifetime. The group consists of Thollem (McDonas) on keyboards, (Michael) Wimberly on drums and (Nels) Cline on guitar. On “Thinker’s Mix” organ and drums are slamming against sharp guitar, developing some very nice interplay. They are moving faster into hardcore improvisation with organ, guitar and drums just blasting the music to the floor, nearly overloading the listener with a postmodern fusion of jazz, post-rock and free improvisation. There’s the full sounding guitar, piano and drums unit playing together on “The Middle,” where this swift collective improvisation makes for a fast and intricate weaving of instruments. Nels Cline, guitar hero, breaks free and plays faster and faster in a thrilling fashion as the piano and drums supports his amazing effort. “Thought Pools” has swirling guitar developing a dark tone and meeting snappy drums making for some great stuff. They absolutely howl along with great slabs of keyboards making things even more exciting, and they grow into a three headed monster of kaleidoscopic noise with scalding eclectic guitar, pummeling drums and swirling keyboards. “To the Core” has Rattling drums underneath the music with sharp streaks of effects aided guitar overhead and mysterious notes on the piano, making for an enigmatic but very interesting song. They hit very hard, but hare able to downshift dynamically when the music needs it. Cline’s noise guitar is fiendishly loud on “Pool’s Up” sweeping the other instruments into a strong and wide open improvisation, with some great dirty sounding overdriven and distorted organ and full bore percussion. This is the band at their most exciting, loud, enthusiastic and action packed. Juxtaposed against these high energy tracks is an equal amount of music that shows the trio playing in the polar opposite manner. These other songs have a sense of cold abstraction like viewing sharp lined architecture in the dark of night. Overall, though this is a very interesting album that melds a wide range of music in a confident and enthusiastic manner. Radical Empathy -

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