White Out with Nels Cline: Accidental Sky

Jesse Jarnow on November 16, 2015

Abetted by Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, long-running New York improv duo White Out glide easily into the noise-poetry ether on Accidental Sky. One of the more understated hers/his duos in the freemusic underground, keyboardist Lin Culbertson and drummer Tom Surgal provide a lush and constantly shifting bed for Cline’s sweet Tom Verlaine/Duane Allman-y volume swells. On the album’s best pieces, the trio achieves three-dimensionality, percussion and keyboards and guitar melting in and out of one another to form abstruse landscapes with dancing horizons. “Winter Light” flickers like a sunset over Mercury; “Under a Void Moon” is like a funhouse-bent Sun Ra Arkestra with Culbertson’s wordless vocals. The music is open-ended but bends toward beauty rather than harshness—jams like “Ragged Mist of Stalled Horizon” play like comic book renderings of far-off galaxies where the gravity and light move differently but the drums still work.

Artist: White Out with Nels Cline
Album: Accidental Sky
Label: Northern Spy