THOLLEM / PARKER / CLINE – The Gowanus Session


Dedicated to the late contrabass virtuoso Stefano Scodanibbio (with whom Thollem Mcdonas had recorded On Debussy’s Piano And… for Die Schachtel), The Gowanus Session gathers three prominent musicians turning the fruits of decades of individual research into agile vessels of compelling resonance. There are not fixed roles in this trio, though it’s impossible not to identify the voices as single elements when one pays attention. Mcdonas’ fierce flurries and harmonically complex cascades on the keyboard, William Parker’s literate motivation in dominating the double bass’ total orbit, Nels Cline’s rusted discharges, looped feedbacks and pricking snaps of his guitar strings. These characteristics tend to dissolve inside improvisational settings that privilege an overall picture of clustered intensity, barring rare exceptions in which the instruments are observable in their own unrepeatable traits. Before long, it becomes apparent that the artists’ primary purpose resides in investigating combinations that produce a rugged unity. Energies are released without falling into the traps of unconditional havoc, always maintaining an indispensable level of sanity; the power flow is kept in check, the players never dragged around by the brute force of the resultant acoustic mass. To be played loud and repetitively, in order to detect crucial nuances amidst tense crescendos and sinister intermissions.

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