Cline / Parkins / Rainey Downpour

Recorded live at the 2006 Festival International de Musique Actuelle, this hour-long set of frenetic free improvisation is chock full of high-energy interplay. Nels Cline’s hyperkinetic electric guitar is the perfect match for Tom Rainey’s powerhouse drum offensive. The real star of the set, however, is Andrea Parkins on accordion, keyboards and samplers; her drones, squiggles and mounds of searing static complement the efforts of the other two perfectly. The disc is divided into three tracks, the first of which is the most sprawling; its 37 minutes allow the players a chance to vary the dynamics and head in a few different directions. At around the 22-minute mark, Cline and Rainey set up a bass/drum groove overtop of which Parkins flings electronic goo. On the second piece, the trio shoot into high gear, serving up a maddening cacophony for over 18 minutes. The final four-minute coda seems to serve as a release mechanism, gently easing the audience out of the chaos-induced stupor the trio undoubtedly put them into. Downpour serves to document a truly landmark set from these three obviously seasoned improvisers. (Victo)