CD Dirty Baby (CD 6978913),
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0. DISC 1:
1. Part I
2. Part Ii
3. Part Iii
4. Part IV
5. Part V
6. Part VI
0. DISC 2:
1. In God We Trust
2. Hi There, My Old Friend
3. If I Was You I'd Do Just Like I Tell You To Do
4. Do As I Say or...
5. No Mercy
6. Do As Told or Suffer
7. Agree To Our Terms or Prepare Yourself For a Blast Furnace
8. Your a Dead Man
9. Hey You Want To Sleep With the Fishes?
10. Columbian Necklace For You, A
11. Note We Have Already Got Rid of Several Like You - One Was Found In River Just Recently
12. Be Cautious Else We Be Bangin On You
13. You Won't Know When You Won't Know Where You Won't Know Who and You Won't Know Why
14. It's Payback Time
15. I'm Going To Leave More Notes and I'm Going To Kick More Ass
16. You Cross Me I Wanna See Blood
17. I Heard You Moved To Pahrump, Nevada - You Cannot Escape
18. Little Snitches Like You End Up In Dumpsters All Across Town
19. I'll Be Getting Out Soon and I Haven't Forgotten Your Testimony Put Me In Here
20. You Talk You Get Killed
21. Do Not Let the Information Be Known To Any Person or You Die
22. Don't Threaten Me With Your Threats
23. I Just Might Act Ugly If You Talk
24. When I'm Released I'm Smoking a Straight Line To You. Got Me?
25. Want To Get To Know My Boiling Point?
26. You Dirty Rotten Bitch
27. You Will Eat Hot Lead
28. I Can't Take It No More
29. I Might Just Act Ugly If You Get Up On That Stand and Say Something Unpleasant To My Ears
30. I Thought I Told You That We Won't Stop
31. I Will Wipe You Off the Face of This Earth
32. Give Up the Gold or Give Up Your Life
33. You and I Are In Disagreement
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): CG142
Ron St. Germain
Personnel: Nels Cline (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lap steel guitar); Jon Brion (vocals, electric piano); Jeremy Drake (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, ukulele); Glenn Taylor (pedal steel guitar); Jeff Gauthier (violin); Jessica Catron (cello); Vinny Golia (flute, clarinet, saxophone); Dan Clucas (flute, trumpet); Wayne Peet (organ); Brad Dutz (vibraphone, xylophone, bongos, frame drum); Devin Hoff (bass guitar); Scott Amendola (drum set, percussion, electronics, loops); Danny Frankel, Alex Cline (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Ron Saint Germain.
Liner Note Author: Nels Cline.
Recording information: Ocean Studios, Burbank, CA (01/24/2008-01/26/2008).
Photographer: Paul Ruscha.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Andreas von Imhoff; Jeff Gauthier; Gavin Templeton; Walter Thurman; Gregg Heine; Chelsea Hadley.
Arranger: Nels Cline.
It is easy to see why guitarist Nels Cline calls DIRTY BABY the most challenging work of his career. Called upon by producer and poet David Breskin to compose separate works to accompany two collections of Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha's "censor strip" images from the '80s and '90s, he responded with relish--33 are from the Silhouette series and 33 from the Cityscapes paintings. All 66 are included in a handsome, double-disc package containing three booklets, one of which contains a detailed liner essay by Cline regarding his approach, preparation, and aesthetic. Also available is a large format, exhibition catalog-style hardcover book that contains the music and two more discs of Breskin's spoken word poetry (called "Ghazals") with bigger representations of the images from publisher DelMonico BooksPrestel. Working with two very different yet related series of paintings presented Cline new considerations a as composer and as an accompanist. He worked with larger ensembles in each case. "Side A" composed for Silhouettes contains the six-part title suite. It begins quietly, slowly, deliberately; suggestive more than assertive. Players include Bill Barrett's harmonica, Jon Brion's repetitive synth patterns, and Cline's and Jeremy Drake's acoustic guitars, supported by bassist Devon Hoff and minimal percussion by Scott Amendola and Danny Frankel. They really take shape on "Part II," as electric guitars and a drum kit come to the fore, playing and economically soloing on gorgeous yet simple chord patterns. "Parts III" and "IV" are their mirror images: spooky works that are elliptical with large spaces, moody colors and textures. By "V," the band is vamping Miles Davis-style on a funk riff with Hoff's electric bass leading the charge. For ten of "Part VI"'s twelve minutes, free-form guitar skronk, synth whiteout, and an undermixed rhythm section, smatter and smear the soundscape before Drake's banjo assembles a mutant back porch melody to close. "Side B," contains 33 short tracks -- all but one are under four minutes -- individually titled for the Cityscape images. (The titles are fantastic, seemingly comic and noirish; but only the latter is true: Cline poignantly recontextualized them in lieu of the Iraq war(s): "Agree to Our Terms or Prepare Yourself for a Blast Furnace," "You Talk You Get Killed," etc. ). Cline employs a larger band that relies as much on winds, reeds, and strings as much as it does guitars, percussion, and effects; Alex Cline plays drums and Brad Dutz vibes, xylophone, and more. These pieces are more fragmented, angular, and aggressive, yet mixed warmly; they're approachable contrasted with Ruscha's prohibitively code-like images. Cline explains that: "These works do not, as in the case of his most famous pieces, have words floating graphically on the picture plane, but rather censor strips which Ruscha himself calls 'dumb blocks,' which stand in for or 'cover over' (conceptually) the words of each picture's title." The erasures imply forced silences. Cline's pieces simultaneously underscore and shatter these silences. The dynamics wider, colors brighter, and textures more layered than on "Side A." The palette is more complex and labyrinthine because of their brevity. Jazz, rock, modern composition, structured improvisation, and restraint play an enormous role, but are anchored solidly by Cline's boundlessly adventurous guitar work. DIRTY BABY is a singular accomplishment, presented in a fashion that demands more of the listener's attention but buy pays off handsomely. It adds immeasurably to the depth of Cline's contributions as a musican -- and offers another way of seeing and hearing this body of Ruscha's work. ~ Thom Jurek
Down Beat (p.78) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "DIRTY BABY is riotous fun, an orgy of sound, design and (mostly) muted color. For music fans, it's another excuse to enjoy all things Nels eclectic..."
JazzTimes (p.50) - "DIRTY BABY is exceptional work: easily digested experimental music that shows Cline's stylistic skill, imagination and boldness."
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