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Cline, Nels / Dirty Baby
Album:Dirty Baby Collection:General
Artist:Cline, Nels Added:10/2010
Label:Cryptogramophone 

Album Review
Bear on the Roof
Reviewed 2011-02-21 
All tracks are instrumental. FCC CLEAN.

This album is the crazed wanderings of a "rock orchestra", developing a soundtrack to a series of pop-art paintings by Ed Ruscha. It manages to combine an incredible level of musicianship with an outright refusal to do anything constructive with it. Each track takes off in a different direction from the last, and then gives up half way to wherever it was going. Overall, the album is scattered and musically incoherent, and the short track lengths make it impossible to explore its (occasionally) compelling themes.

The ensemble is lead by Nels Cline, currently the lead guitarist for Wilco, and includes guitars, banjos, the harmonica, a ukulele, violins, cellos, saxophones, trumpets, and a wide variety of percussion work and digital effects. Expect a lot of variety.

The longer tracks would work very well for some low-key backing music, but there's really not much on here worth exploring. Also, be warned that a bunch of these tracks have sudden, unexpected breaks in the middle, and/or endings that disconnect completely with the rest of the song. The only standalone track I'd recommend is #7.

1) slow, simple guitar instrumental, gets dischordant, harmonica, ethereal
2) guitars with more harmonica, slow and stately
3) waltzing guitar duet. gets a little snappier in the last minute
4) warbling electronic madness, effects everywhere, driven by bass guitar
5) heavy distortion, wailing psychedelic guitar, more effects
6) cellos and horns, ghostly guitars
7) very tight steel guitar playing. really starts going somewhere, had me hooked for a minute, but just gives up and goes home instead
8) jazzy upright bass, fast guitars and percussion work
9) another quiet ballad, sad trumpets
10) heavy distortion, death metal guitars with confused trumpet accompaniment. abruptly drops everything and turns into a marimba solo?!
11) slow, jazzy rock with another sudden transformation into a marimba solo
12) hair metal guitars and percussion for 20 seconds, and then nothing...
13) frantic, percussion heavy track
14) a cello quartet stuck in the rainforest, eventually rescued by trumpets and woodwinds. another total departure of an ending
15) jazzy trumpet bebop
16) bruce springsteen sits down to join an indian drum circle, and is eventually joined by the trumpets and cellos
17) 50 seconds of mournful violins and cellos
18) there are no words
19) intermittent cellos eventually joined by the entire ensemble for a quick finale

Track Listing
1.Dirty Baby Part I 10.Be Cautious Else We Be Bangin' On You
2.Dirty Baby Part Ii 11.When Where Who Why
3.Dirty Baby Part Iv (Shut This Gate) 12.I'm Going To Leave More Notes And I'm Going To Kick More Ass
4.Dirty Baby Part V 13.Little Snitches Like You End Up In Dumpsters All Across Town
5.Dirty Baby Part Vi 14.I'll Be Getting Out Soon And I Haven't Forgotten Your Testimony Put Me In Here
6.In God We Trust 15.You Talk You Get Killed
7.No Mercy 16.Don't Threaten Me With Your Threats
8.Hey You Want To Sleep With The Fishes? 17.You Dirty Rotten Bitch
9.Note We Have Already Go Rid Of Several Like You 18.I Can't Take It No More
 19.You And I Are In Disagreement