No Neck Blues Band & Embryo EmbryoNNCK

Depending on how strictly you define commercialism, you’ve either been grimacing or enjoying the slow crawl No Neck Blues Band have been taking up toward the indie rock underground after a decade-plus of self-releasing countless jam sessions. Anyone who has been following the nearly 40-year trajectory of obscure German Krautrockers Embryo may feel the same way. Following their Qvaris album for the 5RC label last fall, the dozen or so No Neckers have teamed up here with Christian Burchard, the only consistent member of Embryo, for the mighty EmbryoNNCK. The resulting album is an unexpected reward, as it finds both halves in some of their finest form in years. The umpteen musicians find initial common ground in the Don Cherry songbook, and then begin to push boundaries with Inuit throat singing, Ornette Coleman horns, East Indian tablas, New York noise, Middle Eastern strings, African drums, and practically any other divergent form you need a passport to find. Judging from Embryo’s international past, Christian Burchard is the impetus who pushes NNCK fully into the primordially-coloured eclecticism of such trancelike, miasmic territory, and the Harlem collective are better off for the nudge. The album they conceive is a brilliant, full-bodied improvisation, well worth the spotlight in either collective’s hefty catalogue. (Staubgold)