Nels Cline bends idioms about as easily as he does the strings of his guitar. For Out Trios Volume Three, he has, along with longtime collaborators accordionist/keyboardist Andrea Parkins and drummer Tom Rainey, concocted a sometimes mysterious, sometimes violent and occasionally funny album.
With its references to B horror movie themes, quasi organ trio licks, Sonny Sharrock-like sheets of sound and washes of white noise, the album never stays rooted in any particular strain of logic for too long. “Lower Story,” for example, is a frenetic feedback-and-organ romp through a hellish dreamscape. Indeed, much of the album seems dreamlike. “Alleys of North America” presents a stately guitar theme accompanied by drums that go from a skittish junkyard scrambling to quiet cymbals, these eventually joined by Parkins playing a haunting piano figure. From there, the trio moves to what sounds like a demented nursery rhyme, “Pearly Turbo.”
Out Trios Volume Three is disquieting and challenging, investigating themes of skewed memory through the use of a kind of musical detritus. It may not be for the sonically squeamish, but it's a very good — and very absorbing — album.